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Explain the Wide Variation in Angel Food Cake Recipes

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Explain the Wide Variation in Angel Food Cake Recipes

Velda Mae | Jul 7, 2011 04:53 AM

I've recently surveyed several angel food cake recipes and found extremely wide variation in the amount of sugar used for the same amount of egg whites and flour. For example, three recipes use 12 egg whites but Ina Garten's recipe uses 2 c. sugar, Alton Brown's uses 1 3/4 c. sugar and Martha Stewart's uses just 1 1/4 c. sugar. Ina Garten uses 1 1/3 c. flour while both Alton Brown and Martha Stewart use 1 c. flour, respectively.

I know more sugar will yield a much sweeter cake but what other impact will it have on the final product? Will it make a more stable foam that's less likely to collapse? How will it change the texture of the cake?

Also, most recipes say to bake the cake for about 35 mins at 350 degrees but one cookbook says to bake the cake at 325 for 50 mins. My guess is that the longer, slower bake will yield a more stable cake, but please tell me if I'm wrong.

For the record, I used Martha Stewart's recipe because I wanted the least sweet cake, but I sifted half the sugar with the flour, which is what Alton and Ina do. The result was a very tasty cake with a nice texture. It wasn't rubbery at all, which I gather is a common problem among angel food cakes.

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