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So, I have an old box of Koopman Oud-Hollandse Appelkaneel cake mix, which lists on its ingredients "Raising Agents 450 and 500", and looking online, it appears that Raising Agent 500 is baking soda, from some online research.

The recipe for baking it requires you to add 1 large or 1.5 diced apples to the cake mix. I was thinking about replacing this with a roughly similar amount of frozen mango chunks instead, since I have then readily on-hand.

Would this be a workable substitution? Would the acidity of the mangoes suffice to activate the baking soda, if that was part of what the apples were for? Would the fact that the mangoes are frozen while the apples called for in the recipe affect things?

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    Frozen mangos are going to release a lot more water than raw apples. I'd be more worried about raw/gummy pockets than about leavening. You could try thawing the mango first and discarding excess liquid (or subbing for other liquid in the recipe). Jan 21 at 17:51
  • Wait, this is the same cake mix you don't have a mixer or a whisk for? Maybe you should consider making something else?
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 24 at 21:10
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    @FuzzyChef Yes. I asked one question that got closed with a suggestion that I could break it up into multiple questions and re-ask it. Also, I've already made it. It wound up like an oversized blueberry muffin. It turned out that the mango pieces probably weren't good anymore when I opened their bag, so I used some frozen mixed berries I also had instead.
    – nick012000
    Jan 24 at 22:17
  • Was it good, after all that?
    – FuzzyChef
    Jan 24 at 22:37
  • @FuzzyChef Yep. Like an oversized blueberry muffin, like I said.
    – nick012000
    Jan 25 at 2:18

2 Answers 2

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You probably don't need to worry, but I'd add a little lemon juice anyway.

E450 reacts with baking soda (technically E450 can describe a few related compounds, of which only some are used as raising agents.

So the raising isn't wholly reliant on acidity from the fruit. However it's possible that there isn't enough pyrophosphate to fully react with the baking soda. You need around 3× as E450 much compared to E500 by mass to complete the reaction depending which exact compositions are used, and all you know from the ingredients list sequence is that there's more E450 than E500.

You're right that mango isn't as acidic as apple and a large apple (assumed to be 150g) would have very roughly 1.5g of malic acid, which we might want to replace Within the accuracy we've got here, malic acid and citric acid require the same mass to react completely with baking soda. A teaspoon of lemon juice has about 0.25g of citric acid, but I'm not going to suggest you add 6tsp of lemon juice to the mix, partly because mango definitely contains some acid (mostly malic)of its own. Unfortunately I don't have access to the right journal papers to find out how much; anyway it reduces as the mango ripens and you don't know how ripe your frozen mango is. Besides, chopped apple won't release anywhere near all of it acid to the mix.

I suggest that it would do no harm to add a teaspoon or two of lemon juice. It might even improve the flavour as mango tends to be sweeter than apple meaning the cake could end up too sweet otherwise.

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  • I skipped over citing sources for the chemistry, but can dig them up again if needed.
    – Chris H
    Jan 21 at 10:01
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    The worry about adding lemon juice (and I hasten to say, this is not my worry, just one expressed by others in similar circumstances) is that the citric acid will react with the bicarb at low temperatures, leading to the E450 sticking around and tasting weird. (This is why some recipes use both baking soda and baking powder: to counteract some other acid in the recipe.) Personally I've never noticed such an effect, but I thought I'd mention it for the sake of pedantry.
    – Sneftel
    Jan 21 at 12:33
  • @Sneftel good point, though E450 is also used when it's not expected to react with anything (not sure about quantities when used as an emulsifier). Adding the lemon juice to the fruit, which I assume is stirred in as the last step before baking, would go some way towards mitigating an early reaction
    – Chris H
    Jan 21 at 13:00
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Diced raw apples would not provide significant leavening to a batter they were mixed into, so I wouldn’t worry about that aspect. Frozen mangoes will be much softer (particularly once cooked), and less tart, but if you’re fine with that then I don’t see any reason they couldn’t work as a substitute.

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