Thursday, 14 May 2015

Egg White Layer Cake


I am always amazed how anyone has the patience to bake a layer cake. A well known layer cake would be the Indonesian Kueh Lapis or better know as Kek Lapis Legit. Nope, I am never going to bake a layer cake.

But one day while rummaging through my freezer, I found these.


Alamak! No wonder lah I couldn't find my containers. All along they were in the freezer. Doing what? Housing frozen egg whites. And these were not all. I found a few more. In case you are wondering, these egg whites came about due to recipes which require only egg yolks or more egg yolks than egg whites. Not one to waste, I kept the unused egg whites.


A few days prior, I spotted a recipe for Egg White Layer Cake in the cookbook Thinking Out of the Shell. The recipes calls for 12 egg whites. But I had no idea how many egg whites I had. Some containers could have contained only one while others may have two or three or four. That's when I realized that recipes that call for eggs by weight rather than number would have been helpful in this instance. Yes, I admit I hate those recipes because I always think "Who the heck weighs eggs???" and I wish they would say how many eggs instead. But now I know. Sorry for being a hater.


So I had to take a chance and I used my astounding perceptive skills to guess that all my egg whites, when added together made up 12 eggs whites hah..hah..hah... Yeah, genius auntie. Genius!

The recipe appeared simple but when I read the method, I knew that this one (just like the previous recipe I attempted) also requires you to have some prior knowledge/basic instincts about preparing the batter. But never mind. I was feeling brave and reckless.


I went ahead and whisked the whole lot of egg whites. The recipe said to beat to medium peaks and I had no idea what that was. I only know soft peaks and stiff peaks. So I guessed that medium must be somewhere in between. Yeah. Another spot of genius. The mixture beat up to quite a poofy volume and that's when I realised I might have more than 12 egg whites. But I was fearless, remember? So I trooped on.


Then it said - add coconut milk, salt, sifted flour and baking powder. Lastly fold in melted butter and vanilla essence. Sounds easy and straightforward right? But do you add all that while beating the egg whites or do you fold it in using a spatula? Since my mixing bowl was 95% full, I decided to fold the rest of the ingredients using a spatula. 

After all that was done, I had to divide the batter into three equal portions as the layers are made with 3 colours - red, yellow and green. The professionals and the more meticulous among home bakers would weigh the batter to make sure that they get 3 equal portions. But not this auntie. Again. Genius. I eyeballed the amounts.


Once the batter is in place, you had to ladle the batter to make a thin layer and bake the cake layer by layer. Again, the proper thing to do is to use a ladle and measure how many ladles make up a layer. But you know me, right? hee..hee... So there I was layering and baking, running in and out of the kitchen every 8 minutes or so. I was quite clumsy and spilled my batter. I even managed to spill some on the cookbook.


I ran out of yellow batter and had to make do with just red and green. My bohemian methods were not so genius after all. But hey, I had enough batter to work with so maybe, just maybe there were 12 egg whites in there after all. 


Finally, I finished with the green layer. It was not that bad after all. I think after this I can attempt a kueh lapis. Now, the moment of truth. Did I get my layers right? Yes, I did though they were not even. And most important of all, did the cake taste good?


The cake has a springy rubbery texture. I think I may have overbaked it or overmixed the batter. I expect that this cake should have a sponge-cake like texture, no? I really don't know because I have never eaten this cake before. The sweetness of the cake is just nice because I reduced the sugar but I recommend that you follow the original amount. It should have a sweeter taste. If possible, use fresh santan because I found that the packet one does not have enough aroma. With the benefit of hindsight, instead of butter, I could have used coconut oil instead. That would have given me a better coconut aroma.


Though I was not happy with the taste and texture of this cake, I was glad that I baked it because now I know what it is like to bake a layer cake. Consider this a trial run to my impending Kueh Lapis Legit. Yeah!










Egg White Layer Cake
Recipe source : Thinking Out of the Shell (page 57)
(My notes and adaptations in red)

Ingredients :
- 12 egg whites
- 3/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 230g caster sugar
- 1/4 tsp
- 175g low proten flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 120g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp vanilla essence (I used pandan essence)

Colouring :
- 1 drop cherry red color
- 1 drop egg yellow color
- 1 drop apple green color

Method :
1. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy, gradually add in castor sugar and continue whisking to medium peaks.
2. Add in coconut milk, salt, sifted low protein flour and baking powder. Lastly fold in melted butter and vanilla essence.
3. Divide egg white mixture into three portions and mix three different colors into each portion.
4. Preheat oven to 180C (I used 160C), pour first layer of batter into a pan lined with parchment paper (I used an 8" x 8" square pan lined with baking paper). Bake for 5-8 minutes or until cooked (I baked for 8 minutes).
5. For the second layer, increase temperature to 200C (I used 180C), pour in batter and bake for 5-8 minutes (Mine took slightly more than 5 minutes. You have to keep checking and not overbake).
6. Alternate the batter with different colors until you reach the last layer, decrease temperature to 180C (I used 160C) and bake for 15 minutes.




This post is also linked to Cook-Your-Books #23 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

67 comments:

  1. Morning Phong Hong, your first picture looks so pretty already.. Look at those colourful layered cakes, I can smell the pandan and santan from here.. Oh, you freeze egg whites? Clever girl, I thought people will just throw away the whites.. Eh, use the egg whites to make whipped cream also can rite.. But you are so hardworking to make layered cakes, and have to divide the batter into 3 colours somemore, rajin la you !!

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    1. Hi Louiz! I do agree that the colours and layers are pretty but alas, not that good in texture and taste. Maybe I should try it one more time when I have enough egg whites.

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  2. your layered cake looks very nice & perfectly done. The kids would love the cake.

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  3. when I saw the title of this post from my blogroll, I did not expect something like what I am seeing.. hehe!! don't get me wrong, because I saw the word "white" and it came out to be so colorful.. red yellow green the colors of a traffic light, and you have got three sets of them making it a 9 layer.. that's exactly the number of layers for what we commonly called "9 tin kueh" right?? but I thought those outside are not all 9 layers, probably just 7..

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    1. Got 9 layers kah? You actually counted? hee..hee..

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  4. I like the color of this kueh leh, makes them look so appetizing and attractive.. and yes, I always wondered how they bake the layers and when I knew, I am still not convinced they have to bake layers by layers.. yours just three colors I bet you baked only three times?? or you did it 9 times since you have 9 layers?? so those with more colors and layers would actually take one whole day?? especially those that comes with extra patterns..

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    1. I was a bit panicky and didn't even notice how many times I baked. I just go in and out of the kitchen until all my batter was used up. This one I think is much faster than the Indonesian layer cake because that one has many thin layers.

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  5. so it wasn't too bad for you and we will be seeing more kuih lapis from you, one getting more "advanced" than the other?? haha.. hmm, suddenly I have Mille crepe in my mind, which one is easier to make?? and I don't remember seeing you baking one too, hehehe!!! :p

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    1. Mille crepe maybe if got mood I will try lah. But I doubt it hee..hee...

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  6. Nice cake and good efforts. I think you can also use the egg white to cook with the almond milk like those Hong Kong desserts.

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    1. Sem, I must explore that possibility!

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  7. No leh, I don't think layer cake are supposed to be as soft as sponge cake, so maybe you got it right...

    I won't even suggest that I might try this. Probably never will. This is too much for Lazy Man to deal with! >.<

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    1. I can't imagine Lazy Man baking this cake. It would most likely be just an egg white cake with one colour only hee..hee...

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  8. mmm so yummy leh the cake.

    good idea to freeze the eggs whites. not to waste.

    ahem....bak chang festival coming...any idea how to use the egg whites from the salted eggs? kinda waste

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  9. I think the taste and texture is supposed to be like a sponge or chiffon cake. I'm also not sure but your layers were done beautifully though irrespective of the taste.

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    1. Thanks, Kris! At least I experienced what it is like to bake a layer cake :)

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  10. But those layer cakes that I've eaten - Indonesian, Sarawak... they don't have those sponge /chiffon texture but rather more dense.

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    1. I must sample one slice to check!

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  11. Hi Phong Hong,
    I guess this cake is suitable for those who have just baked the Kuih Lapis to use up all the egg whites. And this Egg white layer cake is the healthy version?

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    1. Mel, the recipe did mention that this is to use up egg whites from the Kuih Lapis. Most would regard this as healthier because got no egg yolks.

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  12. If me, i got no patient in doing it...

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  13. So your patience paid off... Layer after layer and running up and down every 8 minutes..and ta da... your cake is so beautifully baked... Ok, next time try the kueh lapis... Phong Hong Boleh!!

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    1. Thank you, Claire! Watch out for my kuih lapis!

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  14. I bet this tastes super good. And the colours do blend well... efforts paid off handsomely!

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    1. Cheah, it was not good though it looks pretty. Had I followed the recipe properly, it would have turned out lots better.

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  15. So yummy and colourful looking kuehs! I love them. I thought they had sticky textures like kueh talam but yours looked spongy and nice.

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    1. TM, it was actually a bit hard :(

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  16. Very like and healthy dessert!

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  17. What a beauty! Your cake is so attractive, with the colourful layers, Phong Hong.

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    1. Thank you, Veronica! I love the colourful layers too :)

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  18. Hi Phong Hong, a very colourful cake indeed. I baked Indonesian layer cake and cream crackers layer cake when I was in my twenties. By middle age, I stopped cos' I realised these cakes contains too much fats and egg yolks. Imagine 30 egg yolks and 750 gm golden churn butter in a 10" Indonesian layer cake [the good recipe I had]. Not really that healthy for my family. Maybe baking one with egg whites would be good, hehehe!

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    1. Hi Kimmy! Another reason why I never attempted Indonesian layer cake is because of the number of eggs and huge amount of good butter. Imagine, if my cake failed, I lost 30 eggs and 750g of expensive Golden Churn butter!

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  19. Ha ha ! Phong Hong, looks like your freezer is 'overloaded' cos all these small containers hidden well inside.
    Like your "brave and reckless" ... yes sometimes we need to 'ga ga cheong'! This layer cake of yours looked evenly layered. Nice and pretty colours too. If I were to bake this, it may turn out like the Topo Map Love Cake ... curvy and unevenly layered ... hee hee.
    So, your Kueh Lapis is akan datang ? I'm looking forward to that. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Hi Karen! Well, I hope that I will have the same courage and patience to bake the Indonesian Layer cake. That one uses so many eggs and so much butter, I am scared to waste the ingredients of I mess up!

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  20. Hi Phong Hong,
    Such a pretty looking cake! I have never attempted to bake kuih lapis before, simply because I am not a fan of baked kuih lapis. But I am always fascinated by our blogger friends who has the patience to bake it so perfectly with beautiful results!
    Luckily I have no more frozen egg whites in my freezer!
    Looking forward to your kuih lapis soon! :)

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    1. Hi Joyce! Well, I might chicken out hah..hah... But I will bake it one day just for the experience. I really can't remember how the Indonesian layer cake taste like but I remember that I liked it.

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  21. Wow!Very colourful and evenly layered cake!!!! Well done, Phong hong!

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  22. Phong Hong, the cake is very attractive and the layers are done beautifully. And you managed to use up all the egg whites in your freezer.

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    1. Thank you, Nancy! Yes, no more egg whites in my freezer :)

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  23. Lovely and happy looking cake. I am more curious about the springy texture. By right, it should be such with low protein flour so this is a mystery waiting to be solved.

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    1. Hmm...it begs a second attempt to reconfirm :)

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  24. Very colourful cake. Children would love to eat them. Springy rubbery texture? I wonder how that feels like. So did you eat all the cakes or gave them away since they are so pretty. I hope they did not end up in the bin.

    Have to salute you for having so much patience to bake it layer by layer.

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    1. Mun, I ate some and threw away the rest as I felt it was not good enough to be given away :(

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    2. Oh no! :o I suspect you would bin it because your standard of cakes is so high! Give me! Give me next time!

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  25. Hi Phong Hong, these layer cake is so pretty.. I wouldn't have the determination to try baking one yet. Kudos to you ;)

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    1. Hi Mimi! I am sure you can do better than me!

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  26. wah ... so colourful!!! I want!

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    1. Chris, no more already hee..hee..

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  27. WOW... this layer cake looks so perfect with the colourful layers! Perfectly done!!

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    1. Thanks, Ann! If only it tasted as beautiful as it looks :(

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  28. Great work PH, no browning even for the top layer? I think I have this cookbook, how come I didn't notice this recipe before? hmmm...must be too much work and I skipped it lol! I must say, you are quite good at eye balling, your looks lovely!

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    1. Hi Jeannie! Ya hor...if I remember correctly the one on the book was with brown top, hee..hee...

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  29. good morning! despite you eyeballing only here and there, the layers turned out very pretty to me. 1 egg white ( size A ) is ard 35gm, next time just agak2 from there ya :)) have a good weekend

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    1. Hi Lena! Thanks for the info. Now easier for me to eyeball even more :D

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  30. I used to like u,can't find my container. I remember I bought many of them,one day found that all in my fridge with my ingredients hahaha...
    Thus layer cake too pretty to eat...again..😁

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    1. hah..hah...must check our fridge more often, Fion!

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  31. These layer cakes are so beautiful. Awesome bake Phong Hong.

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