case study

Cracking the Code: Overcoming Egg-Related Challenges in Sponge Cake Baking with TREHA®

Discover how NAGASE’s TREHA® unlocks cost savings, improved texture, and enhanced volume in sponge cakes.

Angel food cake with whipped cream and slices of fresh strawberries on top on a concrete background. Summer dessert. Horizontal orientation, copy space


The art of crafting the perfect sponge cake is a delicate dance between tradition and innovation. Bakers and baked product manufacturers strive for that airy crumb, the satisfying spring, and the perfect balance of sweetness and moisture. However, in today's competitive baking landscape, several pressing challenges threaten the consistency and profitability of sponge cake production.

  • The Egg Conundrum: Eggs, the cornerstone of sponge cake structure and texture, pose a unique set of problems. Rising egg costs can significantly impact profit margins, particularly for large-scale bakeries. Additionally, egg availability can fluctuate due to seasonal variations and supply chain disruptions, leading to production inconsistencies. Moreover, concerns about food safety and allergies necessitate the exploration of alternative ingredients in some cases.

  • Beyond the Bottom Line: Egg reduction, while offering potential cost savings, often presents technical hurdles. Lower egg content can compromise cake volume, crumb structure, and even shelf life. Maintaining a high-quality product while reducing eggs becomes a balancing act, often requiring extensive recipe reformulation and costly trial-and-error processes.

  • The Quest for a Solution: Traditional approaches to address these challenges are often limited. Emulsifiers and hydrocolloids can partially compensate for egg reduction, but often come with drawbacks like undesirable textures or altered flavors. Bakers and baked product manufacturers require a versatile solution that tackles these issues head-on, without sacrificing the qualities that make sponge cakes so beloved.

This is where Trehalose, a naturally occurring disaccharide, emerges as a game-changer. Its unique properties offer a promising solution to the challenges faced by modern sponge cake producers. By understanding these challenges and Trehalose's potential, we can pave the way for a new era of innovative and sustainable sponge cake baking.

TREHA® is our product name for Trehalose, a natural disaccharide, often found in mushrooms and plants, with unique water-binding properties. TREHA®’s benefits in the baking industry stem from its unique physicochemical properties:

  • Moisture Retention: Unlike regular sugars, trehalose has more hydroxyl (-OH) groups which form hydrogen bonds with water molecules, effectively trapping them within the food matrix. This translates to several benefits for bakers:

    • Enhanced Moistness: Baked goods, like soft cookies and breads, stay fresh and moist for longer, reducing waste and improving consumer satisfaction.

    • Improved Shelf Life: By preventing moisture loss, TREHA® extends the shelf life of products, reducing hardening and ensuring freshness.

    • Softer Cake Crumb: Cakes benefit from TREHA®'s ability to retain moisture, resulting in a softer and more appealing crumb structure.

  • Inhibition of Starch Retrogradation: Starch retrogradation is a natural process where starches harden and crystallize upon cooling, leading to staling and a less than ideal texture. Trehalose's unique structure interferes with this process, offering several advantages:

    • Longer-lasting Softness: Baked goods like breads and pastries maintain their soft texture for longer, delaying the onset of staling.

    • Improved Freeze-Thaw Stability: Products containing TREHA® can be frozen and thawed without experiencing significant textural changes.

    • Retention of Frozen Bread Quality: TREHA® retains the quality of frozen bread during freezing and thawing thus reducing food loss.

  • Suppression of Protein Denaturation: Baking procedures such as mixing and baking can cause proteins to denature, leading to texture changes and reduced functionality. Trehalose offers protection:

    • Improved Batter Stability: Protein stabilization by TREHA®leads to batters that whip better and hold their shape, improving baking results.

    • Finer Cake Crumb: By stabilizing whipped egg, TREHA® contributes to a more delicate and fine crumb structure in cakes.

These properties translate beautifully into the world of sponge cake baking:

  • Egg Reduction Made Possible: Due to its ability to stabilize the bubbles in whipped eggs, TREHA®compensates for the functional properties of eggs, allowing for egg reduction without compromising cake volume or texture. Bakers can achieve desired crumb structure and rise even with lower egg content, leading to substantial cost savings.

  • Enhanced Stability and Shelf Life: Even when added as a partial replacement of sugar, TREHA®inhibits its re-crystallization keeping cakes moist and fresh for longer. This reduces waste and extends product shelf life, particularly important for commercial bakeries and retailers.

  • Improved Texture and Flavor: TREHA®'s stabilization of air bubbles leads to a softer, airier crumb and a more desirable mouthfeel. Additionally, its subtle sweetness complements existing cake flavors without overpowering them.

While cost savings and shelf life are significant benefits, TREHA® offers additional advantages:

  • Sustainability: Reducing egg reliance leads to lower environmental impact associated with egg production.

  • Allergy-Friendly: TREHA® can be a valuable ingredient for creating egg-free or egg-reduced options, catering to consumers with allergies or dietary restrictions.

  • Versatility: TREHA® can be easily incorporated into existing sponge cake recipes without major reformulations, offering a convenient solution for bakers and baked product manufacturers.


Egg Reduction Benefits with TREHA®

To empirically validate the benefits of TREHA® we conducted a dedicated experiment to investigate the synergistic interplay between TREHA® and egg reduction in sponge cakes. Three sets of cake batters were prepared, mirroring a standard sponge cake recipe. While the first batter contained 100% of the egg content recommended in the recipe, the second and third batches of batter contained only 70% of the recommended egg locating. In the third batch, we added a pre-determined dosage of TREHA®, strategically replacing a fraction of the sugar typically used.


The tests reveal the remarkable potential of TREHA® in preserving crucial cake characteristics in the face of egg reduction:

  • Enhanced Volume: Notably, the TREHA®-enriched cakes exhibited increased volume compared to the cakes containing only 70% of the full egg quantity. This suggests that TREHA® supports the air bubbles in whipped eggs leading to taller and puffier cakes.

  • Preserved Air Retention: Examination of the crumb structure revealed that the TREHA® cakes possessed a finer and more evenly distributed air cell network compared to the control cakes. This indicates TREHA®’s ability to stabilize aerated batters, promoting efficient air bubble formation and retention during baking, ultimately contributing to increased volume.

These findings highlight the potent egg-reduction potential of TREHA® in sponge cake formulations.

To objectively assess the impact on texture, a hardness test was conducted on the same batches after baking. Cakes were stored at room temperature and refrigerated for four days, mimicking real-world storage conditions. Hardness measurements were taken at regular intervals throughout the storage period.

As expected, the control cake lost some softness during storage at room temperature and in the fridge. However, the cake with reduced egg content exhibited a significant increase in hardness after just four days, both at room temperature and under refrigeration. This confirms the textural challenges associated with egg reduction.

Remarkably, the cake containing both reduced egg and TREHA® displayed a significantly slower rate of hardening compared to its egg-reduced counterpart. While some firming was observed, the texture remained closer to the control even after four days, demonstrating TREHA®'s effectiveness in preserving softness.

This experiment provides compelling evidence that TREHA® can effectively address the textural challenges associated with egg reduction in sponge cakes. By maintaining a softer crumb for longer, TREHA® offers:

  • Enhanced Product Quality: Consumers enjoy a consistently pleasant texture, even with reduced egg content.

  • Extended Shelf Life: Reduced risk of product spoilage and waste, leading to improved profitability for bakers and baked product manufacturers.

  • Versatility and Convenience: Existing recipes can be easily adapted with minimal reformulation.

The challenges of limited shelf life and egg dependence no longer need to constrain your baking ambitions. TREHA® offers innovative solutions which are scientifically proven to enhance your processes, elevate product quality, and unlock new possibilities in baking. Unleash the egg-reduction potential of TREHA®, preserving cake volume, air retention, and a delightful texture, even with less eggs. Contact us today to discuss how TREHA® can help you achieve baking excellence and propel your business forward.

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