As my children grew older, in lieu of the princess or movie-themed cakes, sometimes they would request cheesecake for a special celebration. I know I’ve had a fondness for cheesecake since I was young when my grandmother would make cheesecake using a special family recipe.
Whether a recipe is a family heirloom or a commercial standby, a successful cheesecake relies on egg ingredients. In fact, cheesecake flavor intensity and texture develop to their greatest potential when using egg ingredients, according to a new independent study comparing the use of eggs to egg replacers.
Overall no single egg replacement product tested in cheesecake achieved the same analytical and organoleptic sensory test results as did the control product, a cheesecake prepared with egg ingredients. Except for water activity, each aspect of product quality suffered in the comparative products created for the research.
The research confirms the superior functionality and flavor supplied to cheesecake by egg ingredients, compared to the variety of six replacers tested.
While other baked goods primarily rely upon flour for structure, cheesecake relies principally upon eggs for that purpose and much more. The proteins within eggs coagulate to support the rich, dense cheese filling and allow it to reach the right balance of richness/tenderness with firmness. The eggs’ emulsifying properties help create proper mouthfeel. And the use of whole eggs within cheesecake take advantage of the effective flavor carrying properties of the fat within egg yolk, allowing fat-soluble flavoring ingredients like vanilla to be enhanced—particularly important given the often mild and pleasant flavor notes desired in traditional cheesecake.
Results varied among the different types of replacers however, overall, nearly all areas of cheesecake quality were negatively affected, including batter viscosity, baked cake rise and shape, color/appearance and most importantly, finished product aroma, flavor and texture.
Eggs themselves have more than 100 volatile flavor compounds. They are subtle, enhancing rather than masking other flavors. One principal researcher noted that the subtle flavor egg ingredients bring to baking systems is particularly well suited for cheesecake, which consumers associate with mild, dairy notes. Eggs won’t overwhelm the system but work with the other traditional cheesecake ingredients to create that sweet baked flavor, aroma and lovely golden color.
You can find research results about cheesecake on a new website dedicated to the study results called RealEggs.org. And, American Egg Board’s online Egg Product Buyers’ Guide can help find a supplier for real egg ingredients.