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Have your cake - and no salt too.

Have your cake--and no salt too

That half a teaspoon or so of salt that most cake recipes callfor can provide "a surprising amount of sodium' per 100-gram serving--from 240 milligrams in white or yellow cake, to about 300 mg in spice cake and almost 390 mg in devil's food cake, according to Virginia H. Holsinger, a food scientist with the Agriculture Department's Eastern Research Center in Philadelphia. She says the condiment, which has a complex role in baking, was probably originally added to recipes to enhance the flavor of other ingredients. However, new taste-panel tests by her lab indicate that salt-free cakes were either equal to or preferred over those baked with salt. In fact, she says, most tasters rated the salt-free cakes as being sweeter.

Changes observed in the salt-free versions included: a 4 to6.8 percent reduction in cake height or volume; a 12.5 to 16 percent increase in firmness; and in chocolate cakes, a "freckling' (formation of light-colored spots) on the surface-- apparently due to sugar crystalization. Holsinger says the shrinkage and firmness changes were "not so bad that they were unacceptable,' and the cosmetic freckling problem was eliminated by switching from regular sugar to superfine.

Though eliminating salt reduces a cake's sodium content, itdoes not eliminate it. For example, the baking powder used to leaven the batter can add 100 milligrams per serving in the form of sodium bicarbonate. However, Holsinger notes, research suggests that because of the form in which it is delivered, the sodium bicarbonate--unlike the sodium in table salt--may not play a role in high blood pressure.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 6, 1987
Words:266
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