Thursday, November 3, 2011

Culinary IQ: Thursday, November 3, 2011; Cake Methods III

Methods for Low-Fat or Egg-Foam

These are the last of the methods I will discuss this week. These methods are used for making Angel Food, Sponge and Chiffon Cakes.

Sponge Method: Many types of sponge cake are made with an egg foam that contains yolks. They are usually whole-egg foams but in some cases, the base foam is a yolk foam and an egg white foam is folded in at the end of the procedure.
In its simplest form, sponge cake batter is made in two basic steps:

  1. Eggs and sugar are whipped to a thick foam.
  2. Sifted flour is fold in. Additional ingredients, such as butter or liquid, complicate the process slightly.
Angel Food Method: Angel food cakes are based on egg-white foams and contain no fat. For success in beating egg whites, review my posts on eggs. Egg whites for angel food cakes should be whipped until they form soft, not stiff, peaks. Overwhipped whites lose their ability to expand and to leaven the cake. In the angel food method, the egg whites, salt, cream of tarter are whipped to a foam, a partial amount of the sugar is whipped in gradually until a soft, moist peak is achieved. The flour and remaining sugar, having been sifted together previously are then folded into the egg whites, poured in appropriate pan and baked according to the recipe.

Chiffon Method: Chiffon cakes are also based on an egg-white foam. Where a dry flour-sugar mixture is mixed into the angel food cake in the chiffon cake it is a batter containing flour, egg yolks, vegetable oil and water.
Egg whites for chiffon cakes should be whipped until they are a little firmer. Chiffon cakes contain baking powder so they are not dependent on the egg foam for leavening.

And there you go, I have covered the basic methods for making cakes. You will find variations on these methods from time to time and in some occasions methods that don't resemble any of these methods. Tomorrow I will share my favorite chocolate cake and frosting recipe with you.

Adapted from Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen. John Wiley & Sons, Publishers.

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