Raising Agents Investigation

This is a practice NEA style experiment that I conducted with my year 9's (14/15 year old's). The title given to them was:

“Raising agents are essential when making cake products. Investigate the functional and chemical properties of raising agents when making fairy cakes’’.

We completed research into the following topics:

  • What is a fairy cake? How is it made?
  • What are raising agents?
  • How are raising agents categorised?
  • How do raising agents work?
    • What is the science behind this – link this to the creaming / all in one method

The students then wrote a prediction or Hypothesis for the practical investigations, many of them stated which raising agent they thought would work the best or worst.

Each student was asked to bring in:

  • 50g flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g butter (no salt)
  • 1 egg
  • Cupcake cases

This mixture can easily be doubled or tippled!

I provided them with:

  • Baking powder
  • Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Cream of Tartar

  • Wooden spoon
  • 4 bowls
    • 1 large
  • 4 teaspoons
  • baking tray
  • oven gloves
  • scales (in case they did not weigh out before class)
  • labels of each type of raising agent

Step 1: Ingredients Out and Oven ON

50g Plain flour

50g Butter unsalted

50g Caster sugar

1 Egg

Turn your oven on to 180 or Gas mark 5/6, a middle heat

Step 2: Cream Together Your Butter and Sugar in a Large Bowl

Combine the mixture with a wooden spoon until everything is mixed together.

Step 3: Add in the Egg

Crack the egg in a separate bowl to limit the chances of egg shell in the mixture.

Here we can also double check that our egg only has one yolk, especially if you are completing this with a large group a double yolk will affect the results

Step 4: Add in the Flour

Add in all of the flour and mix it until everything is combined

Step 5: Dividing the Mixture

Split the mixture into 4 equal shares, each mixture will needs its own bowl

Step 6: Adding the Raising Agent

Each bowl will be used for a different raising agent.

Bowl 1: will have no raising agent

Bowl 2: will have baking powder

Bowl 3: will have Bicarbonate of soda

Bowl 4: will have Cream of Tarter

I added roughly 3g of each raising agent to each mixture.

This was calculated due to 150g flour need 2 tsp of baking power to become self raising.

Step 7: Dishing Up

I created simple labels to go under each of the cases, that way I could easily tell which fairy cakes were what.

I was able to use the mixture and create 2 fairy cakes of each type of mixture, which then fit perfectly onto 1 tray.

Step 8: Getting Them Out of the Oven

I cooked the fairy cakes for roughly 15-25 minutes depending on the scale of your batch. Or until the the majority of them were golden brown.

Step 9:

After they had cooled, we tested each of them. For each type of fairy cake the students needed to taste them and complete the table. For each section the girls rated the title out of 5

1= No

3= Kind of

5= Yes

This data will help up plot a radar diagram of each type of raising agent.

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