Eggs are essential in most baked goods. Both the whites and yolks perform important functions. Egg whites add volume and act as a drying and leavening agent. Egg yolks provide fat, which adds flavor, tenderness and protein, which helps thicken custards. The yolk acts as an emulsifier, helping to blend liquids, like oil and water, that are hard to combine.
Because of the fat and high cholesterol in yolks, many healthy cooks eliminate yolks when baking and use fat replacements such as applesauce instead. What comes out of the oven, however, is often rubbery or dry.
To get the best results from low-fat baked recipes, our home economists prefer to combine whole eggs with egg whites or fat-free egg substitute instead of eliminating all the yolks.
When reducing eggs in a from-scratch recipe, substitute 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup fat-free egg substitute for 1 whole egg. It’s best to leave at least 1 whole egg in the recipe.
One large whole egg has 75 calories, 5 grams fat, 1.6 saturated fat and 213 mg cholesterol. Two egg whites (or 1/4 cup egg substitute) have 30 calories and no cholesterol.
Packaged cake mixes usually include ingredients that help with tenderness, texture, etc., so using only egg whites often works fine.
Using eggs at room temperature helps them blend better with other ingredients. To bring eggs to room temperature, cover with warm tap water for exactly 2 minutes. Dry eggs before using.
Remember, when you eat a cookie or a slice of cake, you’re consuming just a part of the recipe and, therefore, only a fraction of the calories and fat from the yolk.