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High Altitude Baking II- A Tragic Tale

Here we go again. As of my last posting, I was not sure if my baking misadventures were my fault, or the fault of sheer altitude. This time, I'm pretty sure it's the altitude's fault (really).
I decided to make Dev a simple chocolate sheet cake for dessert Monday night (see my next blog entry for details on weekly menus).
I mixed up the cake (not from a mix, either!) and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes because that's what Paula Deen's directions told me to do. I know- don't roll your eyes. I don't like her either, but the woman knows a good chocolate cake when she eats one.
30 minutes later, I had what appeared to be chocolate soup in a pan in my oven. The edges were a little cooked, but the middle was completely raw. So I left it in for another 30 minutes.
Again, chocolate soup with crispy edges.
At this point, I had to take it out of the oven, because I needed the oven to to bake the mack daddy shrimp dish I was serving for my appetizer (see next blog for nauseating details).
After dinner, I put it back in the oven for another 20 minutes. Of course, it fell, but it did eventually get slightly done.
I looked up high altitude baking in my "Joy of Cooking" book. I was surprised to find that Ms. Rombauer(sp) considers high altitude anything over 1000 feet above sea level.
Alamosa is at 7,500 feet. Well, that explains that.
Supposedly, to fix this, one should either decrease the amount of baking powder, liquid and sugar in the cake or increase the baking temperature by 20 degrees and reduce the cooking time. Then there's this horrible little conversion chart.....eeeek! I just wanted a stupid chocolate cake.
It turns out that the altitude doesn't really cause trouble for cookies and biscuits, because those batters are much more stable. Cakes are the only real problem area.
And then, to add insult to injury, Dev has the nerve to ask me if it's a cake out of a box. Some people.....

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