Why Only Baking Soda Needed?

Baking By jemchina Updated 8 Nov 2010 , 2:21pm by jemchina

jemchina Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 12:30am
post #1 of 6

I just made a scratch recipe for coconut rum cupcakes, and the recipe called for baking soda but no baking powder. I resisted, and followed the recipe with out adding the powder, and to my surprise they rose just fine. The recipe did call for buttermilk (1 cup).

This was my first successful scratch cupcake recipe, just wondering if anyone knows the chemistry behind it. It did call for regular All purpose flour, so I'm just surprised that it did not need baking powder. icon_confused.gif

5 replies
blissfulbaker Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 12:49am
post #2 of 6

baking powder and baking soda are very similar. Baking powder is actually baking soda with cream of tartar added to it. When an acid (such as buttermilk) is added to baking soda that causes the cake to rise (remember the volcano project in grammar school). If the recipe does not call for an acid then baking powder is used. Most baking powders are double acting meaning when moisture (such as water or regular milk) is added to the mixture the rising process begins the second part of the rising takes place when it is put into the oven and heated. That is why it is best to have your pans ready and the oven pre-heated before you start to mix your cakes. Some cakes such as pound cake does not use either. I hope this makes sense.

LindaF144a Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 1:36am
post #3 of 6

Ditto what blissbaker said. The only thing to keep in mind is that baking powder and soda are not always both needed in a recipe. You will see consistently in chocolate cakes. I tried an experiment and eliminated each one and did not get good results. Oh and I believe some red velvet recipes will not have BP either, actually most RV ones actually.

Shirley Corriher in her book Bakewise has a section where she talks about leavening in recipes and how some of them are over leavened. She then gives examples and how to change them too.

7yyrt Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 6:04am
post #4 of 6

http://www.joyofbaking.com/bakingsoda.html
Baking Powder and Baking Soda

blissfulbaker Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 12:36pm
post #5 of 6

if you do decide to make your own baking powder, be warned it will not have a long shelf life. If you make it use it the same day. Are you aware baking powder you purchase at the grocery store has an expiration date? If your baked goods are not rising properly it could be expired.

jemchina Posted 8 Nov 2010 , 2:21pm
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by blissfulbaker

baking powder and baking soda are very similar. Baking powder is actually baking soda with cream of tartar added to it. When an acid (such as buttermilk) is added to baking soda that causes the cake to rise (remember the volcano project in grammar school). If the recipe does not call for an acid then baking powder is used. Most baking powders are double acting meaning when moisture (such as water or regular milk) is added to the mixture the rising process begins the second part of the rising takes place when it is put into the oven and heated. That is why it is best to have your pans ready and the oven pre-heated before you start to mix your cakes. Some cakes such as pound cake does not use either. I hope this makes sense.




Thanks for the great explanation..that makes a lot of sense to me now. I had a little batter left from the first set of baking, enough for about another 6 cupcakes. Well, those did not rise as high as the first set. Still completely edible and able to frost, just not as big as the first ones.

I made one of the recipes from this website:

http://mingmakescupcakes.yolasite.com/

and you'll see some had both and some had just the soda...now I under stand. Thanks again.

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