Add Volume To Cake By Beating Sugar And Eggs Together Before Adding Dairy

Vanilla cake with berries
Vanilla cake with berries - irina2511 / Shutterstock

Baking a cake is one thing, but baking one that's tall and fluffy is another. A cake's height is affected by many factors, like baking time and temperature, how well the batter is mixed, and the ratio of ingredients. Besides doing your best to control these variables (and resisting the urge to open the oven while your cake is baking), you can support your cake with one of the best techniques for adding volume: beating the sugar and eggs together before adding dairy.

In many American-style cakes, the recipe instructs you to cream the butter and sugar together until they're light and fluffy. This creaming process introduces air into the batter, leavening the mixture to produce an even, fluffy crumb; however, another technique is to beat the sugar and eggs together (yolks and all) until you reach what's commonly known as the "ribbon stage." You may have encountered this term in a cookbook or two, and its functionality is key for extra volume. The eggs and sugar will increase in volume as you beat them together, eventually becoming frothy and turning a pale yellow color. At this point, you can test for ribboning by lifting the whisk and letting the mixture fall back into the bowl. If it falls like loose ribbons, you've achieved the ribbon stage, and you can be confident that your cake will have extra volume.

Read more: 15 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Cooking Eggs

The Science Behind The Ribbon Stage

Beating eggs and sugar in bowl
Beating eggs and sugar in bowl - Natalia Malivanova / Getty Images

The ribbon stage can be helpful for countless recipes, like a classic vanilla cake or a red velvet cake. In fact, it's commonly utilized for sponge cakes, as this type is meant to be tall and airy. Regardless of what kind of cake you're making, you should let the eggs come to room temperature before beating them together with the sugar. Having not only room-temperature eggs but consistently room-temperature ingredients helps them emulsify more successfully than cold ingredients. Furthermore, beating the eggs and sugar together triggers the eggs' proteins to unfold. When they do, and once the cake starts baking, the proteins fuse back together, trapping air between them and giving the cake its structure.

To further elevate this sugar-and-egg method, try adding hot milk and melted butter to the egg-sugar mixture. These ingredients help temper the eggs and start re-bonding the unfolded proteins before the batter enters the oven. If your cakes are consistently dense or flat, try out these techniques for extra cake volume.

Read the original article on Mashed