A measuring spoon filled with baking powder

Baking powder

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Baking powder is a common ingredient in cakes, added as a raising agent. Find out how to make your own from cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda.

What is baking powder?

Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali, bicarbonate of soda, and an acid, cream of tartar, plus a filler like cornflour or rice flour which absorbs moisture.


The powder is activated when liquid is added, producing carbon dioxide and forming bubbles that cause the mixture to expand. For this reason, it is important to get your cake mixture into the oven quickly once the ‘wet’ ingredients have been added to the ‘dry’ ingredients.

Self-raising flour is made from plain flour combined with a small amount of baking powder.

How to prepare baking powder

To make baking powder, combine half a teaspoon of cream of tartar and a quarter teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. This provides the equivalent of one teaspoon of baking powder.

To make self-raising flour add one teaspoon of baking powder (or equivalent homemade) to 110g plain flour.


How to store baking powder

In an airtight container in a cool, dry place.