Category Archives: Discovering Mathematics

Let’s Bake a Cake

One example of mathematics being used in day to day life is in cooking – an essential skill that children need to learn as they grow up, and a skill that I am still to learn. However, aside from the fact that I cannot cook without a side portion of food poisoning, I do understand the basic concepts of mathematics in cooking. Therefore, I am going to discuss some of the important mathematics present in cooking, through the eyes of a recipe book. Let’s bake a cake.


Firstly in the recipe, there will be a serving suggestion, however this may not always fit the individuals needs who is baking the cake. For example, the serving suggestion for this cake is 5 people, but we want to bake a cake to serve 10 people. Therefore, there must be a basic understanding of units and ratios in order to convert the measurements supplied, to the measurements required.


Secondly, there will be the ingredients list. Once the conversion has been carried out, and the calculations are all correct, there must be a basic understanding of how to measure out the various substances. For example, the amount of sugar required will be weighed in grams, and thus there must be an understanding of weight and how to operate scales. Another measurement which may be required is that of liquid form: for the cake, milk measured in millilitres. Again, there needs to be a basic understanding of how to measure liquids, understanding the symbol for millilitres and using a measuring jug.


Another area of mathematics covered in cooking, is the concept of shape. Shape is present when baking a cake in many aspects. However, next in the recipe book, would be the shape and size of cake tin to be used in baking the cake. Shapes can be circular, square or rectangle. Size will be measured for the cake tins in various ways – a circular cake tin can demonstrate knowledge of diameter, and square and rectangular cake tins can demonstrate a knowledge of perimeter and length and breadth. All this can be used as examples for millimeteres or centimeteres, and again examples of conversion may need to be applied.

Temperature and Timing

Lastly, in the cake baking process, is temperature and timing. You must understand the temperature of your oven, in order to know how high or low a heat to bake your cook in the oven on, which can be in degrees celcius or degrees farnheit. Timing will then come into the equation, as you will have to time your cake and know when to remove it from the oven. Thus you will require the mathematical knowledge of telling the time.

The End Result……



OR…… if your baking is as good as mine, your end result can vary.



Therefore, cooking and baking can be a key ingredient in developing your mathematical knowledge, and possibly one which I should practice with more precision.