Cupcake Leavening Methods- Science Fair Research

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Grace Bullabaugh
September 28, 2012
Period 3
How to Make Fluffier Cupcakes: Using Only Egg Whites, Mixing Each Ingredient Separately, or Adding an Extra Teaspoon of Cornstarch? Hypothesis:
I hypothesize that adding an extra teaspoon of cornstarch will decrease the density of a batch of cupcakes more than the other methods.
Research:
It is the goal of every baker: creating the perfectly light and fluffy cupcake. However, it is a difficult task to complete. Many different methods have been recorded by various sources backed up by science. I have found three that I will test in order to find which produces the fluffiest, or least dense, batch of cupcakes. They allow for a greater leavening, or increase of volume of baking dough caused by the formation of gas bubbles. The methods to create this effect on the cupcakes are using egg whites only, mixing each ingredient separately before adding them to the mixture, and adding a teaspoon of corn starch to the mix.

Eggs are a necessary ingredient to nearly any baked good. However, the two parts of the egg, the yolk and the white, have very different compositions. Egg yolks are high in fat, while the whites contain a great amount of protein. Fats interfere with the proteins' ability to form bonds and trap air, keeping them from becoming as fluffy as they could be. However, whipping egg whites on their own mixes air into the whites and disarranges their protein molecules. The protein molecules are usually in clusters. Whipping causes them to stretch out and link together, trapping the air into tiny bubbles. Thus, using the egg whites on their own allows the proteins to whip up to their fullest potential height.

A simpler method of decreasing the density of a batch of cupcakes is to mix each ingredient separately before adding them all together. By putting all dry ingredients into a bowl and whisking them until there are no lumps you are lightening the cake mix. Also, one should mix the eggs before their...
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