Egg white or yolk

Hi, im getting into cooking ans baking and making differenta kinda of cream, cakes and other stuff. I was wondering about the exact differences between eggwhite and egg yolks. Which one is better to for example mix with whipped cream to get it creamier and smoother and what is the best one to use for baking cakes, brownies, pancakes etc. Thanks in advance

Luca van der Knaap
  • 1 Comment

1 Comment

HalfPint October 17, 2017
Lots of questions and info.

1. You usually don't mix eggs with whipped cream. If you want it creamier and smoother, don't overbeat and don't underbeat. Sorry, it's a fine line from stiff peaks to butter. You want to beat cream until it can looks smooth and creamier, when it can hold a stiff looking peak after you remove the beaters. But you don't want to beat it too much and it starts to curdle and make butter. You don't need to add egg whites or yolks to make it smoother or creamier. In fact, if you added any yolks, the whipped cream could collapse or not have as much volumne. You can add some cream cheese, creme fraiche, or marscapone to make it more stable and/or creamier. And finally, raw eggs in whipped cream is a safety concern and not add much value to whipped cream (i.e. not sure how it can make whipped cream more stable or creamier/smoother).

2. Difference between whites and yolks. Whites are zero fat and all protein. You can whip them up into a meringue (with sugar) which looks a lot like whipped cream except that it isn't creamy tasting (remember there's no fat in egg whites). What the whites offer is volume and structure (strength) to baked goodies. Egg yolks contain all the fat in an egg and about half the protein. Fat is not the bad guy in an egg, because that fat contains vitamins A, D, E and K along with omega-3 fats. The yolks add moisturizing fat and helps emulsify the batter, giving the baked good a smooth and creamy texture.

3. It is often not a question of one being better than the other. 90% of baked goods recipes call for whole eggs. Sometimes, the eggs are separated with the whites whipped and folded into the batter (which has the yolks already added). Whites are better for Angel Food-types of cakes since those types of cakes have little to zero leavening agent so the only leavening that these cakes will get comes from the whipped egg whites. Egg yolks are better for custard-like baked goods like cheese cakes because of their emulsifying qualities. You want a smooth creamy custard like texture for your 'cake', you'll want to use more egg yolks.

Hope this helps. Sorry for the novel, but you ask a lot of good questions.

If you want more info on baking, check out Rose Levy Beranbaum. She's really good at explaining the why's of baking, with the science behind it. And of course, Alice Medrich who has posted a few great baking articles on Food52.
Recommended by Food52