Baking Soda Substitute for Cake

“I love flat cake” – said no one ever. Flat cakes are typically the product of a baking soda-less batter. That said, baking soda is imperative for cakey goodness. If you don’t have any, don’t panic. You can use substitutes like baking powder and whipped egg whites with great results.

Hi! My name is Michelle, and I love to bake cakes. That said, I almost always have baking soda in my kitchen, but not always. When I forget to pick up this handy ingredient at the grocery store, I have to get creative for successful cakes. And I’m here to share my findings with you!

If you are all out of baking soda and trying to make a cake, the good news is many handy alternatives can be used. The best part is, you will still get the same texture and flavor you were craving, to begin with. Yay!

Let’s get baking, chefs!

Why is Baking Soda Necessary for Cakes?

When you think about sinking your teeth into a piece of cake, you likely think of a light and fluffy treat that sends your taste buds whirring. Well, that is all thanks to the baking soda. 

Baking soda is a handy ingredient used for various purposes, in and out of baking. But for cakes, specifically, it is the ingredient that will produce the most desirable texture for your cake.

Without baking soda, your cake won’t puff up, and it will likely end up being flat, dense, and boring. Who wants to blow candles out of a flat cake? No, thanks!

But if you’re mixing your batter and find yourself in a scramble for baking soda, don’t worry if you don’t have any. Below, you will find plenty of superior alternatives that will get the job done.

Substitute for Baking Soda in Cake

There are tons of great baking soda alternatives that will work for baking a cake. The key is to use them the right way. Typically, you can’t swap baking soda for another ingredient without altering your recipe a bit. Let’s take a closer look at how to get things done.

1. Baking Powder

Baking soda and baking powder are found in so many baking recipes. What’s the deal? Are both even necessary? You bet they are! Baking soda and baking powder can’t be used interchangeably, although it looks like they can.

However, done right, baking powder can act as an alternative for baking soda. That’s because baking powder contains baking soda. 

When using baking powder as a replacement, you will need to use three times the amount of baking soda. So, if your recipe calls for ¼ teaspoon of baking soda, you will need to use one full teaspoon of baking powder.

You may also want to consider reducing the amounts of acid liquids in your recipe. This is because baking powder contains acid, and too much acid can hinder the leavening reaction.

2. Whipped Egg Whites

Did you know that whipped egg whites can act as a trusted leavener? To incorporate whipped egg whites into the mix, you will need to reduce some of the liquid in your cake recipe. 

Now, since you’re likely already using eggs for your cake, there is a special way you need to add whipped egg whites. 

  1. Add the yolks to the batter.
  2. Whip the egg whites until they’ve reached stiff peaks.
  3. Fold them into the batter gently. 

The keyword here is gentle. Stirring too hard can cause air pockets which could hinder leavening. So, be extra careful working with this handy baking soda substitute for cake.

3. Self-Rising Flour

Self-rising flour is a bit trickier than the other options because many recipe adjustments need to be made. It may be a better option for experienced bakers that know how to properly adjust ingredients for the best result.

Unlike all-purpose flour, self-rising flour contains baking powder (an acid) and salt. With the inclusion of acid, you will need to adjust the acidic ingredients in your batter specifically. For example, if you’re using buttermilk, you might want to use regular milk instead.

Too much acid can hamper the final flavor of your cake, so it is important not to overdo it. 


Still have some questions about baking soda substitutes for cake? No worries! I’m here to help, chefs. Below you will find some must-see questions and must-know answers about baking soda alternatives for cakes.

How do I substitute baking powder for baking soda in a cake?

When using baking powder as a substitute for baking soda in a cake, you want to use three times the amount of baking powder. That’s because baking powder contains baking soda but in a much smaller amount. You should cut down the acidic ingredients, too, for the best result.

Can you bake without baking soda?

Sure you can! But results may vary. Baking soda is essential for leavening and creating that light and fluffy enjoyable texture found in cakes and other baked treats. Without it, you are setting yourself up for a flat and dense disaster. Therefore, use baking soda or a good sub!

Can I use vinegar as a substitute for baking soda?

No, vinegar can’t be used as a replacement for baking soda. However, it can be an excellent replacement for baking powder. So, if you’re ever without baking powder, mix a pinch of baking soda with some vinegar in your cake recipe.

What happens if you use baking soda instead of baking powder?

If you use baking soda instead of baking powder, you’re going to end up with no lift in your cake. However, you can create baking powder using baking soda. Just mix the baking soda with some cream of tartar, and you’re ready to go!

Final Thoughts

Baking a cake without baking soda is not ideal, but many alternatives can work just as well. The top choice is baking powder, although you can also fold whipped egg whites or use self-rising flour.

Have you ever baked a cake with one of these baking soda substitutes? Comment with your experience below!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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