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Thread: Homemade Cakes

  1. #1

    Homemade Cakes

    Do you all beat your egg whites seperately then fold them into the rest of the batter?

    I have made several homemade cakes lately (it's been awhile since I've baked a cake) and I was a little surprised how dense they turned out. Most of the cake recipes I have say to just put the whole egg in, but I can't figure out why else the cakes seem so dense and don't rise as much as a boxed mix. My baking soda and powder are fresh, I just tested them, so I'm thinking it's the eggs?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Falls Church, VA
    Well, there are lots of kinds of homemade cakes, many of which are supposed to be more dense than a box. There are angel food, chiffon, and genoise cakes, all of which are based on beaten egg whites and are very light and fluffy.

    Then there are butter cakes and pound cakes, and the homemade versions of them tend to be more dense (and more interesting, IMHO) than the boxed versions thereof. I think that lots of Americans grew up on boxed cakes, and accordingly, that is the standard they are shooting for. But the boxed cake is sort of an anomoly; because of the way it is chemically stablized for shelf life, it has a texture unlike any other cake. And if you love boxed cakes, make them! But homemade cakes just aren't the same as boxed cakes, just as homemade white bread is just not the same as Wonder bread.

    That said, it would be worth experimenting to see if beaten egg whites help to get the texture you are looking for in a homemade cake, without the chemicals of a box.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Ontario, Canada
    How do you measure your flour? That can make a real difference in the denseness of your baked goods. If it calls for sifted, sift; otherwise spoon and level.
    Also, it depends on the type of cake like philg said. A carrot cake is always going to be dense, as opposed to angel food. I'm not sure I'd want to use whipped egg whites in a carrot cake...or even a pound cake for that matter.
    If you really want it to rise, have you tried a stoneware pan? I always find my cakes are higher when I use my PC pans.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Ontario, Canada

    Re: Homemade Cakes

    Originally posted by lmenichel
    Do you all beat your egg whites seperately then fold them into the rest of the batter?
    Only if the recipe says so.

    Homemade cakes don't have the same texture as boxed mixes (thank goodness). That's one of the things I hate most about mix cakes -- that weird, fluffy, dissolve-y, infallibly light texture. Cake mixes are meant to rise -- they are extensively tested under challenging conditions, then chemically engineered to rise -- whether baked right or wrong, whether by a professional pastry chef or a timorous college student baking his very first time ever to impress a girlfriend.

    If it is a butter cake, a mistake many people make is not creaming the butter and sugar for long enough; the aeration of the butter is part of what makes that type of cake rise. But really, all the different types of cakes are quite different in operation, so it's hard to say for sure. Except that no home-made cake, not even a really good angel-food cake, is going to rise like a boxed mix, though they may certainly rise very nicely.

    (Cake snob? Me? Perhaps...)
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  5. #5
    Thanks everyone! I think the flour and beating may be part of the problem too, I'll have to be more careful next time. I just made a basic chocolate and a basic yellow cake and although they were much better than a boxed version (not sure I'll ever go back to a boxed cake mix again!), they were quite flat and way too dense.

    The funny thing is that everyone wanted the recipe for the cakes! They were just basic recipes, nothing exciting, but I think some people (myself included) have just gotten to used to the box versions and forgot how wonderful a homemade cake is!

    Thanks again!

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