"soapy" Cakes

Decorating By Eachna Updated 25 Feb 2014 , 12:01pm by MyFairDiva

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Eachna Posted 24 Feb 2014 , 9:51pm
post #1 of 4

I'm an American who moved to Australia three years ago. Yay me! It's a beautiful country. Yes, everything can kiil me. No...I haven't been bitten by a snake, spider, jellyfish, or shark.


For the first few years I was mostly only making pies, cheesecakes, or lemon bars. All things that don't use leavening or frosting. Since the transition to the New Year I decided to bake some cakes and cookies.


Everything has tasted soapy, even very tried and true recipes.


I don't use silicone bakeware. I make sure everything is thoroughly rinsed.


I discovered my baking powder had aluminum in it (al-ooh-min-ee-um) for the Antipodes :D. Replaced it with aluminum-free.

I discovered my baking soda had aluminum in it. I didn't know baking soda COULD have aluminum. Replaced with aluminum-free.

I discovered that the icing sugar with cornstarch can _also_ give a soapy taste if it goes stale. REALLY? REALLY? What could go wrong with CORN STARCH??? Do they put aluminum in it, too? Switched to icing sugar with no corn starch.

I discovered that some ingredient in the cheaper butter we were using gave a soapy taste. Switched to a better quality, but still affordable, butter.

I discovered that the self-rising flour my mother in law foisted off on me probably had aluminum in it. Tossed that flour for plain all purpose flour.


Over time things were getting better, but the soapy taste would sneak back when I least expected it. After all that I tried a carrot cake recipe my mother in law had also given me, one that she swore was a family favorite. And IT WAS SOAPY. I actually sat in a chair and cried. There was nothing left to replace. I would just have to face that I can't bake. There's only so many ingredients I can blame before it's just on me. Maybe it's early onset dementia, or i just had a higher opinion if my baking skills in the past than I should. Maybe everything I was baking in the past tasted soapy but my palate had somehow, magically become more refined.


Later on I sat down and re-read my book on baking chemistry (for other reasons) and refreshed about the use of baking soda and baking powder. It turns out my MIL uses too much baking soda if she doesn't use self-rising flour. (She uses 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp baking powder for 1 cup flour, instead of 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp baking powder per cup). I reduced it down to 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and left the 2 teaspoons baking powder, and baked it again.


SUCCESS! No soap...just spicy carrot cake and smooth cream cheese frosting! This time it also didn't break over the top of the baking pan or sink in the center. Now that the basic recipe works I can tweak it to better fit my needs, but I'll save that for later. At least my cake disaster has a happy ending :D. But, gosh, it was a rough two months!

3 replies
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liz at sugar Posted 25 Feb 2014 , 2:09am
post #2 of 4

Hi and welcome!  I'm not a fan of self rising flour either (tastes terribly metallic to me), and I am always surprised when I open a new container of baking powder - it is so much stronger the first week it is open!



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Eachna Posted 25 Feb 2014 , 8:13am
post #3 of 4

My MIL swears by self-rising flour, I'd never bought it before I moved here. I've always just used plain flour.


Thanks for the welcome.

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MyFairDiva Posted 25 Feb 2014 , 12:01pm
post #4 of 4

AThis made me think about one time I baked, then wrapped it all "really well" (I thought) in cling film and left it over my table... My mom put a clean cloth over it, just to protect from dust and whatnot... next thing I know, cake was tasting "soapy" when we finally ate it... :P

So it's not always in the ingredients. I think it was quite a strong detergent that one...!

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