It is often said that baking a cake is a simple process, just a combination of ingredients to turn them into a sweet cake. However it contains several chemical changes including the ionization of salt and sugar molecules as well as the transformation of flour into gluten.
In baking a cake there are many chemical changes by which different substances undergo transformation. In order for these changes to take place, heat must be added in certain recipes such as those calling for brownies or chocolate chip cookies . The heat from an oven allows the atoms , ions , or molecules in each ingredient to move faster and bump into one another more often, which gives them enough energy to transform into new substances altogether.
First, these transformations actually involve both physical chemical changes: The increased kinetic energy from the heat causes substances to expand and become less dense. Many ingredients, such as sugar, salt and cocoa powder change in density when heated. In a cake these changes help to solidify the batter.
Secondly, increased heat forces atoms, ions or molecules into new arrangements with each other giving rise to completely different substances. More dense sweet cakes have a greater proportion of flour relative to the amount of air whipped in when compared to smaller denser chocolate chip cookies
In order for baking a cake to be considered a chemical change, an ingredient must undergo at least one physical-chemical change by which it becomes either less dense or denser with its surroundings, and it must also undergo at least one chemical change where no substance remains the same. Baking soda in a cake creates carbon dioxide to help it rise in the oven, in this case, the ingredients have undergone at least one physical-chemical change.
More complicated cakes also involve chemical changes that don’t always produce different substances entirely. Instead, some simply separate into components . A good example of this is when baking pound cake; the egg proteins coagulate to form networks which trap air bubbles created by the creaming method employed prior to baking. These air bubbles are important for giving poundcake its light texture and spongy consistency .
The key difference between making a cake and cooking is that while cooking typically combines ingredients to make new dishes, there are no chemical changes involved. For example, boiling potatoes results in them losing their solid structure but not their chemical composition in which the proteins in the potatoes gain a new arrangement of atoms with other molecules in water rather than changing into completely different substances .
Whether boiling, baking or frying, cooking typically only involves physical changes. The high temperatures cause early stages of chemical change to take place before they are boiled, baked or fried and turned from one substance into another. Even though it is true that cakes will rise if you add baking powder and bake them at high heat, this is due to physical changes such as air bubbles formed by the expanding gases of carbon dioxide .
If we consider chemical changes where no substance remains the same to be a cake’s unique feature then cooking does not involve any significant amount of chemical change and is therefore distinct from baking.