Many recipes for cakes, cookies and baked goods call for the use of some baking powder. The baking powder works to help the cake or batter rise. If you use baking powder that is no longer active, your baked goods will be heavy and dense, and sometimes, the inactive baking powder can ruin the results. So here’s an easy way to check if your baking powder is still active… just place a teaspoon or less in a small bowl and pour some very hot or boiling water over the baking powder and it should bubble up and froth. If it doesn’t, throw it out and buy a new can. In the Philippines, I find that baking powder rarely lasts more than 5-6 months when stored in a cool, dark pantry. I am not sure if it lasts longer in the fridge, but basically, it “expires” quite quickly. Baking soda, on the other hand lasts much longer than baking powder, apparently a couple of years or so. To check if the baking soda is still good, place some in a bowl and add some vinegar and it should froth and bubble up. If the baking soda is “dead”, then use it to clean stuff instead, and get some new baking soda for your cooking/baking needs.