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How To Convert A UK Recipe Into A US Recipe

Updated on October 11, 2012
I have to have this cake but, with the UK measurements and ingredients, I had no idea how to make it.
I have to have this cake but, with the UK measurements and ingredients, I had no idea how to make it. | Source

I don't bake. Ever.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a recipe on HubPages that I really wanted to try - if for no other reason than the picture made me want to gnaw on my computer. The wonderful Ninasvoice has shared with us the recipe for her Sexy and Sultry Chocolate Truffle Fudge Cake. Sounds like a lot of words for NomNomNom, right?

I looked at her recipe and was immediately confused, through no fault of hers. The measurements and even some of the ingredients made me feel like I was looking at a foreign language.

Then I thought about how others might have difficulty with converting measurements and even ingredients into those that are easier to work with in their country.

So I went on a journey to find out just how I could make Ninasvoice's beautiful cake. My first step was to find out just exactly what the heck a digestive biscuit was, anyway. Seriously? It sounds gross (no offense to those in the UK), like something you'd eat instead of taking a swig of Pepto Bismol.

That devolved into a discussion between a couple of British folks and me on my Facebook about the differences between cookies, crackers and biscuits that was hilarious to say the least. Cookies equal biscuits and crackers equal crazy people from the Southern US is about all I learned from that (and other) conversations.

I did, however, find out that digestive biscuits are pretty much like what Americans call graham crackers.

Then I had to figure out how much 250g of butter was - it sounds like it might be about nine pounds. Which is cool because I love butter.

How To Convert UK Recipe Measurements To US Measurements

I could go on all day about how to convert this or that, but the easiest way to determine what your US ingredients would be from a UK recipe is to use an online converter. I suggest the one at Recipe Tips, as it is self explanatory and easy to use. This link will also allow you to convert ounces to cups and other US measurements. You can choose between weight measurements or dry/fluid ingredients.

To estimate the correct measurements without a converter, go by about one cup for every 250g. So Ninasvoice's 250g of butter becomes about one cup or two US sticks, as each stick is half a cup. Her 55g of caster's sugar becomes about half a cup.

If your recipe is given in grams, usually for dry ingredients, remember that 28g equals one ounce. One pound is 455g.

If the recipe calls for milliliters or fluid ounces and not grams, then your conversion has to go a little differently. The general rule of thumb is that one tablespoon equals 1/2 fluid ounce or 15ml (UK) and 20ml (AU). One cup is 8 fluid ounces or 250ml (UK and AU). One pint is 16 fluid ounces or 500ml (UK) and 20 fluid ounces or 625ml (AU). One quart is one liter UK and AU.

Are these glace cherries? No. Or not yet, anyway.
Are these glace cherries? No. Or not yet, anyway. | Source

What Is Caster Sugar?

After I figured out what digestive biscuits were (originally they ranked right up there with clotted cream on the list of things I really didn't want to eat), I looked at the rest of the recipe. Caster's Sugar? Glace Cherries?

Caster's sugar, by the way, is superfine ground sugar, not quite what US bakers consider powdered sugar, but definitely more finely ground than our regular table sugar. Although thinking that it belongs in Love Potion Number 9 is much more fun than just plain, old ground sugar.

Glace cherries are the candied fruits that most US folks would put in their fruitcakes. (Note: Please do not send me one of those for Christmas, seriously!) Glace fruit is just another name for candied fruit and it can apply to any variety.

I thought I had the recipe all figured out that this point. I knew that I did not, in fact, need nine pounds of butter, digestive biscuits aren't for upset stomachs and caster's sugar isn't something a witch would put in her cauldron. All clear, right?

Nope.

Turns out that the dark chocolate in Ninasvoice's recipe isn't that lovely stuff that doctors keep telling us is good for us to eat. It's semisweet chocolate, just like you'd use for chocolate chip cookies. In this recipe, it would be easiest to use those chips, as they will melt more evenly than a broken up bar of chocolate.

Now I have the whole recipe figured out and I can make Ninasvoice's Sexy and Sultry Chocolate Truffle Fudge Cake.

For those of you who are interested, I've included a conversion of the entire list of ingredients below.

Side note: If you make this cake, you absolutely must send me a piece! And, once again, thank you so much to Ninasvoice for allowing me to use the photo of her sexy cake and to use her recipe as an example!

Actual Conversion For Ninasvoice's Sexy And Sultry Chocolate Truffle Fudge Cake

UK Ingredient/Measurement
US Ingredient/Measurement
250g (9oz) butter
1.02 Cups or just over two sticks
55g (2oz) caster sugar
0.485 cups (can use Superfine or Baker's sugar)
2 tbsp golden syrup
American near equivalent is corn syrup
2 tbsp milk
same
2 tbsp drinking chocolate
American equivalent is hot chocolate
1 tbsp cocoa powder
same
1 large packet (500g) of digestive biscuits crushed up
American near equivalent is graham crackers
tiny bit of rum or whisky(optional)
same
60g (2oz) glace cherries
Just over 2 ounces, American equivalent is candied cherries (often used for fruit cakes)
75g (3oz) raisins
0.661 cups
250g (9oz) dark chocolate
2.520 cups American equivalent is semisweet chocolate

Comments

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    • Georgie Lowery profile imageAUTHOR

      GH Price 

      5 years ago from North Florida

      Made:

      The way my grandmother cooked would have confused anybody. Even when baking, she never used any measurements. She just eyeballed everything and her food was always perfect.

      Thanks for the comment! :)

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 

      5 years ago from Finland

      I have written a couple of hubs with recipes and I have no idea if I used UK or US measurments, maybe I used both. I'm still confused and afraid of writing recipes in my hubs. You did a great job with this one, and that cake looks delicious!

    • Georgie Lowery profile imageAUTHOR

      GH Price 

      5 years ago from North Florida

      lemonkerdz:

      It can be really confusing! I was surprised at some of the differences, like the dark chocolate. And I do want to try digestive biscuits, I just don't know where to get them locally!

      Thank you for the comment! :)

    • lemonkerdz profile image

      lemonkerdz 

      5 years ago from LIMA, PERU

      Thanks for this article, being from england, living in peru and having many american friends i do a lot of recipes in which i need to change from cups to grams to kilo's. I do end up always having to do an internet search to convert.

      And the Digestive biscuit comment?

      they are the best cookies on earth to go with a coffee. They are the ultimate dunkers for your coffee. I guess with america we have a language in common but many times en gastronomy, we are very different.

      thanks for the hub.

    • Georgie Lowery profile imageAUTHOR

      GH Price 

      5 years ago from North Florida

      Xenonlit:

      It can be a daunting task to figure out just what the heck you're supposed to do with a UK recipe. Once I started reading up on these things, a little light bulb went off over my head!

      Thanks for the comment, and the vote! :)

    • Xenonlit profile image

      Xenonlit 

      5 years ago

      Thank you! I go crazy with terms like castor sugar and recipes that list ingredients by weight! I have this on Evernote now! voted up and awesome.

    • Georgie Lowery profile imageAUTHOR

      GH Price 

      5 years ago from North Florida

      ElleBee:

      It was a little bit of a culture shock when I saw the recipe, but I really want to make this cake! Thank you for the comment!

    • profile image

      ElleBee 

      5 years ago

      Very interesting! I have definitely gotten frustrated with recipes that I find online and need to convert. I usually use one of those little conversion calculators you can find on Google, helpful for converting temps (cels to fahrenheit), currency, time zones, and of course baking measurements!

    • Georgie Lowery profile imageAUTHOR

      GH Price 

      5 years ago from North Florida

      carol7777:

      Thank you. I did see the recipe kinda cross eyed. It's amazing the differences between these things when we're all speaking the same language!

      moonlake:

      I've seen a lot of good UK recipes that I'd l;ove to make, but none that made me salivate like that photo of Ninasvoice's cake!

      whowas:

      That was a fun conversation. There's almost no end to the differences in words used for the same things between your English and my English. I use the lucky guess system, too, but not with baking! I made fudge once that actually became some kind of overly sweet chocolate sauce. Great on ice cream, but dang! Let me know how the racetrack works out for you! I used to bet on horses because they either had a female jockey or a really pretty name. Or the female jockey had a really pretty name. Those days are kind of hazy now!

      CZCZCZ:

      Converting can be a pain. Let me know if you make this cake and I'll send you my address for my slice! ;)

      Thanks again for the comments. :D

    • CZCZCZ profile image

      CZCZCZ 

      5 years ago from Oregon

      Very helpful. Was fun to read through this hub thanks for sharing, I have had problems converting things in the past.

    • profile image

      whowas 

      5 years ago

      Well, I'm glad some good came of that bizarre Facebook exchange!

      In honesty, while I'm of course entirely at my ease with grams and such exotic ingredients as you highlight here - I do think that the American system of cups and spoons and so on is good because it is a relative system so it doesn't really matter how big or small your cups are just so long as you use the same cup for all the ingredients in your recipe.

      That said, I cook and bake using the 'Austin's Lucky Guess System' which seems to work fine for culinary purposes but sadly is much less effective on the racetrack.

      Great hub, Georgie, combining humor and funny to useful effect!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 

      5 years ago from America

      I was wondering about some of the ingredients in UK recipes now I know. Enjoyed your hub and will keep it in mind to use if make I want to make something from a UK recipe.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      This is very helpful for cooks needing to find the proper amounts. Thanks for sharing this information and I know it is valuable. Will vote up and Also Bookmark.

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      5 years ago

      Sounds great to me ^_^ lol

    • Georgie Lowery profile imageAUTHOR

      GH Price 

      5 years ago from North Florida

      billybuc:

      There may be no nutritional value, but nothing melts quite like it! :)

      lrc7815:

      I'm the same person who had an infatuation with all things Japanese years ago and had to find real, authentic pocky. I'll just order one box, though! :)

      Mama Kim 8:

      I wonder if we couldn't make a second career out of this - converting recipes for cash? What do you think? ;)

      Thanks again for the comments, and the votes! :)

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 

      5 years ago

      Oh my goodness I completely understand the headache of converting recipes! I have a bunch of family recipes from Italy and guess what... they weigh their flour and sugar... not scoop it up with a measuring cup! I actually had to buy a kitchen scale, lol.

      Great hub Georgie! Voting a bunch and sharing on FB.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      5 years ago from Central Virginia

      Hey Georgie, my Food Lion and Kroger stores carry the chocolate graham crakers. You might look local and save some shipping costs.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I just told them it was soft, processed cheese, with no nutritional value at all. LOL

    • Georgie Lowery profile imageAUTHOR

      GH Price 

      5 years ago from North Florida

      billybuc,

      Ha! I'm interested in knowing how you described it to them. They don't have "American" cheese over there, either, do they?

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      LOL....no, they don't...I've had several followers from GB ask me what that is.

    • Georgie Lowery profile imageAUTHOR

      GH Price 

      5 years ago from North Florida

      lrc7815:

      That recipe looked so good that I HAD to do this, or I'll never get to eat it! They do make chocolate digestive biscuits, I'm going to buy some from Amazon and I'll let you know how they are!

      billybuc,

      I'm afraid there is no solving the metric system... LOL. By the way, I almost made a reference to you and Velveeta here. I wonder if they have it in the UK? ;)

      Thank you guys for the comments! :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Look at you, busting down the language barrier and solving the metric system for us Americans who are too lazy to do it ourselves. LOL I love it; thanks my friend, for solving one of the mysteries of the universe for me. :)

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 

      5 years ago from Central Virginia

      Oh Georgie, what a resourceful person you are. I have to try this recipe too but I must admit, I may never think of graham crackers in the same way. Digestive biscuits? Really? Thanks for doing all the work. This is great. Voted up!

    • Georgie Lowery profile imageAUTHOR

      GH Price 

      5 years ago from North Florida

      denisemai:

      Jamie Oliver is amazing. I'd love to have that book! I can cook regular things, but baking is a total disaster for me. This recipe doesn't require any of that nasty baking stuff, though!

      shiningirisheyes:

      The original recipe really had me stumped. I sometimes wonder why all of these things can't just be the same, but that's what make our countries so individual. Plus, if the measurements were the same, I wouldn't have this Hub!

      Thank you for the comments! :)

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 

      5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Georgie! Fantastic job choosing an original and useful subject. I was unfamiliar with many of terms you have explained and had no idea there was an ingredient converter. I rely on the $ converter on a regular basis. It never occurred to me there might be an equivalent for ingredient use.

      You always come up with useful information.

    • denisemai profile image

      Denise Mai 

      5 years ago from Idaho

      Oh, Georgie--this is such a great article. I love Jamie Oliver and bought his cookbook so I could just "whack" stuff in the oven, too. I was so surprised to see those measurements! Great tips. Thanks for sharing.

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