Egg Whites and Cake

An experiment in the San Francisco-based group Baker's Dozen suggested that the technique of using egg whites has a big impact on a finished cake. If it's not done delicately, the egg protein structure will damage and lose potential. More than 60 chefs baked angel food cakes from an identical recipe and ingredients. After studying the array of finished cakes, they concluded that the only room for error was within the range of soft versus stiff peaks. The lesson: Whipping expertise can yield lofty results.

Different Kinds of Cakes

Sponge cake is known for a subtle flavor that pairs well with hot beverages. It has a very light texture, so it's a popular teatime snack and has a reputation for being healthy (in context, of course).

Pound cake is graced with a rich, buttery flavor, good on its own but decadent with fruit and nuts. Its dense texture is thanks to heavy-handed proportions of whole eggs and butter, which pack each slice with moist mouthfuls of fat and calories.

Though gâteau is a spongelike cake, the ingredients combine to form a doughlike composition that can end up resembling (and even substituting for) a heavy pastry. It has a rich flavor and is laden with fat and calories due to butter and eggs.

Génoise has a dry texture and delicate flavor that are well suited to other snacks. On its own, it's a fairly light cake, but be wary of the fillings and buttercreams that are usually part of a package deal.

Is your mouth watering yet? It will be soon, since the next page discusses how each cake is used (and eaten).