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When to Measure Boiling Water

By Cook's Illustrated Published January 2010

In recipes that call for a specific amount of boiling water, how much does it matter when you measure the water?

We baked two batches of Devil’s Food Cake, one using 1 cup of cold water heated to boiling and one in which we boiled a small pot of water, then measured out 1 cup. The cake made with the measured-then-boiled water baked up 1/4 inch shorter and noticeably less moist than the cake made with water measured after boiling. We found that even in the short amount of time that it takes to boil 1 cup of water, nearly an ounce, on average, is lost to evaporation. So for the best results, boil before you measure.


A cup of water can lose nearly an ounce during boiling, so make sure to boil before you measure.