One thing that you may not really think about on your own is how different ingredients of baking can taste when they are not mixed together. After all, many people find it interesting to see what the ingredients of a cake are on their own before they become one of the most famous desserts out there.
One thing that may surprise you is that some ingredients have a surprisingly bitter taste on their own. More often than not, you will only learn this when the ingredient has been improperly mixed into the dish, allowing you to taste it on its own and not as a part of a dish.
One of the most common examples of this is with baking powder. Baking powder, although it is used for a variety of baked desserts, is notorious for having a surprisingly bitter taste.
Chances are that if a dish has a bitter taste on its own, then you have likely put too much baking powder into the dish.
Before you can begin to remedy the situation, you will need to think about ways that you can work on fixing this problem and how you can ensure that it doesn’t happen again. It may also do you well to learn about why baking powder has such a bitter taste and how it became the way that it is.
What Does it Mean to Taste Bitter Baking Powder?
First things first, it is important for you to not panic about your baking powder being bad, expired, or contaminated. Baking powder is naturally a base and bases are well-known and well-documented in having bitter tastes.
This means that it is completely normal for you to find that baking powder is extremely bitter on the tongue. What is not normal is that you are tasting baking powder in the first place.
Most recipes only call for a small amount of baking powder to assist with the baking process. If you find that your baked goods that used baking powder are tasting strangely bitter, then there is an extremely good chance that you have put too much baking powder into the dish.
The general rule of thumb is that you should be adding between one and two teaspoons of baking powder for each full cup of flour. If your recipe contained more baking powder than this, then that is too much.
When there is too much baking powder in a dish, it doesn’t absorb into the rest of the dish as well as it should. This factor, combined with the strong bitter flavor of baking powder will lead to your entire baked dish tasting too bitter for most people to tolerate.
If you realize that your dish is too bitter, you might be worried that you have completely ruined the dish. While it may not be easy to salvage this mistake, there are a few things that you can try doing to fix the problem.
Fixing the Situation
By nature, acidic and sour tastes are the opposite of bitter tastes. This is because acidic and sour tastes come from acidic foods, which are on the opposite spectrum from bases, such as baking powder.
If you realize that you have too much of a base ingredient in your dish and it is giving your dish a bitter taste, there is one thing that you can try doing before scrapping the dish entirely.
You should try to find an acidic or sour food to add to the dish to try and cancel out that bitter flavoring. Some examples of additives to look for include citrus juice, vinegar, tangy but non-dairy yogurts, and so on.
Citrus fruits can also get the job done. These include lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits, among other things.
Since most foods with baking powder in them are sweets, there’s a good chance that you will be pairing your dish up with some fruit or some yogurt, depending on which is easier to obtain.
Some other ingredients to consider adding include buttermilk, applesauce, brown sugar, molasses, sour cream, and natural cocoa powder. Some of these acidic and sour foods may go alongside baked goods better than citrus juice or vinegar would.
With that being said, these are some of the only ways that you can cancel out the bitter taste once it is already there.
Unfortunately, there is no magical method to remove the baking powder from the baked cake directly, as it is baked into it just as the flour, eggs, and sugar are. If using an acidic food doesn’t work with the dish or if you don’t have any of the above, it may be time to call the dish a loss and begin learning how to prevent this from happening.
Making Sure It Doesn’t Happen Again
The first time you try a bitter cake, you will want to go out of your way to make sure that it won’t happen again. Sadly, there isn’t much that you can really do to make sure that you don’t add too much baking powder to your recipes.
For one, you should always remember the rule of thumb when you are looking at recipe websites. If you find that one recipe calls for a strangely high amount of baking powder, you may want to taper that down a bit so you do not risk making a bitter dish.
You should also make sure that you follow measurements as closely as you can. If a little bit of powder is piled on top of the measuring spoon, you should brush it off so you do not use more than what is needed.
Ultimately, the best way to prevent your food from tasting like bitter baking powder is to strictly follow a recipe’s measurements on how much baking powder to use. You never want to use too much more than is necessary because of the unfortunate taste it can bring to your dishes.
By strictly adhering to the measurements for your baked goods, you can rest assured knowing that you won’t have to scramble for the lemon juice when you are faced with a bitter cake again.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.
Sunday 15th of August 2021
Hi Sarah!! I made scones the other day, and after reading your blogpost, i realised that the cause of the bitter taste was because of the excessive baking powder. However, this was necessary because i was substituting self raising flour with rosella flour + baking powder. Could you perhaps give me some advice on how to make my scones rise without the baking powder?? Thanks so much!! Nicky :) :)