Worldwide the food industry is under pressure to reduce caloric values of sweet bakery products such as cakes. In addition, there is a need to optimize baking processes so that both energy consumption and waste generation can be reduced. Irrespective of the product, understanding fundamental mechanisms behind the changes occurring during processing is key. This article presents tools to study the behavior of cake batters during baking, generating knowledge on batter stabilization mechanisms and foam-to-sponge conversions. Cake batter stability is generally favored by low air bubble velocity, small bubble diameter, and high batter viscosity. Unfortunately, temperature gradients during baking negatively affect each of these variables, resulting in coarser cake structure. Changes in these physicochemical variables were studied using dynamic viscosity and rheological techniques. Foam-to-sponge conversion is a key stage in which the transformation of liquid cake batter (foam) into the solid and aerated cake structure (sponge) takes place. Substantial viscosity changes occur during baking that are highly affected by ingredients such as flour type and sugar content. These factors were studied using various imaging techniques, such as photography and dynamic or static computerized tomography (CT) scanning. By combining physicochemical and imaging techniques, information on fundamental aspects of the system were obtained.
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