I have a ton of leftover egg whites from making Banana Pudding because the pudding recipe uses all egg yolks. Decided to try making angel food cupcakes with a meringue frosting to use up all those egg whites and have fun with piping frosting. Today was a bad bake day. Everything was a colossal, massive, terrible fail. I'll show you what happened and troubleshoot what went wrong. I used with Sally's Baking Addiction's Angel Food Cupcake recipe. To Sally's credit the instructions are VERY detailed about exactly what to do and what will happen if you do not do them correctly.
The one shining glimmer of joy in this failure, Butterberry looks ADORABLE AF in her glittery pink ruffle "I Scream for Ice Cream" apron. Poor thing looks a hot mess, just like these cupcakes. Her magnificent beard feathers have been pecked at and pulled out by the other chickens because she's at the bottom of the pecking order and that's how it is when you're at the bottom. Hopefully she'll molt soon and regrow her pretty feathers.
Deflated, Wrinkly Cakes
They looked great coming out of the oven but as soon as they started to cool they looked more like an octogenarian's wrinkly you-know-whats than fluffy, airy clouds. This happened for a couple possible reasons:
1. Did not sift flour into meringue. Although I did sift carefully and aerated the flour and sugar.
2. Sugar not superfine enough. I did pulse the crap out of the sugar but I used Organic Cane Sugar instead of granulated sugar like Sally instructed.
3. Overmixed? I don't think so but what do I know.
4. Cake Flour Substitute. I didn't have cake flour so I used a substitute by subbing in cornstarch for some all-purpose flour. I was lazy and didn't want to go to the store. Sally warned against this. Damn Sally for being so thorough and smart.
Meringue Frosting Soup
Meringue frosting that was supposed to resemble a fluffy marshmallow cloud instead looked like... meringue soup. I think this happened because:
1. Impatient. I did not wait for the meringue to form stiff peaks before I added the powdered pitaya (pink dragonfruit) powder and salt in. This addition before the meringue was ready likely changed the chemical composition and turned my soft peaks into soup. The egg whites refused to stiffen again.
2. Sugar syrup wrong? UGH. This was a French meringue style that required me to drizzle hot sugar syrup into the egg whites. Maybe the temp got too high because when I drizzled it in the sugar solidified and made a right mess.
I baked the meringue soup on a pan with parchment paper at 250 degrees F for 25 minutes to see what would happen. The end result had texture like nougat meets Laffy Taffy. Nougat is made with egg whites, sugar and nuts so I wasn't too far off.
Failing is Learning
If I were competing on "The Great British Bake Off" I would have totally been sent home today. One day you're flying high on the perfect Banana Pudding and the next day you're in the crapper with the worst Angel Food Cake EVER.
What did I learn?
- I took too many shortcuts and did not follow the instructions exactly.
- Egg white chemistry is temperamental. Don't f with it if you want it right.
- Nougat is something I should try to make next time I have too many egg whites.
This is what Butterberry thought of the whole thing:
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