Friday, 23 August 2013

Great British Bake Off Challenge - Week 1 - Angel Food Cake

Last year Gemma at Iced Gem Bakes managed to not only produce wonderful gluten and dairy free alternatives to all the technical challenges, but did it within days of the programme going to air! This year she has challenged me to a bake off to try milk, egg, wheat and soya free. As she's a professional chef, I think she has a bit of an unfair advantage, but lets see what happens... 

Seeing the first technical challenge of the year - Angel Food Cake, I thought 'that's it, there's no way I can make a cake whose whole basis of it's volume and lightness is from stiffly whisked egg whites'! But I didn't want to fall at the first hurdle.

Trying to find a recipe to adapt, I was amazed by the site that claimed 42 vegan Angel Food Cake recipes, that only gave vegan additions to your already baked (non-vegan) cake!

After discounting a couple of other vegan ones, I decided just to look for a basic recipe. Up popped Martha Stewart (is she the American Delia?)! This recipe called for 12 egg whites. Am I mad to even try?

It's raining, it's still school holidays and I have the day off work, the kids are playing nicely (for a change - bit suspicious really...) so here goes...

I made half quantity, as I wasn't sure it would work and didn't want to waste lots of ingredients, so knew it wouldn't be as deep as a traditional one (but then, egg and wheat free cake never is!).

Thanks to the joy of Twitter, I know Gemma had a go with Orgran Egg Replacer and ended up with marshmallow, so I started with EnerG Egg Replacer (if this doesn't work, I'll pull out all the stops and dig out my tin of SHS Loprofin Egg White Replacer - not using this first, as less easy for people to get hold of as only available on prescription).

Starting with what the pack says is the equivalent of 6 egg whites (25g powder and 90mls water), I started to whisk slowly to combine and then as it starting to thicken, increased the speed on the whisk. I then had the volume of what looked like about 2 beaten eggs... 

Bunged in another 25g of powder and 90mls water and re whisked. Looked bit better, but still not going to have the volume... 

Carried on with the recipe anyway and was pleasantly surprised with the results. I may even try whisked egg replacer to add lightness to some other cakes.


50g EnerG Egg Replacer
180mls water
3/4 cup Caster Sugar
1/2 cup Gluten Free Self Raising Flour*
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 tsp Vanilla Paste (or extract)
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum

*If you don't need it to be wheat free, just use Self Raising flour and don't add the Xanthan Gum

Put egg replacer and water in a bowl, whisk slowly until beginning to froth and any lumps have gone.

Increase speed and whisk until thick (between soft peak and ribbon stage, you won't get stiff peaks) - this will take several minutes, so be patient.

Slowly add the sugar (about a tablespoon at a time) and continue to whisk.

When all the sugar is added, whisk in the vanilla.

Sieve in the dry ingredients (in about 3 batches) and fold into the egg replacer with a spatula or metal spoon. Try to be gentle to keep in as much air as possible.

Put into a tin (don't grease it) and bake at 180Âșc for 35-40mins, until firm but springy to the touch.

Cool in the tin, with it turned upside down (it will slide out of tin as it cools).

Husband and Fussy Five loved this, Mini Monster wouldn't even try it (seems to be off cake at the moment!). I could taste the egg replacer, so may add a little more vanilla next time, or I did see one recipe with almond extract, or maybe orange zest...

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