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Old 07-01-2017, 03:22 PM
 
Location: equator
3,410 posts, read 1,523,023 times
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This is about my 5th experiment with angel-food cake. My other recipes leave me with lots of egg whites, and those around me seem to really like angel-food cake, so I am determined to master it.


So far, my best attempts have resulted in only half-risen cakes. Not the height of the pan.


I've watched several how-to videos on the subject, but there are so many scientific variables in succeeding with egg whites. So now I'm looking for some anecdotal info.


One problem is, the sugar here in very coarse. No "superfine" or even "fine". Could I substitute powdered sugar, which we do have? I can't get "cake flour" either, could this be a contributing factor?


My beaten egg whites ARE reaching the "firm peaks" stage, so not sure what's the problem....
I DID read you should not use a non-stick pan, which is all I have....


Any advice appreciated.
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Old 07-01-2017, 03:27 PM
 
Location: S. FL (hell for me-wife loves it)
3,172 posts, read 1,984,237 times
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Cake flour is nothing more than 1 cup flour minus 2 tablespoons. Replace the 2 tablespoons with cornstarch.
Sift well.
What is your elevation? That has a lot to do with baking. Are you sure not to walk (heavily) or bang something hard
while the cake is rising in oven? That can cause one to fall. I am sure there are many other factors here, including the non-stick pan.
As for the sugar type substitution, I will leave that to others with more experience in this matter.
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Old 07-01-2017, 05:03 PM
 
Location: North Idaho
22,653 posts, read 28,672,666 times
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I don't know what you are doing wrong, but you need an angel food cake pan, and then the cake cools upside down. My mother used to place the cake pan over the neck of a coke bottle so it was held up off the counter top for air circulation.

My guess is that you are not folding the flour in gently enough. You want to get that flour mixed in without knocking any of the air out of the eggs.
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Old 07-01-2017, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
11,072 posts, read 17,546,328 times
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I'm not even close to an angel food cake expert, but I can tell you a couple of things.

Cake flour has less protein than all-purpose flour (bread flour has more), which makes it behave differently. I think somebody already posted thiis, but here's a link on making cake flour: http://www.food.com/recipe/cake-flour-substitute-87689

If you have a food processor, you could make your sugar finer.
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Old 07-01-2017, 07:10 PM
 
Location: North Oakland
9,155 posts, read 8,662,185 times
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Are you beating your egg whites in an extremely clean bowl, i.e., one that has no fat in it, say from egg yolks, or the bowl not being completely clean?

Are there any traces of yolk in your egg whites?
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Old 07-02-2017, 11:05 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, USVI - Seattle, WA - Gulf Coast, TX
811 posts, read 729,770 times
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Your non-stick pan is everything!! You can NOT use a non-stick pan with angel food cake. It seems silly, but it's totally true. The cake needs to be able to adhere to the pan as it cooks, both in order to properly rise, and in order to not fall as it cools. Plain and simple, the non-stick cake pan is doing you in!!

As for the other factors, no your courser sugar is not a problem as long as your meringue is turning out fine (sounds like it is). If you're forming stiff peaks and a cohesive meringue, then your course sugar is dissolving just fine.

The type of flour is not an issue whatsoever, either. In fact, using AP flour will make a cake sturdier and less likely to fall. Cake flour is lower in protein, causing it to form less gluten, making the end product more tender. If anything, cake flour is more delicate and more likely to have rise and fall problems.

The only other possibility, aside from the pan, is regarding how you incorporate the flour into your meringue. Is your hard work to inflate those egg whites all for not because you're deflating them when you add the flour? You have to fold it in very carefully, not deflating all of the air that you've worked so hard to get in there. Start by adding a small amount of the flour and mixing/folding it in (roughly 1/5-1/4 of your dry ingredients) until it's fully incorporated. Then add the rest and incorporate it completely, but carefully. If you lose volume, then that is your answer. You need to have those air bubbles in the batter!!

Other than that thought, it's the pan. I'm telling you, with full confidence.
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Old 07-03-2017, 12:34 AM
 
Location: South Bay Native
13,382 posts, read 21,932,788 times
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If there is even a trace of yolk in your whites, that could be it. If there is a trace of grease or oil in the bowl in which you are beating the whites, that could also be it. Do you grease and flour your pan before pouring in the cake batter? That is a big no-no. Cake flour is preferable, and it needs to be sifted three times before measuring - super super light is the goal here.
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Old 07-03-2017, 06:39 AM
 
Location: Boston
3,732 posts, read 1,468,376 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
This is about my 5th experiment with angel-food cake. My other recipes leave me with lots of egg whites, and those around me seem to really like angel-food cake, so I am determined to master it.


So far, my best attempts have resulted in only half-risen cakes. Not the height of the pan.


I've watched several how-to videos on the subject, but there are so many scientific variables in succeeding with egg whites. So now I'm looking for some anecdotal info.


One problem is, the sugar here in very coarse. No "superfine" or even "fine". Could I substitute powdered sugar, which we do have? I can't get "cake flour" either, could this be a contributing factor?


My beaten egg whites ARE reaching the "firm peaks" stage, so not sure what's the problem....
I DID read you should not use a non-stick pan, which is all I have....


Any advice appreciated.
No you can't use powdered sugar, it contains corn starch.
Regular sugar is perfectly ok, it will all dissolve anyway.

Get cake flour, it does make a difference in volume.

Look for the brands Swans Down or Soft as Silk. Both can be found at walmart.
Some boxes don't say cake flour but it is.

Keep going with the egg whites til they're very stiff.
Make sure the oven isn't on the cool side. Invert when baked, we put them on top of bottle.
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Old 07-03-2017, 06:48 AM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
37,088 posts, read 45,594,679 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DontH8Me View Post
If there is even a trace of yolk in your whites, that could be it. If there is a trace of grease or oil in the bowl in which you are beating the whites, that could also be it. Do you grease and flour your pan before pouring in the cake batter? That is a big no-no. Cake flour is preferable, and it needs to be sifted three times before measuring - super super light is the goal here.
Her egg whites are beating fine, so it isnt that.

I'll admit that I find angel cake mixes perfectly acceptable, so that's what I use, and they come out perfect.
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Old 07-03-2017, 01:22 PM
 
Location: equator
3,410 posts, read 1,523,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IslandCityGirl View Post
Your non-stick pan is everything!! You can NOT use a non-stick pan with angel food cake. It seems silly, but it's totally true. The cake needs to be able to adhere to the pan as it cooks, both in order to properly rise, and in order to not fall as it cools. Plain and simple, the non-stick cake pan is doing you in!!

As for the other factors, no your courser sugar is not a problem as long as your meringue is turning out fine (sounds like it is). If you're forming stiff peaks and a cohesive meringue, then your course sugar is dissolving just fine.

The type of flour is not an issue whatsoever, either. In fact, using AP flour will make a cake sturdier and less likely to fall. Cake flour is lower in protein, causing it to form less gluten, making the end product more tender. If anything, cake flour is more delicate and more likely to have rise and fall problems.

The only other possibility, aside from the pan, is regarding how you incorporate the flour into your meringue. Is your hard work to inflate those egg whites all for not because you're deflating them when you add the flour? You have to fold it in very carefully, not deflating all of the air that you've worked so hard to get in there. Start by adding a small amount of the flour and mixing/folding it in (roughly 1/5-1/4 of your dry ingredients) until it's fully incorporated. Then add the rest and incorporate it completely, but carefully. If you lose volume, then that is your answer. You need to have those air bubbles in the batter!!

Other than that thought, it's the pan. I'm telling you, with full confidence.

THANKS, Island Girl! I think it must be the pan. But isn't it ODD that a non-stick angel-food cake pan would even be SOLD! I did learn that on "Martha Stewart's" video with that cute gay guy. Yes, I am VERY careful to be gentle when incorporating the flour.


I'm glad to hear not having cake flour is not a major issue. And that only having coarse sugar is also not a deal-breaker. I was pretty sure powdered sugar would not work....so thanks for that input.


I see you are on the Gulf Coast. A year ago, I made a very successful angel-food cake there with a borrowed aluminum "stick" pan and my first attempt rose just fine. So I think you are right-on with the non-stick pan. Who knew! I'll never find one here though....


We are sea-level, btw. Had a huge 6.0 earthquake the other day, so that would have felled my cake, but I did it later. However, there might have been minor aftershocks I didn't feel, but maybe the cake did!
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