pound cake

Leavening acids are a component of baking powder used to provide porosity in cake.

Leavening Acids

What are Leavening Acids?

Leavening acids are part of chemical leavening system used to provide porosity in cake and batter systems.

A leavening acid is used in conjunction with a carbon dioxide source such as baking soda which then produces water and carbon dioxide that provides the leavening. This mixture is commonly called baking powder (which also includes a buffer such as starch).


Chemical leavening, in general, has been around since the late 1700’s when Amelia Simmons first noted leavening characteristics of pearl ash, or potassium carbonate. This later evolved into what is now known as baking powder.


The importance of the types of leavening acids lies in their neutralizing values (NV). The higher the neutralizing value, the faster they react. Therefore, if the requirement is a delayed reaction, like frozen batter, then the choice would be a lower neutralizing value provided by glucono delta lactone.

Types of leavening acids and their NV:

Dicalcium Phosphate Dehydrate(DCPD) -33

Glucono Delta Lactone (GDL) -45

Cream of tartar -45

Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate (SAPP) -72

Monocalcium Phosphate Monohydrate (MCP) -80

Anhydrous Monocalcium Phosphate (AMCP) -83

Sodium Aluminium Phosphate (SALP) -100

Sodium Aluminium Sulfate (SAS) -104