Eggs are a fundamental component in most baked goods. Yes, there is a whole chapter/book to be written on egg-free baking, but we shall come to that later. For now, lets talk about eggs.
Egg whites are used to create a light texture and a tender crumb in a number of cake recipes. These recipes will often call for egg whites being whipped up with a stabilising agent, such as cream of tartar or salt, and then folded into dry ingredients. A simple example of such a recipe is meringue. We have a recipe for Meringue Kisses on this blog, along with a recipe video. You can see egg whites in action in the video! When whipping egg whites, for any recipe, it is crucial that the bowl and the whisk be completely fat free. The slightest amount of grease in a bowl, the tiniest bit of egg yellow, will prevent your egg whites from rising.
Most cake recipes will use the whole egg. Egg yolks are largely responsible for the flavour and also the fattier part of the egg. The yolks are incredibly rich and also act as a binding agent. Egg yolks are also the main ingredient in custard. Without the yolk, there is no custard! Together with milk, sugar and the seeds of a vanilla pod, the yolks will thicken the mixture when placed on a low heat until a smooth crème anglaise appears – we simply prefer to call it custard.
When adding whole eggs to your cake, brownie or cookie batters, it is important to mix in between each addition. Especially if your recipe calls for this step. Doing so will allow the fat to emulsify within the batter and (hopefully) means the batter won’t curdle. But then there are multiple all-in-one recipes around and they also work with great results. Go figure!
But it doesn’t stop there. The mighty egg has many properties and this post is just scratching the surface. Eat them as part of your breakfast, stir them up and use them to glaze your scones, make a decadent and flavoursome French Meringue buttercream with the yolks, make a light and sugary sweet Swiss Meringue buttercream with the whites, use them to make brownies more fudgy, make meringues – just make sure they are free range and/or organic . We do not like battery farmed eggs in this establishment!
We will be uploading more recipes and videos soon, if you have any suggestions or requests, please send them to hello (at) faircake.co.uk.