Poultry Science. Vol. 39. 1960. pp. 1446-1450.

The Effect of Season and Age of Bird
3. On the Performance of Egg White in Angel Cakes

F.E. Cunningham, O.J. Cotterill and E.M. Funk
Poultry Husbandry, University of Missouri, Columbia

Contribution from the Missouri Agricultural Experiment Station, Journal Series No. 2170. Approved by Director
Received for publication February 15, 1060)

It has been shown in previous work that eggs which have lost their initial high qualify do not function as well as fresh eggs. Barmore (1936) reported that when eggs are allowed to age at room temperature for a few days so that the white becomes thin, the resulting an angel cakes have smaller volumes than the cakes prepared from fresh eggs. Other studies concerned with egg quality have also shown a definite relationship between interior quality and various aspects of albumen performance (Burke, and Niles, 1936; Harnes et at, 1951, 1953; Pyke and Johnson, 1941), Jordan (1953) reported results which indicate that both temperature and time of holding the egg, at various temperatures were factors which influenced volume, tensile strength and flavor of the resulting angel cakes.

Seasonal variation in egg white performance has been studied by several workers. King et at, (1936) tested the quality of cakes made from eggs produced during certain ,seasons of the year and reported no progressive change in cake quality Stokes and Track (1936) found very little month to month change in cake volume throughout the year, when fresh eggs of high quality were used. Sauter et al. (1954) reported no seasonal differences in the functional properties of fresh eggs. Burke and Niles (1936) ill reported that the volume of cakes did vary with season but suggested that if the amount of heating time had been standardized according to some other factor than time of beating, cakes of equal quality might have been obtained throughout the year.

The purpose of this paper is to determine to what degree the following factors effect the qualify of angel cakes as determined by cake volume ratios:

  1. Change in egg quality due to season.
  2. Change in the chemical composition of the egg white due to season and age of bird.
  3. Age of the layer.

Methods and Procedures

Experiment 1

The source of eggs used in this experiment, the manner in which they were handled and data concerning their physical measurements have been elaborated in more detail in previous papers (Cunningham et a1., 1960a,b). During the breaking, separating and storage procedures care was taken to insure that no yolk contamination of the egg white occurred. The egg white samples were held in a frozen stale at 2±1°F from the time they were collected until they were used to prepare angel cakes. To test the effect of season and age of bird on the functional properties of the egg albumen, angel cakes were baked from samples collected throughout the year from four different age groups of birds.

Cake Baking. The methods used in preparing angel cakes were described in detail by Gardner (1960). They were essentially the same as. those outlined by the NCM-7 Subcommittee on methodology which used the same ratio of cake ingredients reported by Sloshberg et al. (1948)

Baking Sequence. One cake, was baked from each of 84 egg white samples. A control cake and seven test cakes were prepared during each baking period. Consequently it was necessary to bake 12 control cakes during the coarse of this experiment. The order of baking the experimental cakes as well as the position of the control cake in each series was determined by random selection. The purpose of the control cakes was to obtain an estimate of the experimental variation between baking periods.

Control Cakes. At the beginning of this experiment fresh eggs were collected and the albumen separated anal blended in a Waring Blendor until 9 seconds were required for the albumen to drain from a Zahn viscometer cup #3. This large sample of well blended albumen was divided into 12 separate samples placed in polyethylene containers, sealed and frozen. One sample was removed from the freezer the day before the control cake was to be baked and allowed to thaw overnight in a constant temperature room at 70°F. These cakes were prepared in exactly the same manner as the experimental cakes

Cake Volume and Volume Ratio. When the cakes were removed from the oven they were placed on a cooling rack in an inverted position and allowed to cool overnight at room temperature. After 24 hours, the surface of the cake was dusted with a small amount of flour and the cake volume was determined by the rape seed method as outlined by Bennington and Geddes (1938). The volume ratio was calculated by dividing the known cake volume by the grams of batter used (in these experiments 120 grams of batter were used per cake). The volume ratio is expressed as the ml. of cake obtained per gram of batter used. For control cakes this ratio approached 6.0.

Experiment 2

This test was designed to determine if pullet eggs function as well in the preparation of angel cakes as the whites from old hen eggs. Pyke and Johnson (1941) reported that cake volume was positively related to the quality of the eggs and that cakes of high quality and greater volume were obtained from pullet eggs than from eggs of older hens. They stated that cakes prepared from pullet eggs tended to .show less shrinkage after maximum volume was obtained.

The albumen used in this experiment was collected from eggs produced in April by 6 month old pullets and 16 month old hens. Only eggs of high quality (Haugh units 80 or above) were used. The albumen samples were separately blended in a Waring Blendor with the rheostat set at 50 for various lengths of time. The viscosity of the blended albumen was measured and recorded as the number of seconds required to evacuate a Zahn viscometer cup #3. Angel cakes were than prepared from the blended egg white using the methods cited above with the exception that the whipping time was held constant at 23 seconds.

Results and Discussion

Fig. 1. The effect of season and age of bird on egg white performance in angel cakes. (Age groups as of September; D--4 months, A--7 months, B---12 months, and C--15 months)

Experiment 1. The result of the experiment to lest the effect of season on angel cake volume is presented in Figure 1. Statistically there was no significant difference in the volume ratio of cakes prepared from eggs collected throughout the year in spite of the fact that the "quality" of the eggs used was higher during the spring months. Evidently the variation encountered in the chemical composition of the egg white (Cunningham et al., 1960b) failed to influence the functional capacity of the albumen. The notation A, B, C and D in Figure 1 refer, to four different age groups of birds from which the eggs were collected. There was no difference in voluble ratio of cakes produced from these four different group, as tested by analysis of variance. It was this unexpected result which suggested that the blending of the albumen samples to the same viscosity before baking may have tended to equalize the functional capacity of the egg white and subsequently led to Experiment 2. The control cakes were not plotted in Figure 1, however, their volume ratio averaged .5.98 with a coefficient of variation of 1.39%

Fig. 2. The effect of blending on the viscosity and functional capacity of egg white.

Experiment 2. The effect of blending time on the ability of pullet egg white to function in angel cake is shown in Figure 2,. When albumen from hen eggs and pullet eggs were blended for only 10 seconds in the Waring Blendor the volume ratios of the resulting cakes were 5.9 and 5.5 respectively. As the albumen blending time increased the cake volume ratios also increased. When the egg while was blended for as long as 30 seconds there was essentially no difference in the resulting cake volumes. Evidently pullet egg white will not function well until the thick mucin fibers are broken down sufficiently to allow proper incorporation of air during the foaming process. This was first pointed out by St. John and Flor (1931) who showed the variation of time required to whip eggs of different quality of the same volume. They suggested that the lowering of surface tension and viscosity improved egg foaming properties. Forsythe and Bergquist (1951) in a study on the ovomucin structure and functional performance of egg white reported that blending resulted in initial rapid decrease in the ovomucin fiber length and an increase in cake volume Maximum cake volume was obtained when the ovomucin fiber length was about 100 microns.


Angel cakes were baked using egg albumen collected from eggs laid by different age bird, over a one year period. Cakes were also prepared using whites from pullet and hen eggs which had been blended to the same viscosity. The results of these experiments indicate the following:

  1. Season was not significant in its effect on the functional properties of egg white as determined by angel cake volume.
  2. The normal variation encountered in the chemical composition of egg white had no effect on its performance in angel cakes.
  3. The age of the bird had no effect on the functional capacity of egg white in angel cake, when the albumen was blended to the same viscosity.


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Burke, E.,., and K.B. Niles, 1936. A study of seasonal variation in egg white performance. U.S. Egg Poultry Mag. 42: 512-545.

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