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Chemistry is Similar to Baking a Cake

by Ron Kurtus (26 September 2006)

Chemistry can seem like an overwhelming subject. But if you look at it as similar to cooking or baking a cake, you can get a better understanding of the material.

In order to bake a cake, you have ingredients and the recipe. Then you mix things together and bake the ingredients to get the cake.

Later, you eat the cake and break it into its basic parts.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.


Before you bake a cake or do other cooking, you gather the food items and ingredients. In a chemical combination, the ingredients are elements and compounds. A chemical formula tells what elements are included in a compound, just as the label on a food package lists its ingredients.


The recipe for cooking or baking tells you what items you mix together and how much of each you should use. It also tells you the temperature of the oven and time you need to cook or bake your concoction.

In chemistry, you mix items according to a chemical equation to get the desired resulting compounds or materials. Often such an equation will indicate the temperature that must be used to cause the chemical reaction.

Mixing materials together

In both baking a cake and in chemical reactions, there are different ways to mix and dissolve materials together before applying the heat.

Baking the ingredients

Usually, you must heat materials in order to bake a cake or cook certain dishes. In some cases, foods react by just bringing them into contact with each other or by putting them in a refrigerator.

This is also true in chemistry. Heat is often required to start a chemical reaction. Often in a chemistry lab, a small amount of materials are heated in a test tube. There are also chemicals that will react immediately when mixed together.

Eating the cake

When you eat a cake, you chew the material and your digestive juices break the cake into its basics. Similarly, you can break a compound into its parts by adding an acid or base, or by electrolysis or some other means. Often, you can grind up a material to make the breakdown reaction more effective.


Chemistry can be understood better by looking at it as similar to baking a cake. You have ingredients and a recipe, you mix things together and bake the ingredients, and then you can eat the cake and break it into its basic parts.

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