I sometimes receive messages from readers who say they followed my recipe to the letter, but their cake didn’t rise. And my first question back to them is – “did you check your baking powder is still good”? Baking powder can be dead even if it’s not past the due date.
To check if your baking powder is still active, pour 1/4 cup boiling water over 1/2 tsp baking powder. If it bubbles, it’s still good. If not, it’s no good!
Dead baking powder is a common cause of cakes not rising, even if it’s not past the due date. This is because factors such as heat, humidity and jars not properly sealed will reduce the rising powder of baking powder.
So if you don’t bake regularly and your baking powder has been sitting in the dark corners of your pantry for months, it’s wise to check if your baking powder is still active before embarking on that special celebration cake!
How to check if baking powder is still active
- Place 1/2 teaspoon baking powder in a small bowl.
- Pour over 1/4 cup (65ml) boiling water.
- Still good – If it bubbles energetically as you pour, it’s still good. Note, the bubbles will subside quite quickly once you finish pouring.
- Dead – If it doesn’t foam, then the baking powder is dead. Time to get another!
Baking powder can go off even if not past the Use By Date
Unless you’re a regular baker, baking powder can sit forgotten in the dark corners of your pantry for months, during which time it loses its rising power, causing cakes to not rise and cupcakes to sink.
Baking powder can go off even if it is not past its expiry date.
This is because baking powder starts to lose its rising powder as soon as you break the seal, and the rate at which it does depends on factors such as heat, humidity and how well the jar is sealed.
Patisseries and restaurants replace baking powder regularly to ensure it is fresh.
In professional kitchens and restaurants, baking powder is replaced regularly and/or recipes are adjusted to increase the amount of baking powder to compensate for the loss of rising power of older baking powder.
So while the Use By Date on the jar may suggest the baking powder is still good for months or even over a year, if it’s been open for months OR it’s been stored in a hot humid environment, it may no longer be active.
What happens if baking powder is no longer active
Baking powder is the ingredient that is used to make cakes, muffins and other baked goods rise so it becomes soft and fluffy inside.
So if baking powder is not active OR less active than it should be, anything you use it in will not rise as it should.
Time to toss it and get another! ~ Nagi x
Life of Dozer
Just because this isn’t a recipe, doesn’t mean Dozer doesn’t make an appearance! Here he is, just looking cute. 🥰