What place do the sharp and pungent flavors of vinegar have in soft, fragrant, moist, and delicious baked goods? Surprisingly, vinegar can play a huge role in the rising and stabilizing of sweets like cakes and meringues. Not convinced? Let us explain:
1 Vinegar makes cakes rise.
Remember the famous baking soda volcano science project you did in grade school? This is exactly the scientific reaction that happens when you let vinegar react with the baking soda in your cakes. When they combine, they release carbon dioxide, a gas that helps cakes and cupcakes rise as they bake. Almost every red velvet cupcake recipe uses this vinegar and baking soda combo!
2 Vinegar helps stabilize meringues.
A splash of vinegar in your meringue mixture not only stabilizes the meringue during the baking process, it is also the reason why the meringue stays chewy on the inside but crisp on the outside. Vinegar is also the reason why meringues stay light: acid helps trap the air inside a whipped meringue batter.
3 Vinegar can be used to make a buttermilk substitute.
Buttermilk is not easy to come across, and can turn out to be a pricey ingredient for baking. To make an easy buttermilk substitute with pantry staples, mix 1 teaspoon of white vinegar with 1 cup of fresh milk and let it sit until it curdles slightly. This slightly soured milk can be used in place of buttermilk, and works just as well!