So you want to make a delicious cake for your household to enjoy together. The only problem is that you’re missing one or two key ingredients.
Many people go to bake a cake only to find out that the recipe calls for baking powder and they’re completely out of that ingredient. How can you make a cake without baking powder and what should you do?
Keep reading on to learn more about your options when you don’t have baking powder and going to the store doesn’t sound appealing. You’ll find out that you actually have several options available to you that you can consider.
Your lack of baking powder doesn’t have to prevent your family from enjoying a delicious treat for dessert. Making do without baking powder is actually surprisingly easy.
Why Is Baking Powder Such a Commonly Needed Ingredient?
Baking powder is an ingredient that is listed in many different cake recipes and it’s certainly something that you’ll want to keep stocked in your kitchen if you bake often. In most of your standard cake recipes, you’re going to find baking powder listed as a requirement.
Knowing this, you might be curious about why it is such an important part of the process. Assuming that you aren’t all that familiar with baking, then you’ll need to understand that baking powder helps the cakes to rise and it’s necessary if you want your cake to be light and fluffy.
When you want to bake a light and fluffy cake, it’s going to be crucial to have some type of chemical reaction. You need your acidic and alkaline compounds to chemically react to each other for the cake to rise.
When this reaction occurs, it creates carbon dioxide and this is what actually inflates your cake batter. It just so happens that baking powder is one of the most common leavening ingredients that is used in cakes.
Baking powder contains everything that you need to make this chemical reaction occur. It’s more useful than baking soda in many ways because you have to add an acidic ingredient to baking soda to get the desired effect. Knowing this, it’s easy to see why baking powder is so popular.
Regardless, you should know that baking powder isn’t necessary to bake a cake and that you have options when it comes to making cakes without baking powder.
Make a Cake That Doesn’t Need Baking Powder
The first and possibly most practical option is to simply find a different recipe. You see, not all cakes are going to require baking powder in order for them to turn out properly.
If you can find a tasty cake recipe that doesn’t require baking powder, then you can just decide to bake that instead. All you really need to do is to take the time to examine your options.
There are many types of tasty cakes that don’t require baking powder to turn out delicious. Cheesecake is a good option to consider since it is a type of cake that doesn’t require rising at all. It’s an entirely dairy-based cake that is sure to be a crowd-pleasing dessert if you decide to go with it.
Of course, you’ll need to ensure that you have all of the necessary cheesecake ingredients to move forward.
Angel food cakes are very scrumptious and they don’t use baking powder either. Foam and sponge cakes will make use of egg whites for leavening and to give the cake the lightness that it needs. You have to whip up egg whites properly to make these angel food cakes but they’re going to be very tasty if you do things right.
This might be one of the best cakes to consider if you’re looking for something that is close to a standard yellow cake in taste without having to use baking powder.
Mug cakes are another popular option that don’t require any baking soda at all. You could make a type of chocolate mug cake using flour, eggs, cocoa powder, and some sugar.
This could be a good little treat that will satiate your craving for a dessert dish. Many people like to make healthier mug cakes using bananas and other types of fruit too.
You will also like to know that traditional European tortes are capable of being baked without baking powder. These tortes don’t require any type of chemical leavening agent to turn out properly.
Generally, eggs are used in tortes and they act as a leavener. You should note that most tortes use minimal flour and some of them use no flour whatsoever.
If you’re looking for a way to cut out baking powder from your dessert for health reasons, then the mug cake or the European torte will likely work out well. People who suffer from health conditions such as celiac disease often turn to desserts such as this and you might be surprised by how many people have wheat allergies or sensitivities.
You still have lots of options when craving a dessert and you don’t have to put your well-being at risk.
Substituting Baking Powder
It’s also possible that you aren’t looking to change the type of cake that you’re making at all. You might be very committed to making a particular style of cake and you just want to substitute the baking powder ingredient for something else.
This should be possible as long as you know what you’re doing. You can substitute baking powder safely in many cakes so long as you have baking soda on hand.
What you need to do is use a bit of baking soda along with some type of acid. There are plenty of ingredients that can provide the acid that you need, such as buttermilk, sour cream, cream of tartar, brown sugar, molasses, and even lemon juice.
Your baking soda is going to react when it comes into contact with these acidic elements. The only potential downside to this is that you can mess up easily if you’re using baking soda.
You see, baking soda is much more powerful than baking powder and you don’t need nearly as much of it. It is said that baking soda is four times more powerful than baking powder and this means that you need to be careful.
If you add too much baking soda to your cake mix, then it’s going to turn out kind of bad. Your cake could wind up being overly coarse and in some cases, it could even taste soapy.
If you want to ensure that you get positive results, then be mindful of the baking soda that you’re using. Using the right amount of baking soda with buttermilk should give you good results when baking many cake recipes.
Try to look up specific advice for the cake that you want to bake before moving forward. This should keep you from making a mistake and wasting a bunch of ingredients.
You Can Substitute Vanilla as Well
Aside from baking powder, vanilla is another ingredient that most cake recipes call for. The problem is that so many people forget to buy vanilla when they’re at the grocery store.
It can be frustrating to get home and start preparing your cake ingredients only to discover that you’re missing vanilla. Luckily, there are some workarounds that you can make use of that will allow you to bake your cake.
One of the most popular replacement ingredients for vanilla is maple syrup. Maple syrup tastes great and it can add some good flavor to your cake if you make use of it.
It’s also a very convenient replacement because you can add an equal amount of maple syrup for however much vanilla you needed according to your recipe. Being able to replace vanilla equally with maple syrup just might save the day for you if you have some in your kitchen.
Vanilla-flavored almond milk or soy milk can actually work out just fine too. It’s even possible to go ahead and use the same amount of vanilla-flavored almond or soy milk that you would standard vanilla. It’s another option that makes your life easy and keeps you from having to do guesswork.
If you have any vanilla-flavored almond milk or soy milk in your refrigerator, then you’ll be able to make your cake and have it turn out brilliantly.
Honey is another ingredient that some people use when they are out of vanilla. This one isn’t as easy to use when you want to get things just right, though.
You might need to remove a bit of sugar from your recipe if you don’t want your cake to turn out too sweet. Regardless, it’s good to know that honey can do the trick in a pinch.
Extracts could come in handy when you’re out of vanilla as well. Plenty of bakers have made use of orange extract or rum extract to replace vanilla in a recipe.
Even something such as almond extract, lemon extract, or peppermint extract could work out just fine. If this is all that you have to make use of, then don’t worry because it should help your cake to turn out well.
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.