Rheology is the science of predicting how materials will behave when placed under force.
Basic rheology concepts can be classified into viscous flow, elastic deformation, and viscoelasticity. Cake batter displays both viscous and elastic properties and is known as a viscoelastic material.
The rheological properties of cake batter correlate with the quality attributes of cakes, such as volume and texture. If the batter viscosity is low, the gas cells will rise to the surface, resulting in a cake with a lower volume and uneven crumb structure.
Ingredient variations, air and temperature all affect the rheological properties of cakes. A well-formulated cake batter retains the gas cells, so they can expand to an optimal volume before setting.
Jennifer Bradbeer, senior food scientist, Campden BRI
Campden BRI provides technical support to the food, drinks and allied industries worldwide. Its activities are built on a programme of industrial relevant research and innovation steered by industry. See campdenbri.co.uk or telephone 01386 842000