Munavalgekook: Estonian Egg-white Cake

July 16, 2009


So tell me friends – which camp do you belong to? Egg white or egg yolk?

Me? I’m all for the sunny side yolks. Oh how I drool over recipes for custards, brulées and eggy-rich tarts and clearly it’s what I love baking the most. The downside? All the leftover egg whites! I literally have a whole freezer worth of whites in storage and it’s been a continuous battle over what to do with them as more are added to the collection! It’s getting to be a real problem as a majority of recipes I use involve using more yolks than whites and never the other way round. And *gasp* I’ve even resorted to throwing whites away recently as my fridge and freezer are full to capacity.

A lot of people think I’m nuts that I’m complaining over an abundance of egg whites. And before you suggest it, please know that I don’t like meringues and I don’t get overly excited over macarons (ok, I’m terrified of making them). Oh and I’m sick and tired of Angel Cake.

Dilemma.

And then Estonia came to the rescue and gave me Munavalgekook. This tongue twister of a cake has given me endless joy in mistyping it a thousand times and even had The Captain resorting to calling it the “Gobbledegook” cake. I’m just glad I don’t have to try and pronounce to you.


This Estonian egg white cake bears a striking resemblance to the Angel Cake. But don’t let the halo and heavenly glow fool you. Unlike the Angel Cake, this Estonian beauty comes with added butter and vanilla, making it a richer and naughtier version of its angelic counterpart. In any case it’s a gorgeously soft, spongy cake that is still moist and buttery…unlike the powdery dry sponge cakes you usually find. Of course Munavalgekook doesn’t have to remain as is. It is amazing with the addition of vanilla bean or extract or for a more exotic flavour, a teaspoon or so of orange blossom water and grated orange rind (garnish the cake with a drizzle of orange syrup for pure hedonistic pleasure). I like to eat it plain but feel free to add any sweet garnishes or icings if the mood takes you. 
Now if the powers that be figure out a way to sell egg yolks and whites separately, I’d be eternally grateful! 


Munavalgekook: Estonian Egg-white Cake

Ingredients

6 large egg whites
250 g caster sugar
160 g plain flour
1 heaped Tbl cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
100g melted butter – slightly cooled
1 tsp of vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (halved and beans scraped)

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a bundt or ring cake tin.

Whisk the egg whites with 2 tablespoons of the sugar until it’s thick, pale and foamy.

Mix the remaining sugar with the plain flour, cornflour and baking powder and then sift into the egg mixture and fold in gently.

Gently fold in the cooled, melted butter and vanilla extract (or beans). If you’re adding orange water and/or rind, mix it into the butter before adding to the egg mixture.

Bake for around 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Remove bundt cake from the oven and rest for five minutes before turning it out to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from the lovely Nami-Nami with thanks.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary July 10, 2011 at 04:43

I am tossed between simply calling this egg white cake or gelato cake, i.e. a way to use the 6 egg whites I generated making gelato. These two treats pair well.

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Citrus and Candy July 15, 2011 at 00:25

Hi Mary, what a perfect combo! That’s the main reason why I love this cake, it uses up all my ‘custard’ or ‘ice cream’ whites and it’s not meringue! :P

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Karen | Citrus and Candy July 20, 2009 at 15:29

Hi Anonymous – any starch based thickening flour should be alright for a substitute. For example potato starch, arrowroot or tapioca flour/starch. These should be readily available along with cornflour/corn starch.

Hope this helps!

Hi Syrie – thanks for your lovely comments. LOL this is why I have one rule. No food blog reading around meal times!

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syrie July 20, 2009 at 11:57

Beautiful descriptions and photos. It's dangerous looking at something like this when I'm hungry.

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Anonymous July 19, 2009 at 21:17

hi! looks lovely, can i substitute something else for corn flour?

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Karen | Citrus and Candy July 17, 2009 at 18:15

Hi Y – Believe me I was thinking of you when I reluctantly threw them (and felt massively guilty!).

Hi Jo – now I'm on the hunt for more alternative egg white recipes. You have a great weekend too!

Hi Stephcookie – sigh I wish there was more recipes like custards and brulees that uses whole eggs!

Hi Pille – no no thank you for the beautiful recipe! It was so popular that I've made it twice in 3 days!

Lol thanks for the lesson in Estonian pronounciation although I think I may have to hear it in person still!

Hi Anonymous – not to mention I'm not comfortable with styling as of yet. But I agree, I've always preferred the sweet and simple food shots myself. And I wished it was permanent daylight in the kitchen just for the photos!

Hi Anonymous – ooh forgot about friands! Thanks for the tip! Now I just to find some friand tins :)

Hi Lorraine – Lol I suppose whites win on health value. But egg yolks are so devilishly rich!

Hi Fearless Kitchen – fresh berries would be great…I just have to wait for summer to get them ;) Oh and check out Pille's comment for a lesson in pronounciation…although I'm still scratching my head with it!

Hi Justin – I'm with you. I love classic, traditional cakes. There's something inherently comforting about them!

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Justin July 17, 2009 at 17:40

i'm such a fan of cakes like these… perfect and simple. it makes me think of a lemon pound cake recipe I haven't made in a while. yum.

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Fearless Kitchen July 17, 2009 at 13:06

This is really interesting (and possibly completely unpronouncable). I can see it going really well with a some peaches or fresh berries.

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 17, 2009 at 12:53

Like a slightly devilish Angel food cake huh? I'm intrigued!

I'm torn between white or yolk. I like both. Whites probably when I've eaten too many desserts with yolk hehe ;)

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Anonymous July 17, 2009 at 11:59

How about some lovely friands?
It still has the buttery goodness of cakes with any nut meals?

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Anonymous July 17, 2009 at 09:27

That first photo is beautiful! Lovely lighting and I love that you keep the 'styling' to the minimum and let the food speak for itself.

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Pille July 17, 2009 at 08:11

So glad to hear that you liked this cake!

PS Note that we pronounce all letters in Estonian – when there's a double letter (as in 'oo'), it's pronounced longer (not twice) – and 'o' sounds like in 'shot', not in 'shoot') :D :D
This particular word is a combination of three words, actually. “Kook” is cake, “muna” is egg, “valge” is white. “munavalge” is “egg white” and then you add “kook” (cake) and you get munavalgekook aka egg white cake :)

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Stephcookie July 17, 2009 at 01:05

LOL at 'Gobbledegook' cake, it looks so light and lovely! I love both parts of the egg equally, I can't choose one over the other! But it is annoying having leftovers in the fridge, my fav recipes are ones that manage to use up all parts of the eggs even when they have to be separated :)

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Jo July 17, 2009 at 00:21

This cake looks gorgeous. It does resemble an angel cake but from the pics I figured it looked a bit more buttery. Thanks for the recipe and now I know what I can do with my egg whites as well, other than making macarons. Have a great weekend ahead!

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Y July 16, 2009 at 20:51

Seriously, can we organise some sort of swap, because I'm always so low on egg whites, and it horrifies me to hear that you've been throwing them out! By the way, yes you can buy egg whites on their own, commercially. Cake looks lovely though – not familiar with it, but I can imagine what it tastes like, seeing as it's similar to Angel cake..

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