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Cream of Tartar Question

  • k

I'm hoping you baking hounds can help. I have a recipe for an apple cake that calls for 200g sugar, 2 eggs, 350g flour, 1.5 t of baking soda, .5 t cream of tartar, 450g apples, and .5 t salt. That's not all the ingredients, but you get the idea...

So I can't find cream of tartar. Do you know exactly what it's for? Is there some adjustment/substitution I could make?

I'd be grateful for your insight!

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  1. cream of tartar is used in baking to stabalize egg whites so they don't deflate as easily. I found this on http://www.ochef.com/933.htm

    "If you are beating eggs whites and don't have cream of tartar, you can substitute white vinegar (in the same ratio as cream of tartar, generally 1/8 teaspoon per egg white). It is a little more problematic to find a substitute for cream of tartar in baking projects. White vinegar or lemon juice, in the ratio of 3 times the amount of cream of tartar called for, will provide the right amount of acid for most recipes. But that amount of liquid may cause other problems in the recipe, and bakers have found that cakes made with vinegar or lemon juice have a coarser grain and are more prone to shrinking than those made with cream of tartar. "

    1. Previously I ran into the same situation although I was doing a meringue. If you're whipping eggs whites and don't have cream of tartar, you can substitute white vinegar (in the same ratio as cream of tartar, generally 1/8 teaspoon per egg white). I found that online somewhere and wrote it down so that's as good as I can do.

      1 Reply
      1. Cream of Tatar is tartaric acid. I'm surprised you can't find it in the spice rack at your supermarket.
        I notice you have listed it immediately after baking soda, so it may be intended to react with the soda to leaven the dish, rather than to help whip egg whites into a foam.
        Is it being added to the egg whites, or added to the dry ingredients along with the soda? If the latter, you could sub a bit of baking powder.

        1. If you're not whipping egg whites for this recipe, the baking soda and cream of tartar may act as leavening in your cake. Homemade baking powder recipes call for baking soda, cream of tartar and a little cornstarch.

          1 Reply
          1. re: raj1

            Yup, exactly. I'd probably sub some baking powder, and reduce the soda proportionately.

          2. I doubt that you're whipping egg whites in an apple cake. Liek others have said, baking soda needs to react to an acid in order to leaven the cake If you leave out the cream of tartar the cake will not rise and will be very heavy and dense and probably not very good.

            You need to either add an acid or use baking powder, which is baking soda with a dry acid added.