Baking soda is a leavening agent used in baked goods like cakes, muffins, and cookies. Formally known as sodium bicarbonate, it is a white crystalline powder that is naturally alkaline, or basic. Baking soda becomes activated when it is combined with both an acidic ingredient and a liquid.
Upon activation, bubbles (carbon dioxide) are produced, which allows baked goods to rise and become light and fluffy. If there is enough starch or protein structure in the cake batter then that structure will hold onto those bubbles. When the batter is heated, the gas expands, the batter rises, the heat sets the starch and/or protein structure and causes those tiny little holes that you see throughout a cake’s body, called the crumb.
However, if you leave out the leavener and fail to replace it with some other sort of bubble, like those in beaten egg whites, the cake won’t rise.
If you don’t use enough flour or other starch or protein or don’t beat the flour enough to create enough structure to hold those bubbles, or if you open the oven door before the cake’s structure has had time to set then all that gas expands and escapes, this causes the cake to rise and fall.
In addition, if you add enough or too much flour and beat the batter too much, then it will have too much structure, allowing large bubbles to form and the crumb will get large, irregularly shaped holes in the cake called tunnelling.
Baking is said to be one of the easiest forms of cooking that even beginners can ace. Have it in mind that the very simple process of mixing ingredients together to make a smooth batter and then popping it all in the oven is really a no-brainer.
However, there are still a number of baking fails that can happen in even the easiest of recipes. One of the most common mishaps among bakers is that baking soda often tends to exceed the quantity mentioned in the recipe.
Baking soda is a bitter agent used to make the batter rise, so even a small amount of it is sufficient. It is advisable to add baking soda at the very end, right before putting the batter in the oven in order to make the dish fluffy and soft. Baking soda is known to have a highly bitter aftertaste and it makes the dish unpalatable if it gets added in excess. Sometimes, the baking soda clumps together due to humid weather which results in a catastrophe.
Indeed, using too much baking soda can really mess up a recipe, causing it to rise uncontrollably and taste terrible. But don’t freak out if you accidentally poured too much baking soda to cake batter. Depending on the situation, you might be able to fix it. Try one of these solutions first before dumping all the ingredients and starting over.
Simple Ways to Get Rid of Baking Soda Taste in Cake
Too much baking soda in a cake will not only cause it to taste bitter and metallic, but it will also make a huge mess in your oven as it rises beyond your expectation. If you realize you’ve added too much before your ingredients are stirred, the simplest solution is to spoon out the baking powder or soda.
But if you are beyond the mixing, and you only realize you added too much baking soda because you’ve tasted the batter and it is bitter, you will need to take slightly more drastic measures. These measures may include:
Alter your Recipe
Have it in mind that to counteract the bitter taste in a cake made with baking soda; you can add acidic ingredients along with the baking soda. However, be sure not to add too much, especially in the case of buttermilk or other liquids, which can change the consistency of the batter.
The easiest solution is to add some cream of tartar along with the baking soda. The cream of tartar neutralizes the bitter flavour, but does not change the basic character of the baked good. Sprinkle the cream of tartar over the dough and mix it in thoroughly.
Remove Unstirred Ingredients
Just like it was expressed above, if you catch your measurement error before you start stirring all your ingredients together, you might be able to simply scoop out all of the baking soda/powder and start again. This method will waste a bit of baking soda or powder, but it’ll allow you to save the rest of your ingredients.
Add more of other ingredients
If the recipe required you to use half a teaspoon of baking soda, and you used one instead, then you should consider doubling up the other ingredients instead. This will bring the recipe into the correct proportion, although you may end up with more of the dessert than you anticipated. Use this method only if you are sure of the exact quantity of extra baking soda that you added.
Use it to make something else
Sometimes, we just realize that baking soda has been put in excess once the dish is ready and prepared. If you have a cake that is too bitter to be eaten, use it to make something else.
For instance, a bitter cake can make for a great ingredient to be added to cream and then frozen for a delicious cake-flavoured ice cream. You can also crumble up the cake and use it as a building block for other layered desserts such as Tiramisu or cheesecake.
If you have no idea how much you threw into the mixing bowl, and you can’t scoop it all out, throwing away your ingredients and starting again is more or less your safest and best bet. Although it can be very painful to waste ingredients, you probably won’t be happy with the way your recipe turns out if you decide to move forward without dealing with the overdose.
The only thing worse than wasting ingredients is wasting ingredients and time. If your recipe called for mixing dry and wet ingredients separately, and you caught the mistake before they were combined, then you only have to begin again with the dry ingredients.
When you are cooking for the family, flops aren’t a big deal. But when you are cooking for other people, you want your recipe to turn out right. If you are making something that you won’t be able to taste before serving and/ or won’t have time to make again, you better off just starting over when you realize your mistake.
However, get baking without fear and remember these hacks next time you add too much baking soda. You will save the dessert from ending up in the trash can, and who knows, you may just end up with something even more delicious.