Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What Is Ovalette?

Ever so often, I get asked by readers, "What is Ovalette?" This is Ovalette, also known as Sponge Cake Stabiliser.

Photobucket

It appears to me that mainly Singaporeans and Malaysians know what Ovalette is. They are always sold in clear, tacky plastic containers and can be purchased very cheaply (about S$3 to 4 a tub). It is commonly used in sponge cakes because it helps keep the batter airy. Just a small dollop will give you a very light and cottony soft cake.

If you are wondering what it is made of, these are the ingredients on the label: Monoglyceride, Polyglycerol, Polysorbate, Sorbitol, Propylene Glycol, Tartrazine and Water. In summary, it's an emulsifier.

Photobucket

Please note that I am neither for or against the use of ovalette. The purpose of this post is to provide information to readers who have no idea what this ingredient is, whenever they come across recipes which call for it.

Having said that, I found that condensed milk is a great substitute. If you prefer no additives or chemicals in your food, check out my No Ovalette Moist Sponge Cake recipe here. In my humble opinion, it is possible to achieve a soft, airy spongy cake texture as long as you: 1)beat the eggs sufficiently, ie, until ribbon stage, and 2)fold in the flour correctly. These are the two critical steps in making any sponge cake.

34 comments:

  1. Oh. I am Asian and I don't know what is Ovalette. :p Thanks for such an informative post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I actually can't easily find ovalette here, I guess I need to check some special stores to get them. Instead I use sweetened condensed milk, or converted sugar syrup, which help stabilize the cakes, to bake the form cakes.

    Angie's Recipes

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love tips like this! I can be on the lookout here also..Thank you!It's so photogenic too:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ditto the tacky! :P However, at times I wish it came in an even smaller tub, coz I can never seem to finish it up. And wow, you make ovalette look good!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for the info! It is very useful indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've never heard of it either, but we're going to Japan in October and I"ll keep an eye out for it. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Angie: Thanks for telling me. I will use condensed milk next time. It's something I always have in my fridge :)

    ovenhaven: Yeah, tell me about it! I don't think I will be using the rest of the tub, now that Angie has mentioned condensed milk.

    ReplyDelete
  8. would you use equal amount of condensed milk to the ovalette?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Heard of this but can't find it anywhere here in the UK. Sounds really useful!

    ReplyDelete
  10. cookienurse: I will try that proportion for a start :) See how it goes!

    ReplyDelete
  11. i'll have to look for it the next time i'm in singapore. is it sold everywhere there or is there a better place to find it??

    masa

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Masa, it's easily found in the bake sections of major supermarkets.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi, found your blog via terri's blog, and am definitely bookmarking your page.
    Am interested to know if you have tried substituting ovalette with condensed milk, and in what proportions. I am not a fan of emulsifiers, not matter how little the quantities, so I avoid using them if I can.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi I accidentally found your blog and lovw it! Have bookmarked your blog and will revisit to try out some of the recipes especially your own pandan sponge cake :)

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  15. Zebra cake uses ovalette and i cannot find it over in new zealand and after reading about the ingredients, i prefer not to use it. the zebra cake recipe also used condensed milk. can i use cream of tartar as a substitute?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jane: I have seen many zebra cake recipes which do not use ovalette. The most famous version being the one from Farida - http://www.azcookbook.com/zebra-cake/

    Cream of tartar is used as a stabiliser for egg whites. I don't know if they can be used as a sub for ovalette. Actually, if you asked me, in any recipe which calls for ovalette, if you do no have it/do not want to use it, just skip it. I personally feel that it is possible to get a soft, moist, spongy texture as long as you beat the eggs correctly (till "ribbon stage"). Hope this helps!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thanks Ju. Now i know where i went wrong. the photos were very useful

    ReplyDelete
  18. Are they all chemicals? I've heard some saying that it contains fat from cow/pork.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anon: Yes, I think they are all chemicals. I don't think it contains animal by-products though, especially pork! I have seen so many Malay (muslim) ladies buy ovalette at the baking supplies store I go to.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Its possible that monoglyceride in the this product is made from animal, possibly pig. It can also be made from vegetable sources. The only way to know for sure is to find out which company supplies the maker with the ingredient. I would be sceptical unless its specifically labelled halal or vegan depending on what concerns you. Regardless, some of the other ingredients such as sorbitol, propylene glycol and especially tartrazine have known health effects. Its obvious that in the course of our daily and convenient lifestyles we consume quantities of these chemicals without ill effect, but why any chef would want to knowingly cook with them is beyond me.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi There, newbie in baking here. wondering if we can use ovalette (or the substitute as mentioned, condensed milk) in butter cake? would it make any difference?

    ReplyDelete
  22. edahani: Don't use! It's totally not necessary in butter cakes. You just need to use good quality butter to get a good butter cake.

    ReplyDelete
  23. tnx for d informative post! Id like to try making a steam layer meat cake (with a beef+potato filling inside) that calls for this ovelette..hence from your suggestion, i wish to skip it..izzit gonna b ok? am abit worried since its abit of a different kind of 'cake' ^^;;

    ReplyDelete
  24. can i use the ovalette cake stabilizer. for eggless cake

    ReplyDelete
  25. https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=329550740020

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Anon: Thanks for alerting me. Unfortunately there are many people like that out there. Tsk.

    ReplyDelete
  27. thank you very much for the info, a really useful info.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thanks for the info!!! Would like to try on Apam dot dot (a Malaysian kuih)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi 'little Teochew'... I used ovalette for a sponge cake today (1st trial) and I had no idea what was it until i googled it and your blog popped up. :) It's a pleasant discovery. Thank you for all the info. I like your blog. :) (~M~)

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thanks for the explanation, Little Teochew. I'm going to make a Nyonya cake but I live in Sydney & I don't think I want to add ovalette in the cake. Finger cross that my steamed Nyonya cakes still look good without using it!Actually, I don't know where to get this kind of cake emulsifier here! In my later posting, I'll pinpoint your posting about ovalette!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ju, I've tested your tip, made steamed pandan cake with condensed milk instead of ovalette & it worked. Thanks again. Here's my blog:

      http://jessie-cookingmoments.blogspot.com.au/2012/06/kuih-puteri-ayu-steamed-pandan-sponge.html?utm_source=BP_recent

      Delete
  31. When you make the substitute of ovalette with condensed milk, is the amount the same? I mean, for one teaspoon of ovalette, we substitute with one teaspoon of condensed milk?

    ReplyDelete