Kitchen Basics: Folding

February 11, 2013

In her biweekly column, Kitchen Basics, Susan Pachikara of Cardamom Kitchen demystifies essential cooking skills with step-by-step instructions and her own handsome photos. Whether she's showing us how much brown sugar we're meant to "pack"(or is it cram?) into measuring cups or how to detect when our onions are properly caramelized, Susan is the nonna we never had -- until now. Now, go on and get cozy under her wing.

This week, Susan demonstrates the technique known as "folding."

- Susan

I love brownies, fudge cookies, and other chunky desserts, but sometimes I want to be swept away by something ethereal like a feather-light mousse or chocolate soufflé. Creating such delicacies requires folding, a technique that fully incorporates something light and fluffy like whipped egg whites or whipped cream into something weightier like melted chocolate or cake batter. Once combined, the resulting batter (or mousse) contains air bubbles. When the batter is heated, the bubbles expand, causing it to rise into a seemingly weightless cake or cloud-like soufflé. Although it sounds tricky, folding is a simple technique. So, grab your spatula and make your way to a memorable Valentine’s Day dessert.

How to "Fold"

Note: I am demonstrating the folding technique with whipped egg whites and chocolate cake batter.

The first step involves lightening the cake batter. Place one-third of the whipped egg whites in the cake batter. Using a spatula, gently stir the two together until just incorporated. 

Place the rest of the whipped egg whites on top of the lightened cake batter. 

Hold one edge of the spatula over the bowl and cut into the egg whites and batter until you hit the bottom of the bowl. 

Rotate the spatula around to scrape across the bottom of the bowl and up the sides of the bowl. 

Fold the batter into the center of the bowl.


Turn the bowl by a quarter-turn and repeat the folding motions until there are no streaks left in the batter. 

Susan tops the finished chocolate cake with frosting, caramel, and chopped nuts

I’d love to see your tips for folding! Share them with your fellow cooks in the comments section below.

Are you new to cooking? Tell me what skills you'd like to learn and your idea could be featured in an upcoming post!

Photos by Susan Pachikara

Want more basic tips from Susan? Check out her previous post: Kitchen Basics: Carving a Chicken.

Susan writes the blog Cardamom Kitchen to share her culinary experiences as an Indian-American rooted in the Midwest. 

susan cardamom kitchen

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