Why do some cakes have baking soda added?

lynja, Nov 20, 6:53am
it may just be me but i get a distinct taste of it in the end result. is it necessary?? it seems to often be in chocolate cakes. i know it is usually in cakes or muffins which have fruit, like banana or apple type cakes but I dont notice the taste in those.

crails, Nov 20, 7:05am
It either gives it a deeper colour, or makes a moister cake? Always dissolve your baking soda in warm milk to get rid of that taste

kiwibubbles, Nov 20, 7:20am
changes the density of it doesn't it?

trader125, Nov 20, 8:18am
not sure about choc cake but banana cake is purely for colour

dbab, Nov 20, 9:41pm
I made a banana cake yesterday and forgot the baking soda. It's quite dense and a totally different colour to my normal ones. Still edible, but "not one of my best efforts" as my husband said.

amiri1, Nov 20, 10:01pm
Apparently baking soda causes reddening of cocoa powder when baked, hence the name Devil's food cake.

In banana cakes baking soda reacts with acidic ingredients in the mixture, producing gas which causes the cake to rise. Probably because the banana makes the cake batter heavy.

I found these two links really interesting.

http://www.joyofbaking.com/bakingsoda.html and http://users.rcn.com/sue.interport/food/bakgsoda.html

Good luck! :)

deus701, Nov 20, 10:55pm
you need an acid to cancel out the taste..eg some cakes call for buttermilk with baking soda.

macandrosie, Nov 21, 6:16am
I think it helps cakes to rise more & be more moist. I know if you only use baking powderin a cake or espscially muffins seems heavier & denser.

lynja, Aug 23, 3:45am
really interesting. thanks everyone for the info.