How Acidic Ingredients Affect a Cake Recipe

The mother of all good things in this world has to be undoubtedly a piece of CAKE! May God bless those Egyptian souls who brought light into our lives by gifting us the recipe of these tasty delights, decades back. These days, from weddings to birthdays to anniversaries and to whatnot, every special occasion seems incomplete without fighting for the last bite of a lip-smacking cake. Although, different varieties of cakes are easily available on any online cake website or even at your nearest confectionery. Be it, a strawberry cake or a chocolate cake, a fondant cake or a personalised photo cake or an eggless cake even for that matter, suiting the preferences and tastes of different individuals, cakes have their own history of evolution. 

Effect of Acidic Ingredients in Baking

Cakes seem to convey the joyous message, spreading the happiness for any occasion beautifully. This cake cutting ceremony has become an unspoken tradition for almost all the occasion across every part of the globe. With any occasion or without any occasion, cakes are absolutely loved by everyone. The reason being, be it any flavour they are simply irresistible. If we rewind some hundred or two hundred years back, we would see cakes were served as a sweet gesture at a wedding function or at a birthday party only, as per traditional Roman culture. But now as per modern culture and tradition, the cake seems to attract good luck and long healthy life for the person who cuts it. 

Cakes can easily be baked by you and for you and for your dear ones, if you master the art of baking. And to treat yourself with these dreamy delicious delights, all you need to keep in mind is the proportions of its ingredients, intervals of time and temperatures. But, as they say, baking is like the truest form of art that is done out of love, passion and tremendous interest! So, all the efforts and the pain, it takes is what we call the “labor of love”. A whole lot of emotions and affection gets explicitly revealed when you bake a cake for someone you care and which is what uplifts the spirit of celebration, even more. 

Among those ingredients are the ones which help in softening the cake dough which are the acidic ingredients. Yes, you heard me right! Not many know this, but cakes are not totally made out of everything sugary, rather a dash of the citrus element is added to establish perfect baking chemistry. Fluffy-ness and moistness in a cake are what makes it desirable than its significant other options.  

 If I start talking about simple chemistry (as the subject of theories and chemical properties and not as an emotional, cordial bond shared by two people!), then we can understand those acidic ingredients tends to release hydrogen ions as they get mixed in water. Which, in return blesses your cake with a perfect shape, tenderness and bakes it evenly across all its layer. 

The sourness of these acidic items is very well taken care of, by any alkaline constituent. For example - baking soda which is widely used as an alkaline ingredient to neutralise the acidic effect and to give the cake a perfectly sweet taste. Leavener is the term used for an agent like baking soda in the bakery industry. These leaveners tend to leaven or in simple terms, tend to raise the baked product on heating and mixing with these acidic ingredients. They tend to do so by releasing air bubbles in the mixture. Further, these bubbles tend to get expanded by any leavener, eventually bestowing with a heavenly taste, volume, and colour. In absence of baking soda, one can also make use of baking powder, baker’s ammonia and cream of tartar. 

Among other such acidic ingredients would fall lemon juice, chocolate and buttermilk which perfectly blends in, thereby making the cake dough soft and fluffy. Buttermilk is one of the acidic components which gives any bakery item an unseemingly taste but also blends well along with any of the leaveners. A nice frothy, foamy taste and texture is given rise due to the release of carbon dioxide when an acidic chemically bonds with alkaline ingredients. 

But, as mentioned prior, proportions need to be taken care of. Any ingredients in excess portion would spoil the cake mixture. The suggested amount of adding baking soda powder to neutralise a cake is advised not to be more than a half teaspoon for every tablespoon of acidic ingredient. 

Also, you would notice while experimenting your cake dough with the acidic element that the colour of the cake didn’t turn out quite as perfectly as you wanted it to be. This has most evidently happened because of the high acidic ingredient being added to the cake. The brownness of the cake tends to disappear if you add more acidic content than the ideal standards. 

To avoid unnecessary chemical reactions, a baker who has gained expertise over the past years would always suggest you go for mixing of any acidic element during the later stage of cake preparation. No doubt, these acidic ingredients are like a total saviour to stop your cake turning into a disastrous nothingness! In the baking vs buying a cake debate, baking will always tend to win the heart of the person/s for whom it is meant for. Also, while opting to bake you tend to save a few pence than to purchase it from a nearby shop. Baking your own cake would surely give you the privilege of taking care of your cake preferences and smartly would let you eliminate those ingredients which don’t suit your taste buds or to which you are allergic. 

So, suit the ideal quantity standards and make every special occasion, a little more special and cherishable. Trust me, it is an art that can be easily mastered as perfectly as possible! So, do give it a try!

Bon Appetit!