What is Baking Powder?
Baking powder is a fine, white, powdery substance with a neutral smell and a very bland taste. It is an acid and used to instantly leaven baked goods. It reacts when it touches moisture and differs from yeast because of its instant leavening reaction. Baking powder is primarily used in flour-based baked goods to help cakes and cookies rise. Baking powder can be found in many non-yeast baked goods.
...Additives are added to food items in small quantities to improve the flavor, change the texture, enhance appearance, or preserve the item. Additives are both natural and artificial. Natural additives have been used for a long time, while many artificial ones were discovered in the 19th century. There are numerous artificial additives including soy lecithin, guar gum, ascorbic acid and sodium nitrite.
...Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda is a chemical leavening agent composed of salts and is used to help baked goods rise. It is a fine white powder that is bland, nearly tasteless and alkaline. It acts in place of yeast and creates bubbles which lift the product.
...Cornstarch is obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel. This is the main body and juicy part of the kernel. Cornstarch is a fine, white powder with a squeaky texture and neutral flavor. It is used in many foods, particularly in America. Cornstarch makes an easy thickener for liquids, such as sauces and an excellent binding agent for baked goods. In the 1800's cornstarch was used for starching laundry, making the clothing appear stiff and professional.