Egg whites boast a host of benefits when added to a cake recipe. They add moisture, structure and texture to a cake without any added fat. Cakes made with them are typically lighter and airier than those made with whole eggs. Egg whites won't cause a floury taste. Improper baking techniques or stale ingredients are likely culprits, though.
Egg whites are a standard ingredient in white cakes and angel food cakes. They give these cakes their lovely white color and light texture. When egg whites are whipped and incorporated into cake batter, the trapped air causes them to become rigid, creating an airy loft. Egg whites can also be substituted for whole eggs in any recipe for a lower fat version. Egg whites are mostly protein and have little flavor. They won't cause a cake -- either made from a mix or homemade -- to taste like flour.
Using egg whites probably didn't cause your cake to taste like flour, but stale ingredients might have. Flour, in particular, can take on a stale taste, especially if it's stored somewhere moist, such as in a basement. Buy flour in small bags and store it in a cool, dry location. For longer storage, place flour in the freezer. Always sift your flour before you measure it for a cake for a lighter texture and better flavor. Another possibility is a lack of flavorings. Be sure to add vanilla, almond extract, lemon extract or other flavorings to any homemade cake batter. Although you can use shortening or margarine in a cake batter, butter gives superior results.
For perfect baking every time, use the freshest ingredients you can find. Set the butter and eggs on the countertop 30 minutes before making the cake. Room-temperature ingredients blend better and rise better in the oven. If the recipe asks you to whip the egg whites, use a very clean bowl and cold eggs, rather than room temperature. Whip only to the point specified in the recipe. Some recipes ask you to whip the eggs to soft peaks, others to stiff peaks. Make sure you measure very carefully. Too much flour can cause a floury taste, as well as a heavy texture. Finally, don't over-mix, especially if you've incorporated beaten egg whites into the batter. Over-mixing can also contribute to a floury taste and dense, tough texture.
If a cake you made from a boxed mix tastes floury, the problem is likely that the cake mix was old or was stored in humid conditions. Although cake mixes are safe to eat after the expiration date, their quality goes down. The one exception would be a cake mix that has gotten wet. Moisture destroys a cake mix's leavening action so it won't rise. It also provides a breeding ground for mold growth, which can potentially make you sick.
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