AT holiday time, successful baking is more important than ever; favorite recipes, family dinners and annual traditions count on it. With baking season right around the corner, here is a fresh idea for better baking: Start the season with new ingredients. For the best baking results, ingredients such as baking powder, baking soda, and flour must be fresh.
According to a recent survey of home bakers, freshness is very important. More than 70 percent of people surveyed ranked freshness as a significant factor when buying baking ingredients and 74 percent say they look for the manufacturer’s expiration date when shopping and when baking. To ensure freshness of your baking powder, the makers of Clabber Girl are introducing a new “fresh lid” that encourages you to write the “opened date” on the top of the can.
To get the best leavening, it’s not only important to know the expiration date, but also to remember when you opened the can. Baking powder starts to react as soon as the can is opened and the powder is exposed to heat and moisture. That’s why you should get a new can after six months. The manufacturer’s date stamped on the bottom refers to the latest date you should open the sealed can. After that, the baking powder may not react well.
Baking powder should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from heat or moisture. Make sure the lid is on securely at all times. Don’t store it in the refrigerator or freezer. Condensation will gather on the inside of the can, causing the powder to react in the can.
If you’re not sure whether your powder has been properly stored, you can test it easily. Take 1 teaspoon of baking powder and mix it with 1/3 cup very hot water. If it fizzles and bubbles, go ahead and bake away. If it doesn’t react or the reaction is delayed or weak, it’s time to get a new can.
Once you know your powder is fresh, you may care to try it out with this delicious cake:
Bourbon Pecan Pound Cake
½ c. vegetable shortening
½ c. butter
1½ c. granulated sugar
2 c. cake flour
1½ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Powder
¼ tsp. Clabber Girl Baking Soda
½ tsp. salt
⅓ c. sour cream
3 Tbsp. bourbon whiskey
¾ c. chopped pecans
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
1½ tsp. bourbon whiskey
1½ Tbsp. water
Set oven rack to middle location and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, cream together shortening, butter and sugar until smooth then set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, Clabber Girl Baking Powder, Clabber Girl Baking Soda and salt; combine well, add to creamed mixture, and mix on low speed 1 minute. Add sour cream, whiskey, eggs, and beat on medium speed 2 minutes; mix in pecans. Pour batter into greased 9-inch tube pan or 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan.
Bake (middle rack) at 350 degrees F for 55 minutes or until cake tests done. To test cake, insert a toothpick into the cake and visually check to ensure toothpick is clean when removed. Allow cake to cool before applying glaze.
Beat sugar, whiskey and water together until smooth. Pour over cake.
North American Precis Syndicate