Friday, March 25, 2011

Cupcake Party – Kitchen Maths

I love parties! I love to go to parties! I love to throw them! I think there are many things to celebrate, not only birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Easter. Therefore I now dedicated my Friday posts to parties: to creative party invitations, to easy-to-make party food, to party decorations that make all the difference... I hope you feel inspired by the festive atmosphere on Fridays and celebrate many small and big events.

My dear reader Christiane left me a comment last Friday about how much she would like to try many American or Australian recipes, but the annoying converting from cups into grams prevents her from doing so. That is exactly why I always stuck with European recipes. I just couldn’t be bothered to do a little maths class before even starting the cooking. And it isn’t just simple maths like converting inch into cm (what I always do before sewing when I use an American pattern) – oh no it is more difficult than that.

The reason is that – now I will become a bit nerdy, sorry, but I really get fascinated by these things sometimes – while cups are a measure of capacity, grams are a measure of weight. And therefore there isn’t just one factor to convert cups into grams. Instead each ingredient has another ration. For example:

1 cup of flour = 110g of flour
1 cup of butter = 225g of butter

... and so on and so forth.

Hell , even similar ingredients like brown, icing, raw and caster sugar have totally different conversion ratios (1 cup = 200g, 125g, 250g resp. 225g as seen here)

So, it is pretty obvious that you cannot just use a one-fits-all approach to converting cups into grams. You have to be accurate otherwise you could as well not use a recipe at all and invent a new one yourself. Which can be great, but must not be great necessarily ;-)

A helpful tool to minimise the time I spend converting cups into grams I found (as so often) online. This calculator does all the maths for you. You still have to spend a bit of time getting all your measurements together, but it is so much quicker (and foolproof) than working with the maths formulas.

Another – a more beautiful and more hands-on – solution are my three little cooking girls:
Their heads and bodies give you the measurements of 1 cup, 2/3 cup, 1/3 cup, 3/4 cup, 1/2 cup und 1/4 cup. So all you have to do is fill them with sugar, flour, butter or whatever else you need for your recipe. Easy-peasy!

For all other conversions you might need in the kitchen, here is another great calculator. It converts:

oz - pounds - grams - kg (weight measurements)
ml - tsp - tbsp - fl - oz - cups - pints - quarts - liters – gallons (volume measurements)
grams - tbsp - oz - cup - stick (butter measurements)
mm - cm - in (lengths measurements)
F° - C° (oven temperatures)

Oh dear, I also just discovered that there is a difference between US and UK cups! Puh, the more research you do the more complex it gets. Anyway, I think that was enough maths for today – or even for this week. I will keep on calculating with my Matroschka cups. So far this has worked very well. And I think, I need a cupcake now ;-)

Happy Friday to all of you!

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