Baking – Cake without baking soda


I have this delicious recipe for flourless almond cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds, toasted
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    1. Process whole almonds in a food processor or blender until finely ground (you will have about 13/4 cups ground). Beat 4 egg yolks, 1/2
      cup honey, vanilla, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl with
      an electric mixer (or use a paddle attachment on a stand mixer) on
      medium speed until well combined. Add the ground almonds and beat on
      low until combined.
    2. Beat 4 egg whites in another large bowl with the electric mixer (use clean beaters on a hand-held mixer or the whisk attachment on a
      stand mixer) on medium speed until very foamy, white and doubled in
      volume, but not stiff enough to hold peaks, 1 to 2 minutes (depending
      on the type of mixer). Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg
      whites into the nut mixture until just combined. Scrape the batter
      into the prepared pan.
    3. Bake the cake until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes.

I know a friend who is allergic to baking soda and baking powder. What will happen if this recipe is made without baking soda? Will it collapse although I had beaten the egg whites? Aren't they responsible for making the cake rise?

Best Answer

Honey is acidic with a pH of 3.9- that's more acidic than some oranges. There is also quite a lot of honey in this recipe that will give the acid the baking soda needs to react.

In this recipe, both the egg whites and the baking soda are going to provide some leavening. Without the soda the cake will undoubtedly be a little more dense.

Additionally, even when not contributing to leavening, raising the pH will promote browning of baked goods. I think the ground almonds will give nice color but the recipe may be a little paler without the soda.

There is no soda in angel food cake and I expect this cake will also be just fine without it.