Cream of tartar and what to know

Cream of Tartar and What to Know

The world of baking ingredients is extremely diverse and rich. In which, cream of tartar is a familiar ingredient. This ingredient is used quite often for many different baking recipes. It plays an important role in creating delicious and attractive cakes. However, many people, especially beginners of baking, do not really understand what cream of tartar is and how it works.

Cream of tartar is often used for many different baking recipes
Cream of tartar is often used for many different baking recipes

What is Cream of Tartar?

Cream of tartar is the baking name for a substance called potassium bitartrate with the chemical formula KC4H5O6. The main ingredient of cream of tartar is KC4H5O6 (the simplest formula) which is created from the reaction of tartaric acid with a compound of potassium metal (a potassium-containing compound found in grapes). This is a smooth white powder that is also a byproduct of winemaking.

Cream of tartar is not a blooming agent, but it does help in the baking process. Tartaric acid is produced during the fermentation process, which is extracted, cleaned and produces a white powder called cream of tartar. Therefore, cream of tartar can be found in wine cellars, in tanks and on the caps of perennial wine bottles (if stored at 100 degrees C).

What are the Uses of Cream of Tartar?

The cream of tartar is used quite commonly in baking. The main use of this ingredient is to make the egg whites fluffy. In addition, the cream of tartar also has an anti-crystallization effect when making syrup, keeping air bubbles from being broken, helping to stabilize the cream.

On the other hand, when preparing dishes that use vegetables, a little cream of tartar will help vegetables become greener.

Many people are concerned that the use of the cream of tartar affects their health. In fact, however, this powder is completely harmless and safe to use in small amounts. When baking, you only need to add a few grams of cream of tartar. It is enough for the finished product to reach the ideal level without harm.

The main use of this ingredient is to make the egg whites fluffy
The main use of this ingredient is to make the egg whites fluffy

What Ingredients Can Cream of Tartar be Replaced with?

If the cake recipe requires cream of tartar powder but it suddenly runs out of, you can replace it with lemon juice. 3 grams of cream of tartar powder will be equivalent to 6ml of lemon juice. Depending on the amount of powder required, you replace it with the equivalent amount of lemon juice. Cream of tartar powder can also be combined with baking soda as a substitute for baking powder.

However, there are some cakes that need to use cream of tartar by default without any alternative such as Meringue or Macarons. Because any change will directly affect the quality of the finished cake. For cakes like Macarons and Meringue, you should use cream of tartar.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is using a lot of cream of tartar good?

Cream of tartar powder is completely harmless, and it is safe to use in very small amounts. However, there are certain risks involved with the use of hatching agents, especially if the patient is taking certain prescription drugs or has certain medical conditions. Hence, using the cream of tartar in moderation will be safest.

The harm of the creams of tartar lies in its metal and acid components, such as sodium, potassium, aluminum, citric acid, tartaric acid, so on. But in fact, these are weak and harmless acids. Metals are only harmful when they are used too much because they cannot “evaporate” from food.

Cream of tartar powder is completely harmless, and it is safe to use in very small amounts

Cream of tartar powder is completely harmless, and it is safe to use in very small amounts
Cream of tartar powder is completely harmless, and it is safe to use in very small amounts

2. How to preserve cream of tartar powder properly?

Similar to other powders, in order to preserve and use for a long time without being moldy, it is better to put the powder in a sealed container, keep it in a dry, cool and not wet place. If you buy much cream of tartar, you can divide it into small pieces and store it in the refrigerator’s cooler.

Depending on which cream of tartar you buy, they will have a different shelf life, so don’t forget to check the expiration date carefully!

3. Can white vinegar be used as a substitute for cream of tartar?

Similar to the cream of tartar, white vinegar is highly acidic. White vinegar can be swapped out for the cream of tartar in your kitchen.
White vinegar is a substitute that works best when you want to stabilize egg whites for recipes like soups and meringues or other baked goods. When using white vinegar, you

Just use the same amount of white vinegar as cream of tartar when you whip the egg whites.

Note: Remember that white vinegar is a good substitute for cream of tartar. However, it may not be a perfect substitute for cream of tartar in baked goods such as cakes. This alteration can alter the flavor and texture of the pastry.

4. If I don’t have the cream of tartar, can I use baking powder?

If the recipe in your guide contains both baking soda and cream of tartar, you can easily replace the cream of tartar with baking powder.

Their texture is nearly identical so they can be used interchangeably. 1.5 teaspoons or 6 grams of baking powder is equivalent to 1 teaspoon (3.5 grams) of cream of tartar.

This alternative is ideal that you can use in any baking recipe. This substitution does not change the flavor or texture of the cake.

5. Where to buy cream of tartar?

Cream of tartar powder is increasingly used in popular baking and daily life. So it is currently widely sold in the market. To buy cream of tartar powder, you can go to any big and small supermarket or any baking shop. The price of cream of tartar powder is also very cheap, only a few dollars per bag.

6. What is the recipe for making sponge cake with cream of tartar?

Ingredients need to prepare:

  • 3 eggs
  • 40 gr of vegetable oil
  • 45 gr flour (cake flour or flour number 8)
  • 30 gr of fresh milk without sugar
  • 40 gr of sugar
  • 1 gr salt
  • 2 gr cream of tartar (Tartar powder, if not replaced by 1 / 2 tsp lemon juice)
  • Some vanilla
  • 10 cm square mold
  • Non-stick lining paper
  • Large tray

The steps are as follows:

  • Step 1

Separate the yolks and egg whites and separate them into 2 bowls.

Note: Never let the whites mix with yolks, fat oils or other impurities.

  • Step 2

Microwave cooking oil for 30 seconds.

Sift the flour slowly into the oil and stir. Then add the fresh milk, yolks, vanilla extract and continue to stir well.

  • Step 3

Use a whisk with egg whites and salt. When there are small air bubbles, add cream of tartar (or lemon juice) into the mixture. Next, divide the sugar into 3 parts, add each part and beat until the tip stands.

  • Step 4

Take a little whipped egg white into the yolk mixture, stirring with a spatula to dilute the mixture. Then add each part of the whipped egg whites, use a plier to mix gently from the bottom up so that the mixture is blended without causing air bubbles.

  • Step 5

Produces a mold lined with non-stick paper. Pat the mold. Preheat the oven for 10 minutes. Place the mold in a tray of hot water, bake for 50 to 55 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius.

Note: It is possible to wrap foil outside to prevent water from entering the mold.


With the above sharing, we believe that you will no longer feel strange to cream of tartar. Wishing you success with the wonderful cakes prepared by yourself.

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