What makes your cakes soft, fluffy and tasty?
Each Ingredient used in baking cakes has its unique property and use. Lets see what is the importance and role of baking ingredients in our today’s kitchen chemistry.
I have been baking and cooking a lot in this lockdown season. I am sure you are doing the same. Those who bake a lot, do you know the chemistry behind few key ingredients we using while baking?
Here are few things shared by Vrinda Borker who is our expert in chemistry subject and also a very good cook.
Besides the flour, the important ingredient is leavening agent. Baking soda, a leavening agent is SODIUM BICARBONATE. It is used to get fluffiness in cakes or pancakes. It requires acid to release carbon dioxide along with water.
Baking powder is another leavening agent commonly used in cakes and cookies. It contains SODIUM BICARBONATE, as well as an ACID. It only needs water to release carbon dioxide. (In post of Dosa I had mentioned that lactic acid bacteria or in bread, yeast helps in releasing carbon dioxide. It is a natural process and takes hours for fermentation) Conversely, the release of carbon dioxide from the baking powder or baking soda being a chemical is a faster process. It will expand the cake. Gluten from flour and salt holds those bubbles of gas. Important is also creaming, vigorous mixing of the fat and sugar. It traps air in the mixture.
Caster sugar, is used as its particles are small, has large surface area, so more air is incorporated. These bubbles of air are encased by a film of fat, creating a foam.
the role of sugar in cake is, it carries air bubbles into the mixture. it softens flour proteins, gives colour and hardness to the crust. It also helps to keep the cake moist.
SO WHILE PREPARING BATTER OF CAKE or PANCAKE, SIEVE FLOUR WITH BAKING SODA AT LEAST TWICE. THE AIR GETS TRAPPED IN DRY FLOUR.
WHILE MIXING SUGAR, BUTTER AND WHIPPING OF EGGS, DO IT VIGOROUSLY SO THAT ENOUGH AIR IS TRAPPED AND YOU GET SMOOTH TEXTURE.
KEEP THE PAN READY BY GREASING WITH SALTLESS BUTTER AND SPREADING EVENLY SOME FLOUR (SURFACE MADE DRY, CAKE DOES NOT STICK TO BOTTOM) SPRINKLE SOME FLOUR ON RAISINS, ALMONDS, WALNUTS, DATES BEFORE ADDING (HELPS NOT SITTING AT THE BASE.
MIX CAREFULLY, NOT VIGOROUSLY FLOUR MIXED WITH BAKING POWDER AND WHIPPED CREAM, SUGAR, EGG, MILK, RAISINS AND IMMEDIATELY POUR IN THE PAN AND BAKE IN OVEN
TAKE CARE NOT TO LEAVE THE BATTER FOR LONG WITHOUT BAKING BECAUSE CARBON DIOXIDE WILL LEAVE AND YOU WILL NOT GET FLUFFINESS.
Hope you enjoyed the article. Happy Learning and Baking 🙂
Author of this article is Vrinda Borkar.