Triathlete Sunday: Baking at altitude


This is second in the series of guest posts from Dan’s teammates.  Today’s entry is courtesy of Brad Zoller, formerly of Chicago, Illinois and now located in Vail, Colorado.  We like to think we played (a positive) role in bringing them out to this great state!


After moving to 7300 ft, I discovered that baking at altitude can be quite an experience.  Here is a picture of my birthday cake. 


As you can see, it blew up in the oven.  We took it out, and it was undercooked.

What we learned from this experiment is that at altitude the air pressure is lower, so leavening agents (baking soda, powder) work more quickly.  Therefore they can explode your cake and then flatten it out after the air leaves the cake.


  • At 5000ft, you should use %15 less baking powder/soda than at sea level;
  • At 7000ft, you should use %25 less baking powder/soda than at sea level.


Increase the oven temp by about 20 degrees, and reduce the cooking time.  This will allow the gases to be trapped before "exploding" your cake/brownies/cookies etc.  (I like desserts)


This will really help your baking, and these are not hard rules.  Each
recipe is different.

Here are some other tips for baking at altitude:

  • Flour is drier at altitude, so increase liquid (per cup of flour) in recipes by 2-3 T at 5000ft and 3-4 T at 7000ft.
  • You can also decrease the amount of sugar for each cup by 1-3 T.
    I hope this helps!


Brad Zoller is a professional triathlete and can be found at He usually eats very healthy but loves to bake desserts.  Brad is a furloughed American Eagle Airlines pilot who is currently doing the full time triathlete gig.