Baking Science

Published on June 24th, 2018 | by Ultimate OmNoms

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Baking tip: Soft peaks vs stiff peaks

Recipes are fantastic. But without prior knowledge, you can only follow a recipe with compliance and hold your breath until the cake is out of the oven.

One of the interesting things, should you choose to think about it, is the difference between stiff and soft peaks. Many recipes like my favourite sponge cakecall for egg whites to be beaten to soft peaks.

I have written about this briefly to explain why spongecakes can turn out dry. Temperature aside, egg whites can be one of the reasons!

Chiffon cakes are beaten to stiff peaks. This creates large stiff air pockets trapped inside the egg whites. It is often called meringue when the egg whites can stand by itself. The resulting cake texture is drier but gives a stronger body to the cake.

From my experience, soft peaks lead to a more moist crumb. Moist. As much as some people may hate the word, the cake just tastes so much better. Egg whites beaten with sugar creates smaller air pockets. As you gently fold the soft meringue into batter, the air pockets will give the cake structure, but not as stable as cakes made with stiff egg whites. Combined with a lower temperature, the resulting touch is a moist, spongy and cottony texture that I prefer.

Knowing the difference between the textures now, do you prefer chiffon cakes or sponge cakes? Share with me your magical creations!

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