Sweet Sugary Influence on Cake

The chemistry shared by sugar and cake is much more than a delightful romance. A dash of sugar has not just a sweet effect on your tastebuds, rather it has got a lot of science attached to it. No doubt that a cake recipe would totally be incomplete without the perfect amount of sugar added to it. As sugar is the most evident ingredient in the process of cake baking. 

From flavouring to leavening, sugar blesses its presence at every level of cake baking. Now the question is how! So, being the primary agent of baking, sugar helps in browning and caramelising of the cake. Sans sugar, the cake will come out as a bland preparation which will taste like nowhere even close to a lip-smacking cake. 

Chemistry of Sugar in Baking

If we talk science in the art of baking, then sugar tends to decompose while caramelizing and further contributes to the Maillard reaction. As per this chemical reaction, amino acid and reducing sugar in the presence of heat results in non-enzymatic browning. And that’s how it plays its part, perfectly in the art of baking. 

Sugar moistens the cake by helping in the process of tenderizing. It is said to help break the protein to protein bonds like the gluten formation and egg protein solidification. It also increases the bake time by slowing down the rate of starch gelation. 

Thirdly, if you believe that there is nothing better than a moist cake, then sugar is the one responsible for adding this element to your cake. Sugar tends to attract the water molecules which in return helps to hold on to the liquid mixture and result in a moister cake dough.  

Other than these roles, sugar acts as a leavening agent, as well. Yes, when sugar is mixed with butter, sugar crystals give rise to air bubbles in the mixture. These air bubbles make the cake rise up to some level, giving it a perfect fluffy shape. Also, the crunchy, sweet crust of any baked item is due to the dissolved sugar in the cake or muffin or biscuit mixture. So, one would be amazed to see how a single ingredient beautifully results in the art of mindful baking.  

While sugar has got so many inherent properties, it needs to be kept in mind that too much of something spoils the flavour. So, the ideal proportion should be nearly around 2:3 in terms of sugar to flour ratio. Right quantity of sugar makes the cake sweeter, moister and fluffier in just the perfect way, making a bite even more delightful for you. Substituting table sugar with some other alternative like honey or coconut sugar has a different kind of effect on its browning, leavening, and taste.

The next time your cake doesn’t bake properly, make sure to check the portion of sugar used in the mixture and you will seek the answer for yourself. Till that time keep believing in the power of sugar and keep relishing its products.

Happy Munching!

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