Questions about folding


Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
251
Reaction score
117
When folding one mixture into another where one has whipped air (whether whipped cream or an egg foam), when is it better to use a spatula vs. a whisk? I've seen it said that a balloon whisk is the best tool to use for folding, and have also seen people use a slotted skimmer/spider when folding flour into a biscuit cake batter. However, I've also seen cases where recipes from the same person will instruct using a whisk to fold for one recipe, but a spatula to fold for another recipe. I've also seen recipes that instruct to start folding with a whisk but finish with a spatula.

So I assume that neither tool is objectively superior than another at retaining volume when folding. But when do you know when you should use which tool?

Another related question I had was about folding a meringue into a cake batter. I know for mousses, it's recommended to whip your cream and egg whites (if using) only to soft peaks, not medium or stiff, before folding it into the mousse base. For example, the Valrhona website says that they are lighter, more stable, and easier to combine into the rest of the ingredients when only whipped to soft peaks. Additionally, the process of folding them in will continue working them too.

But when a cake recipe involves a meringue folded in, I see almost all recipes say to whip the meringue to stiff peaks. Cake batters are of course generally much thicker than mousse bases, so I understand that you may want the egg whites whipped a bit stiffer than soft peaks to match the consistencies of the two mixtures and make it easier to fold in. But still, wouldn't medium peaks maybe be better to ensure the egg whites remain at a good volume and don't collapse or become overworked?
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
3,611
Reaction score
1,910
When folding one mixture into another where one has whipped air (whether whipped cream or an egg foam), when is it better to use a spatula vs. a whisk? I've seen it said that a balloon whisk is the best tool to use for folding, and have also seen people use a slotted skimmer/spider when folding flour into a biscuit cake batter. However, I've also seen cases where recipes from the same person will instruct using a whisk to fold for one recipe, but a spatula to fold for another recipe. I've also seen recipes that instruct to start folding with a whisk but finish with a spatula.

So I assume that neither tool is objectively superior than another at retaining volume when folding. But when do you know when you should use which tool?

Another related question I had was about folding a meringue into a cake batter. I know for mousses, it's recommended to whip your cream and egg whites (if using) only to soft peaks, not medium or stiff, before folding it into the mousse base. For example, the Valrhona website says that they are lighter, more stable, and easier to combine into the rest of the ingredients when only whipped to soft peaks. Additionally, the process of folding them in will continue working them too.

But when a cake recipe involves a meringue folded in, I see almost all recipes say to whip the meringue to stiff peaks. Cake batters are of course generally much thicker than mousse bases, so I understand that you may want the egg whites whipped a bit stiffer than soft peaks to match the consistencies of the two mixtures and make it easier to fold in. But still, wouldn't medium peaks maybe be better to ensure the egg whites remain at a good volume and don't collapse or become overworked?
@Cahoot
1. FOLDING: folding tool: YES to the balloon whisk. Chiffon cake is my standard cake; has been for some years. Not only do I use a balloon whisk but I am really picky about the type of balloon whisk.

@doughytard, we’ve been talking about chiffon cake in off line discussions. I know my personal instructions in are quite vague:) I think gave detailed instructions in the posted recipes on folding. if I did not mention using a balloon whisk, you should definitely use one.

2. TECHNIQUE: The description in the article for folding is also correct. And that is very important. It’s not just the tool, but the technique.

3. MERINGUE: The stage of meringue depends on the type of cake. Angel food cake will is soft peak. Chiffon cake absolutely stiff peak. Biscuit can be a bit complicated because you’re working with different starches and nut meal blends. you’re working with just a pure starch, and it’s not getting complicated with any other ingredients, a medium stiff peak is fine. what’s most important is your meringue is stabilized with some type of acid, and that you whip your egg whites properly. you you and I have discussed the proper beating of eggs whites in other threads, why you beat at a gradual speed and work up to a higher speed; add the cream of tartar after 30 sec; then gradually add the sugar. When you have a stable meringue, and you use proper folding technique, your cake shouldn’t collapse.


Balloon whisks come in a lot of shapes and sizes
F063726A-BC36-4384-A569-2B99BACE8D99.jpeg



These are the ones I prefer for folding meringue. It’s 14 wires. That’s a 8” chef knife for comparison
5E2C892F-3E30-4D47-ACE7-4C666ECDB01D.jpeg


The wires are not too thick, so they’re somewhat flexible
FB5DBB6D-D17B-4097-9C91-B628EE091A2A.jpeg


compared to one of my heavy duty whisks on the right
28639889-1F1D-43C0-B37B-EF77746AB1A6.jpeg


Compared to a whisk with similar weight wires, but more wires on the right
D524FB96-4454-4532-985C-1860A86FDB44.jpeg
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
251
Reaction score
117
@Cahoot
1. FOLDING: folding tool: YES to the balloon whisk. Chiffon cake is my standard cake; has been for some years. Not only do I use a balloon whisk but I am really picky about the type of balloon whisk.

@doughytard, we’ve been talking about chiffon cake in off line discussions. I know my personal instructions in are quite vague:) I think gave detailed instructions in the posted recipes on folding. if I did not mention using a balloon whisk, you should definitely use one.

2. TECHNIQUE: The description in the article for folding is also correct. And that is very important. It’s not just the tool, but the technique.

3. MERINGUE: The stage of meringue depends on the type of cake. Angel food cake will is soft peak. Chiffon cake absolutely stiff peak. Biscuit can be a bit complicated because you’re working with different starches and nut meal blends. you’re working with just a pure starch, and it’s not getting complicated with any other ingredients, a medium stiff peak is fine. what’s most important is your meringue is stabilized with some type of acid, and that you whip your egg whites properly. you you and I have discussed the proper beating of eggs whites in other threads, why you beat at a gradual speed and work up to a higher speed; add the cream of tartar after 30 sec; then gradually add the sugar. When you have a stable meringue, and you use proper folding technique, your cake shouldn’t collapse.


Balloon whisks come in a lot of shapes and sizes
View attachment 3971


These are the ones I prefer for folding meringue. It’s 14 wires. That’s a 8” chef knife for comparison
View attachment 3972

The wires are not too thick, so they’re somewhat flexible
View attachment 3973

compared to one of my heavy duty whisks on the right
View attachment 3974

Compared to a whisk with similar weight wires, but more wires on the right
View attachment 3975
Ah good to know! I have a copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum's Rose's Baking Basics, so I went to reference her recipes that involve folding since she's a very meticulous and precise baker, and I assume every technique in a recipe is there for a reason.

I found that for many of the egg foam cakes in the book, she actually just recommends folding in with the stand mixer whisk attachment that you use for whipping the eggs in the first place. That does seem to match your preferred type of balloon whisk too - those whisk attachments generally only have 6 or 11 wires spaced well apart, and the wires aren't too thick either. I noticed that for most of the recipes, she also instructs to finish folding with a rubber spatula. I assume this is to incorporate flour on the sides/bottom of the bowl that a whisk has trouble reaching.

But curiously about the stiffness of meringue peaks, her recipe for angel food cake actually specifically calls for beating to very stiff peaks. The recipe is also on her blog for reference. Seems weird that it's on the very other end of the spectrum since most recipes (including what you say) call for just beating to soft peaks.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
3,611
Reaction score
1,910
Ah good to know! I have a copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum's Rose's Baking Basics, so I went to reference her recipes that involve folding since she's a very meticulous and precise baker, and I assume every technique in a recipe is there for a reason.

I found that for many of the egg foam cakes in the book, she actually just recommends folding in with the stand mixer whisk attachment that you use for whipping the eggs in the first place. That does seem to match your preferred type of balloon whisk too - those whisk attachments generally only have 6 or 11 wires spaced well apart, and the wires aren't too thick either. I noticed that for most of the recipes, she also instructs to finish folding with a rubber spatula. I assume this is to incorporate flour on the sides/bottom of the bowl that a whisk has trouble reaching.

But curiously about the stiffness of meringue peaks, her recipe for angel food cake actually specifically calls for beating to very stiff peaks. The recipe is also on her blog for reference. Seems weird that it's on the very other end of the spectrum since most recipes (including what you say) call for just beating to soft peaks.

There’s a couple of types of balloon whisk. A French whisk will be more oblong and narrow in shape. That’s more suited for sauce making since it fits better in a saucepan. Flat whisk is used for roux and sauces since it doesn’t aerate. The spring whisk is for cocktail making. And to be honest I don’t know what the ball whisk is used for. I’ve never owned one.

Well every baker has their way of doing things. If Rose Levy Rosebaum wants to use her mixer, she is free to do so. In my opinion, she is not a great cake baker. She’s never had any professional training. People don’t bother to look at the quality of her work—which is really sub-standard. She published a book at a time when no one really looked at credentials. She’s been baking really crappy cake for 30 years, yet people continue to rave about her as if she is a master pastry chef.


Rose Levy Rosebaum’s white cake. This cake is definitely over baked, you can tell because the bottom has a thick crust. and the splotches on the top indicate the batter was not properly emulsified. The sloping edge means the cake has a structural issue. With the splotches and that sloping on the side she may have too much sugar in the formula. and even though the side of the cake is nice and white, which it should be, it looks very dry. This is from a 2019 blog post

E4D4BD1A-90A3-43BA-BE53-211077F3D716.jpeg


Rose Levy Rosebaum Downy Yellow Cake I don’t even know where to begin with this hot mess. She used a baking strip, yet still domed and cracked. The cake is over baked. The cake is in the tin, so I don’t know if the un-even sides are from excessive heat or too much sugar. That thick lumpy crust indicates the batter formula is high in fat and not properly emulsified. This is posted on the same 2019 post. So in 30 some years she still hasn’t gone to bake a cake.
DBA7B1B6-FDA8-46EC-971C-2191FBD3DDAB.jpeg











======================================================================================
======================================================================================

my cake before the top crust is removed. Note the sides of my cake do not look dry.
BDA20502-FA29-453E-AFE0-8588EE63EE0F.jpeg


another one of my cakes

8AE07185-AEBF-434A-A526-3D402298A2C8.jpeg


bottom of my cake— I did absolutely nothing to the bottom of this cake. It came out of the oven like this. No compare the look of the crumb of this cake compared to RLB’s white cake. I can tell you this cake is not dry looking, because it is not. This cake is not over baked.
CB961A38-D338-4DCE-8AFA-249A573AFE0D.jpeg



this is the bottom of the cake. It came out of the oven like this. And you can see the side of the cake doesn’t have a thick crust on it
8C0C21D1-5B69-4046-B3BC-77EF5B094F21.jpeg






Just for reference, some of my here cakes have been baked by others and they have turned out the same. So I feel pretty confident that my formulas are reliable.




====================================

this is the 2019 blog post where I took the photos of RLB’s cakes.

https://www.realbakingwithrose.com/...casion-downy-yellow-layer-cake-and-sheet-cake
 
Last edited:
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
251
Reaction score
117
There’s a couple of types of balloon whisk. A French whisk will be more oblong and narrow in shape. That’s more suited for sauce making since it fits better in a saucepan. Flat whisk is used for roux and sauces since it doesn’t aerate. The spring whisk is for cocktail making. And to be honest I don’t know what the ball whisk is used for. I’ve never owned one.

Well every baker has their way of doing things. If Rose Levy Rosebaum wants to use her mixer, she is free to do so. In my opinion, she is not a great cake baker. She’s never had any professional training. People don’t bother to look at the quality of her work—which is really sub-standard. She published a book at a time when no one really looked at credentials. She’s been baking really crappy cake for 30 years, yet people continue to rave about her as if she is a master pastry chef.


Rose Levy Rosebaum’s white cake. This cake is definitely over baked, you can tell because the bottom has a thick crust. and the splotches on the top indicate the batter was not properly emulsified. The sloping edge means the cake has a structural issue. With the splotches and that sloping on the side she may have too much sugar in the formula. and even though the side of the cake is nice and white, which it should be, it looks very dry. This is from a 2019 blog post

View attachment 3993

Rose Levy Rosebaum Downy Yellow Cake I don’t even know where to begin with this hot mess. She used a baking strip, yet still domed and cracked. The cake is over baked. The cake is in the tin, so I don’t know if the un-even sides are from excessive heat or too much sugar. That thick lumpy crust indicates the batter formula is high in fat and not properly emulsified. This is posted on the same 2019 post. So in 30 some years she still hasn’t gone to bake a cake.
View attachment 3998










======================================================================================
======================================================================================

my cake before the top crust is removed. Note the sides of my cake do not look dry.
View attachment 3997

another one of my cakes

View attachment 3995

bottom of my cake— I did absolutely nothing to the bottom of this cake. It came out of the oven like this. No compare the look of the crumb of this cake compared to RLB’s white cake. I can tell you this cake is not dry looking, because it is not. This cake is not over baked.
View attachment 3994


this is the bottom of the cake. It came out of the oven like this. And you can see the side of the cake doesn’t have a thick crust on it
View attachment 3996





Just for reference, some of my here cakes have been baked by others and they have turned out the same. So I feel pretty confident that my formulas are reliable.




====================================

this is the 2019 blog post where I took the photos of RLB’s cakes.

https://www.realbakingwithrose.com/...casion-downy-yellow-layer-cake-and-sheet-cake
Just to clarify, the RLB's instructions were to detach the stand mixer whisk attachment to fold by hand, not using the machine still. In that way I assume it's similar to using balloon whisk like the type that you prefer.

But I do agree that RLB's cakes don't look as good as yours. I've made her yellow and white cakes before and I do like them because they're super tender, decently most, and still fairly fluffy. They came out with completely flat, level tops instead of like the ones in the photos on her blog. I baked then at 325F like you recommend instead of the 350F that she instructs, so I'm guessing even a simple change like that would improve her cakes.

I also think it's a bit odd that she is revered so much in the cake baking world. As you said, no professional training and her cakes (in my experience) are good if you make some adjustments (e.g. baking at 325F), but nothing THAT special.
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
222
Reaction score
110
I still lack the guts to critique someone that popular - but her cakes could be better IF she switched to a wilton or regency cooling strip.
I regret not returning the RLB's silicone cake strip when I could. It does NOT work. Silicone does a crappy job of insulating the sides of the tins. :rolleyes:

Because you know I had to make the same cake with another cake strip to see if the regency cake strip work. Regency did. ;)
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
3,611
Reaction score
1,910
I still lack the guts to critique someone that popular - but her cakes could be better IF she switched to a wilton or regency cooling strip.
I regret not returning the RLB's silicone cake strip when I could. It does NOT work. Silicone does a crappy job of insulating the sides of the tins. :rolleyes:

Because you know I had to make the same cake with another cake strip to see if the regency cake strip work. Regency did. ;)

lol, All anyone has to do is open their eyes and look at her cakes to see what a lousy cake baker she is. She’s been writing cake baking books for some 40 years now, and she bakes a cake as bad as a non-baker. Seriously, you could buy a box mix and bake a cake better than anything she produces. I’m not being sarcastic you really could. Just look at how bad her cakes are.

So her cake strips are made of silicone? It’s no wonder her cake is domed and cracked. Silicone is used as an insulator because it’s heat resistant. That’s why they use it in things like potholders. But it’s more heat conductive than an insulator, that’s why it’s used to make bakeware. So using it for a baking strip just makes the cake tin hotter:rolleyes: That woman seriously does not know what she’s doing.
 
Joined
Oct 1, 2020
Messages
222
Reaction score
110
True. Yet without the basic knowledge, I bought the RLB cake strik simply because RLB, she wrote the cake bible. Can’t be bad.

Keeping this cake strip as a reminder to keep learning. :D
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
3,611
Reaction score
1,910
True. Yet without the basic knowledge, I bought the RLB cake strik simply because RLB, she wrote the cake bible. Can’t be bad.

Keeping this cake strip as a reminder to keep learning. :D

A lot of her recipes are fine. But she lacks the basic understanding of the baking science to use the recipe properly.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
251
Reaction score
117
I was reading through the cake mixing section in the CIA textbook Baking and Pastry and noticed that when folding a meringue into a creamed cake batter, they recommend beating the meringue to medium peaks then folding it into the base after the eggs are added, but before the flour. The reasoning is that if you wait until after the flour is added, the base will be much too thick to accept the lighter meringue.

I thought it was interesting because in my experience, it is indeed tough to fold in a meringue after the flour is added. Especially because the egg whites are whipped separately and hence aren't included in the base batter, the base is even stiffer than normal. However, I've never seen any other recipe do that, and even the other textbooks I have don't say to fold the in the meringue before the flour when doing this cake mixing method. Does anyone have experience trying this out?
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
3,611
Reaction score
1,910
Just to clarify, the RLB's instructions were to detach the stand mixer whisk attachment to fold by hand, not using the machine still. In that way I assume it's similar to using balloon whisk like the type that you prefer.

But I do agree that RLB's cakes don't look as good as yours. I've made her yellow and white cakes before and I do like them because they're super tender, decently most, and still fairly fluffy. They came out with completely flat, level tops instead of like the ones in the photos on her blog. I baked then at 325F like you recommend instead of the 350F that she instructs, so I'm guessing even a simple change like that would improve her cakes.

I also think it's a bit odd that she is revered so much in the cake baking world. As you said, no professional training and her cakes (in my experience) are good if you make some adjustments (e.g. baking at 325F), but nothing THAT special.

That’s odd that she would use the whisk from her mixer with no handle. I’d rather have a handle both for control and comfort.

Pretty much her entire career she’s just made things up. Like her ground breaking Mousseline Buttercream that is just Italian meringue buttercream.

That domed cracked cake in the photo above is her yellow cake recipe—probably the recipe you used. Fortunately people are learning more about baking so their ingredients and time don’t go to waste.
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
3,611
Reaction score
1,910
I was reading through the cake mixing section in the CIA textbook Baking and Pastry and noticed that when folding a meringue into a creamed cake batter, they recommend beating the meringue to medium peaks then folding it into the base after the eggs are added, but before the flour. The reasoning is that if you wait until after the flour is added, the base will be much too thick to accept the lighter meringue.

I thought it was interesting because in my experience, it is indeed tough to fold in a meringue after the flour is added. Especially because the egg whites are whipped separately and hence aren't included in the base batter, the base is even stiffer than normal. However, I've never seen any other recipe do that, and even the other textbooks I have don't say to fold the in the meringue before the flour when doing this cake mixing method. Does anyone have experience trying this out?

When you fold whipped egg whites into a batter you have to lighten it up first.

Take a small portion of the egg whites and fold them into the batter.

And then fold the remaining A quiet in equal portions.

Lightning the batter is a critical step.

I don’t know why this is not mentioned in folding these days. I never see it. I think this is old school, like the sifting. Bakers’ have gotten so lazy. I know that sounds very judgment, but it is true. Young bakers don’t want to do anything. They want to cut every corner.

I tell bakers all the time. If you don’t have the time to bake, don’t bake. Baking is not about what is convenient for you. Baking is a chemical reaction to time and temperature. And if you don’t have the time and don’t bake.

People think I’m rude. I’m not rude. My time is worth something. I’m not gonna waste it on someone who doesn’t think baking is worth the time and effort.
 
Ad

Advertisements

Joined
Jan 12, 2020
Messages
551
Reaction score
119
When folding one mixture into another where one has whipped air (whether whipped cream or an egg foam), when is it better to use a spatula vs. a whisk? I've seen it said that a balloon whisk is the best tool to use for folding, and have also seen people use a slotted skimmer/spider when folding flour into a biscuit cake batter. However, I've also seen cases where recipes from the same person will instruct using a whisk to fold for one recipe, but a spatula to fold for another recipe. I've also seen recipes that instruct to start folding with a whisk but finish with a spatula.

So I assume that neither tool is objectively superior than another at retaining volume when folding. But when do you know when you should use which tool?

Another related question I had was about folding a meringue into a cake batter. I know for mousses, it's recommended to whip your cream and egg whites (if using) only to soft peaks, not medium or stiff, before folding it into the mousse base. For example, the Valrhona website says that they are lighter, more stable, and easier to combine into the rest of the ingredients when only whipped to soft peaks. Additionally, the process of folding them in will continue working them too.

But when a cake recipe involves a meringue folded in, I see almost all recipes say to whip the meringue to stiff peaks. Cake batters are of course generally much thicker than mousse bases, so I understand that you may want the egg whites whipped a bit stiffer than soft peaks to match the consistencies of the two mixtures and make it easier to fold in. But still, wouldn't medium peaks maybe be better to ensure the egg whites remain at a good volume and don't collapse or become overworked?
sometimes its not possible to use a whip, a flat spat is best.
An example is biscuit tortoni, its a frozen mousse with amaretti cookies folded in.
Good use for faulty macs.

 
Ad

Advertisements


Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top