The second installment in my series on mixing methods. (did you miss the first one on creaming?) This time we are talking about the egg foam method.
It sounds super exciting, right?
This is the method that is used for creating those super fancy French gateaux and genoise and jelly rolls. Oh, and angel food cake. This is the method that makes people thing that baking cakes from scratch is difficult.
Ok, this is a bit more involved than dumping a cake mix from a box into water and eggs, but the results are worth it. Really. 15 extra minutes for a delicate and light cake. I promise. Better gluten free cakes await.
In this method, we get all of our lift from the air we add to the eggs. None of it is coming from a chemical source and we are not cutting air pockets into our butter. When you make cakes this way, you use melted butter or oil to moisten and tenderize. Gluten free goods tend to be dense and chewy. We should use this method more.
This method is used in many european style cakes. Why? Typical European flours have less gluten than American varieties. So the cakes rely on the eggs to create the structure, not the gluten proteins from the flour.
This method of mixing uses the protiens of the eggs to create structure, the sugar to tenderize and oil to moisten. In traditional baking, you use this method when you want the least possible gluten formation, so why don’t we have more recipes that use this method? Because they aren’t traditional American butter or chiffon cakes. But they are darn tasty.
The nitty gritty:
You must whip your eggs. Whip ’em real good. You want them to double or triple in volume (depending if you are using yolks, whites or whole eggs). You usually add in a small amount of sugar when they are at a soft peak. If you are whipping whites and yolks separately, you whip the yolks first and then the whites. You then fold in your flour and mix about a quarter of your foam mixture with your liquid fat. This small amount will deflate, but will help the fat mix without separating or deflating your entire mixture. You then fold in that mxture and bake promptly.
Time is not on your side with this technique. The longer the eggs sit, the flatter they become. And the more dense your cake will be.
How easy is that? I used this technique when making my gluten-free swiss roll cake.
Go forth and bake light and fluffy cakes!