Do you ever wonder what really happens when you bake a cake?
For my project I'm doing the chemistry of baking.


Ingredients: What they actually do
Flour: Flour provides the structure for your baked goods. The gluten or protein combines to form a web to trap air bubbles. The starch in the flour sets as it heats to add support to the structure. In cakes you want little gluten to form. When the cake has to much gluten it makes it tough and it will be harder to eat. Fats and sugars prevent the gluten from forming.
Fat: Fat coats gluten molecules so they can't combine as easily. That contributes to the tenderness of the baked good. in cakes, fat contributes to the fluffiness of the cake. When sugar is creamed with the fat small pockets of air form from the sharp edges of crystals interacting with the fat. The small pockets of air form a finer grain in the finished product. Also, the fat carries the flavor, and it adds to the tender mouth feel.
Sugar: Sugar adds sweetness to whatever you're baking. When you bake a cake, the sugar contributes to the cake browning. Sugar also tenderizes the cake by preventing gluten from forming. It holds moisture in the finished product of whatever you're baking. Also, the sugar crystals that cut into solid fat help the structure of what you are baking by making small holes filled with CO² when the leavening agents are reacting.
Eggs: Eggs are a leavening agent. The yolks of eggs add fat for a tender and light texture. The yolks, also, act as a emulsifier for a smooth and even texture. The egg's proteins contribute to the structure.
Liquid: Liquid carries the flavorings. It also forms gluten bonds. The liquid reacts with starch in the protein for a strong, light structure. Liquid acts as steam during baking. The steam then acts as a leavening agent. Also, liquid contributes to the tenderness of what you are baking.
Salt: Salt strengthens the gluten. It also enhances the flavor of your baked good
Leavening Agents: Baking soda and baking powder for CO². The CO² is held by fat pockets, gluten, and starch which makes the product rise. Baking soda and baking powder ARE NOT interchangeable. Too much of a leavening agent can make bubbles too big causing them to combine and burst. Which ends up making a flat cake. Too little of a leavening agent will make a heavy product with soggy or damp layers.

Common Ingredients
My Baking Experiment
Resources