how baking powder reacts under pressure
pressure cooking school  Welcome to Pressure Cooking School!
 This article is part of Lesson 7: Sweet Desserts

To illustrate how baking powder behaves in the pressure cooker, we need three cooks to bake a cake.  One lives at sea level, the other in a high-altitude location, and the last one in a low-altitude location – we’ll get to them in a second.

How Baking Powder Reacts under pressure

If all three chefs, follow the same cake recipe, the chef at sea level will get a perfect cake. The high-altitude chef’s cake is going to over-expand, and the low-altitude chef’s cake will remain a solid disk. That’s because the atmospheric pressure is different for each location. As the altitude rises, the pressure decreases, and as the altitude lowers the pressure increases. And, just in case you haven’t already guessed, the low-altitude chef represents the high-pressure conditions inside a pressure cooker!

High-altitude cooks already know that they need to decrease the amount of baking powder in a dessert recipe to get the same results as a cook at sea level. That’s because there is less resistance for the cake to rise.

So, following this logic, and testing pressure cooker desserts over, and over and over… I found that giving the baking powder a boost, by increasing it, for desserts cooked under pressure will turn the solid, rubbery-brick of a cake batter into a fluffy, spongy dessert.

How Baking Powder Reacts under pressure

And, you’re going to see this in action in the Lava Cake recipe later in this lesson.

But first, let’s get to the cheesecake!


pressure cooking schoolCONTINUE Lesson 7: Sweet Desserts

How Baking Powder Reacts under pressure


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  1. Thanks for the cheesecake recipe – looks delicious and I must try it! I already have the silicone cooking container.

    As for your altitude model for cake baking, shouldn’t the low-altitude chef theoretically be at 16,400 ft below sea level, rather than 1,640 ft, to achieve a pressure equivalent to that in the Instant Pot? In any case, I assume you are saying I need to double the baking powder quantity for a cake baked in the pressure cooker.

    1. You are right – as I forgot to consider that the basic atmospheric pressure at sea level is already 14.5psi. I will update the graphics in this article. : )

      Yes, I double or nearly-double the baking powder for pressure cooker cakes and bread – though, I actually test per recipe and adjust as necessary.

      BTW, cutting the baking powder in half for high-altitude cooking in this graphic is a dramatization to illustrate the point – it’s actually only reduced by a 1/4 or 1/3 teaspoon. But high-altitude cooks already know the reductions to make. ; )



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