Ask Nancy

Do You Have a Question?

I'll be answering ten questions each month... and if your question is chosen, I'll post a personalized response!

Submit Your Question

Why do some cakes use baking soda and others baking powder?

Karina - from Gainesville, TX

Baking soda is used in recipes that have acidic ingredients like sour cream, yogurt, chocolate, etc., which activate the leavening action. Baking soda reacts immediately when combined with liquid, so it's important that you bake batters made with baking soda immediately. Also, because of this immediate reaction, some recipes are made with a combination of baking soda and baking powder, which reacts in two phases (some gas is released at room temperature when the powder is added to the batter, but the majority of gas is released when the temperature of the batter increases during the baking process.)

Return to Ingredients questions

The Public Television cake decorating show providing easy projects for special celebrations. Not intended to replace instructional classes.