do eggs affect the consistency of cupcakes and what
does baking soda do to brownies?"
Anne and Sue,
I just read your information on eggs. I was wondering
if the eggs are what make cupcakes stiff once the carbon
dioxide is released from the baking soda and salt? Are
brownies not fluffy because of the lack of baking soda?
Thank you for all the help you can give me.
Eggs do play an important role in helping cupcake and
other batters make the transformation from a liquid to
a cake. This transformation hinges on the protein in eggs,
which coagulates during baking as the temperature increases.
As the batter rises to its maximum height, it also becomes
firm as a result of the protein coagulating, so baked
goods such as cupcakes hold their shape once out of the
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a leavening gas that’s released
from baking soda and baking powder when they’re
used in batters. Salt, however, is not part of these reactions
and plays no role in creating CO2.
You’re right about most brownies being denser in
texture than other cakes. And those who love a dense,
but soft, “fudgy” brownie contend that this
is an intentional departure from the light and airy texture
of most cakes. Many brownie recipes don’t contain
baking powder or baking soda; these recipes tend to be
for the dense, sometimes chewy, kind. Cakelike brownies
usually contain a leavening agent, which helps give them
their fluffy texture.
The technique you use also makes a difference in the texture
of the final product. Some recipes for cakelike brownies
suggest creaming the butter with sugar rather than melting
it. Creaming adds air pockets to the batter. As the batter
cooks, these air pockets inflate, helping creating the
light texture characteristic of cakelike brownies. In
contrast, recipes for dense brownies usually begin by
melting the butter.
The proportions of the ingredients also contribute to
the character of brownies. You’ll find hundreds
of recipes, each a little different from the other, and
many that claim to be the best! But that’s the fun
of trying several recipes for these easy, much-loved,
one-bowl wonders: You can experiment and decide for yourself.