I know what all of you are thinking out there, don’t think I don’t. You’re saying to yourselves: in order to get a carbon dioxide-producing leavening reaction you need both an alkaline and an acid. I only see soda (an alkaline) in the ingredients list. Where does the acid come from?
I’m glad you asked that. From several places, actually. Brown sugar is acidic, and so is corn (though only slightly so). The bulk of the acid in this week’s fritter mixture comes from the pumpkin, which has more than enough to “fizz” the 1 1/2 teaspoons of soda the recipe calls for. Good question, you with the pocket protector.
Oh and a word of advice: once you mix your dough up, make sure you don’t let it sit around too long. Unlike baking powder, which emits over half its CO2 bubbles in the heat of the oven (the second “action” in “double acting” baking powder), soda gives up all it has to give once it gets wet. Which means you’ve got about 20 minutes to take advantage of its full leavening mojo. Dally not.