After reading a section in Bakewise about chemical leaveners, I re-read the spice bread recipe. In Bakewise, Shirley says you need about 1 tsp baking powder or 1/4 tsp baking soda per cup of flour. (I'm sure this is only a general rule because I'm not done reading the book, especially the section on acids, which affects when bubbles are formed from the baking soda.)
The spice bread recipe called for 1 1/4 cup flour, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp baking soda. If Shirley's formula is right, then it should only need 1 tsp powder or 1/4 tsp soda. That's half of what the recipe calls for. Now, you may be thinking, like I was, that more leavening equals more bubbles and a bigger cake. However, Shirley points out that too much leavening can also result in flat or sunken cakes: the bubbles are formed and get so big that they escape the cake, leaving none left to lighten it.
That was apparently the problem for me. Today, I used 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda and ended up with flat, but not sunken, cakes.
With that combination of leavening, I only had to bake the cakes for the recommended time (43 minutes), so they didn't end up burned on the edges. I was very excited that my first application of baking math had fixed a recipe that I thought was terminally broken! So, without further explanation, here is the fixed recipe.
Returning Sun Spice Bread
- 1 1/4 cup flour
- 2 Tbsp poppyseeds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice
- 3/4 cup raisins, plain or golden
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Mix the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices together. Stir the spice mixture into the flour in a large bowl and mix well.
- Stir in the poppyseeds and raisins.
- In a separate bowl, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, and milk. Stir in the egg.
- Pour the liquid mixture into the flour mixture. Stir to combine.
- Pour the batter into 4, well-greased, mini-loaf pans.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes.