Lemon Angel Food Cake – Beating the Egg Whites

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,203
    Chef Karen Stiegler demonstrates beating the egg whites for a lemon angel food cake.

    Karen Stiegler: Hi! My name is Karen Stiegler, and today I am here talking to you about Healthy Baking and showing you how to make a fat free Lemon Angel Food Cake. Right now, we will beat the egg whites, and one of the things I wanted to remind you about when you are separating your eggs, you want to separate them in cold, it will work better for the egg white to stay together. But then you want to use them at room temperature which we are just about to do.

    So just separate them and then let them come to room temperature a little bit in advance. So we have our egg whites here and we have our mixer. And I wanted to show you I have a couple of different mixers. This is a stand mixer which I happen to have but you don't have to have one of these. This is a hand mixer, so you can also use one of these. A lot of people have these at home. It will just take a little longer with the hand mixer than with the stand but it works perfectly fine, totally the same. And the other thing is you want to have these beaters, or you want to have this whisk attachment on your mixer, not the big white heavy beater.

    So in order to beat the egg whites, we want to have an impeccably clean bowl. We want to just wash this with hot soapy water and wipe it dry and make sure your towel doesn't have any grease on it because once again we don't want to get any grease into the egg whites. One thing you could do is you can take a lemon and you can just rub it around the inside of the bowl and that will help eliminate grease. You could take a little bit of vinegar and put it on a paper towel and wipe that as well; all those things work. And also make sure the whisk of course is clean as well, okay.

    So we are going to pour our egg whites in, a-cup-and-half of egg whites and then I am just going to start this mixer, a kind of a low to medium speed. And I want to just break up the egg whites and get them going until they are foamy, this doesn't take very long. Okay, so we've just put our mixer on medium speed and gotten it tell the egg whites are foamy. And now we are going to add our cream of tartar and our salt, okay. So there goes our salt and cream of tartar; it's going to help the egg whites beat-up to their full amount. It also lightens the cake in this case, for Angel Food Cakes but there is a chemical reaction that goes on between the proteins and the eggs and the cream of tartar. Cream of tartar comes from the wine making process. It's like tartaric acid actually. So that's why we use it. Other things that are sometimes used to make egg whites beat up properly, you can add a drop of lemon juice, you can add a drop of vinegar, a pinch of salt. So salt is going to help us too, and then also once we add the sugar, that's going to help stabilize the egg whites as well. So I am going to get this going, adding my cream of tartar and then I want to turn it up, it's at full speed. Now if you are using this stand mixer, it goes really quickly. If you are using the hand mixer, it takes a little bit longer. So with the stand mixer, don't step away for too long and leave it. And the first time you do this you want to keep stopping it and checking it and making sure everything is okay. So we are going to beat it to soft peak first and then we are going to add in our sugar. Okay, so I am just going to check the mixer now to see if it's at soft peak, and it looks like it is. You want to actually beat the egg whites until the peak just falls over. So we are going to close the mixture again and turn it on low, and we are going to gradually add our sugar in, okay. If we added all our sugar at once, it might be a little bit heavy and deflate the whites and the lift we have already got now out of the whites. So we are just going to add this gradually, and it's going to start getting thick and glossy and velvety and have a really nice shiny texture to it. So now that all my sugar is in, I can get it going. Okay, so I am going to stop and check my egg whites to make sure they are fully beat, and you can see that it has a stiff peak there. So that is how we beat the egg whites. And next, we are going to flavor the cake and we are going to add in the dry ingredients.