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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?

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1  
If the cake has soda in the recipe, I wouldn't risk making it without. Cakes are very fickle without leavening, and flourless cakes are even worse in this respect. If you want to serve cake, use another recipe especially developed to be free of baking soda or baking powder, for example a chiffon cake. –  rumtscho Jan 31 '13 at 17:21

3 Answers 3

up vote 8 down vote accepted

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.

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My guess is that taking out the baking soda won't do much as there is no acid in the recipe for it to react with. Baking powder is baking soda plus cream of tartar, which is an acid, so baking powder supplies its own reactant. Baking soda relies on the rest of the ingredients to supply the acid, and almonds, honey, and eggs are not going to do it. So the baking soda is probably superfluous to begin with.

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I thought that too, so do you think I should give it a try without baking soda? –  Zeina Jan 30 '13 at 13:40
6  
I'd try it without baking soda, but before you give it to your friend. If it works great, and if not....nobody will ever know. –  GdD Jan 30 '13 at 13:48
4  
@GdD: You can dump it into the lake at midnight. –  Cerberus Jan 30 '13 at 15:22
4  
@Cerberus- and if the cake floats then it's a witch. –  Sobachatina Jan 30 '13 at 15:24
1  
Sorry, despite being accepted, this answer is incorrect on the lack of acid. Sobachatina's answer below is far more accurate. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 30 '13 at 16:12

You can try using the brewer's yeast. It's natural and not chemical like baking soda.There is a commercial liquid version used for instantaneous usage (your case, or more generally for desserts like cakes), so i think you just need to know where to find it.

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2  
How would yeast help am egg foam cake without transforming the product radically? And natural is not the opposite of chemical. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 31 '13 at 4:35
    
@Harri There are many yeast's that are pathogenic, baking soda is just baking soda :-) –  TFD Jan 31 '13 at 8:50

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