Follow the fun Rated 5 stars on
9319 1097
main menu

Baking Powder, Cream of Tartar & Bicarbonate of Soda

Do you know what the difference is between these raising agents and when you should use them?

July 26, 2016

Baking Powder, Cream of Tartar & Bicarbonate of Soda

Raising Agents

Cream of Tartar

Cream of Tartar is a powdered form of potassium hydrogen tartrate made from grape seeds produced from the process of wine making. It is not a raising agent. It is an acid. Ah-ha, that’s a trick one!

Bicarbonate of Soda / Baking Soda (USA)

Bicarbonate of Soda or Baking Soda is sodium bicarbonate, a raising agent which is also an alkaline. It has a ‘washing powder’ sort of taste. If used in excess this soapy flavour comes through in baked cakes, slices and biscuits.

Baking Powder

Baking Powder is a raising agent made up of cream of tartar (the acid) and bicarbonate of soda (the alkaline) with added cornflour, which keeps it dry. Gluten free products are available  – check labelling.

Cooks Notes

To make bicarbonate of soda work, moisture and acid are needed. The acid comes from the Cream of Tartar in baking powder.

If bicarbonate of soda is called for on its’ own in a recipe, other acidic ingredients used such as buttermilk, yoghurt, chocolate or honey for example will add this element. (NOTE most foods contain a varying level of acidity components).

Immediately the raising agent has been added and combined with moisture and acid, a chemical reaction produces bubbles of carbon dioxide.

These will deflate if the mixture is stirred vigorously or a delay is incurred before placing in oven. So as soon as your recipe is ready to be baked pop it in the oven!!

Once the heat hits the carbon dioxide it expands the bubbles causing even more rising.

Baking powder can be substituted in place of bicarbonate of soda, but a larger quantity would be required and probably will affect the taste. But, don’t use only bicarbonate of soda when baking powder is called for. Your recipe may lack the amount of acid required to cause the bicarb alone to create enough carbon dioxide for successful rising.

Baking Powder can be made by mixing 2 parts Cream of Tartar with one part Bicarbonate of Soda.

Self Raising Flour can be made by adding 2 teaspoons Baking Powder to 1 cup (250ml) of Plain Flour. Sieve to ensure raising agent is evenly distributed in the flour.

2 Comment(s) Product Profiles

  1. Lee

    So very good to have a concise easy to understand web page and at the end, the ratios I was looking for. In baking today found I had several packets of Cream of tartar and plenty of bi carb but no ready mixed baking powder and had trouble finding what the ratios where, and why. I remember my Mum doing this when we cooked and knew I had what needed. I did a guess…figured the mix should have the bi carb taste if I got it wrong, it didn’t taste off and the cooking is fine. But now I Know. Thanks

Leave a Comment...

Never miss out

Sign up to our really useful newsletter and receive free essential kitchen tip videos direct from our kitchen.

We pinky promise never to send you spam or share your information!

back to top

Corporate Classes

Are you looking for a fun and unique event to share with your team or clients? Tastiest teambuilding in town!

Food Tours

Enjoy beautiful food experiences and feed your passion for culinary knowledge. Step out of the ordinary.

Visit our Blog

Awesome articles written by our Matters of Taste Chefs on cooking techniques, free recipies and more!

Food Boxes

Know where your food comes from when you purchase fresh produce from WA family run farms .

Meet the team

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell
Tracey Cotterell


Tracey has been in the food industry since completing her Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management in 1982 in the UK. She worked for an outside catering company in London, then joined her parents in rural West Sussex running

View Tracey’s full profile.

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell


Favourite Meal: