Duck-and-Cover Pantry III: Leavening by Hand

So let’s say you’re looking to bake, but you don’t want to mess with a starter, you have no baking powder, and you can’t find even an ancient old envelope of dried yeast hanging around. You’re still not out of luck. You can leaven by way of bubbles, notably egg bubbles.

On my last trip to the grocer, I noticed that eggs were starting to get a little more common. Welcome news indeed since all sorts of mechanically leavened — that’s the technical term — treats suddenly become possible with eggs. Of what kind? Well most any kind of meringue for starters. Small meringues cookies all the way up to ample, cream-and-fruit-filled pavlovas (meringue cakes for us non-Aussies). So there’s that.

Beyond the meringue is the wide world of sponge cakes, primarily those from Europe, where no self-respecting cake baker would be caught dead using chemicals. North American cousins of the Euro-sponge include angel food and chiffon. So if a nice, fluffy foam cake would take the edge off this crazy week, and you can score a dozen or eggs and a little sugar, you have many, many options.

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