Baking partners, the group of baking enthusiasts who came together and started baking together completed its one year this month. I have been a part of this group started by Swathi Iyer of Zesty South Indian Kitchen since the beginning of this year and I have thoroughly enjoyed baking with these amazing bakers. I have learned several new techniques and recipes with this group which I would have never attempted otherwise.
I am very happy to say that this month’s baking challenge; the Chiffon cake would also be my 200th post. Thank you one and all for all your support and encouragement.
Coming to the cake, I have always awed seeing the texture of this cake. Making this cake does require some mind blowing steps which were fun to do, but it is not a hard recipe. If followed correctly, the cake could be made within couple of hours.
Chiffon cakes are foam cakes that have a soft and spongy texture. This cake is very similar in appearance to angel food cake and is usually baked in the same type of tube pan. Chiffon cakes, unlike angel food cakes, contain both egg yolks and vegetable oil. These two ingredients keep the cake moist, soft and tender that tastes great and keeps well.
Even when refrigerated this cake remains soft. The reason being that this cake contains oil instead of butter which remains soft even in the refrigerator unlike butter which hardens when refrigerated. . Because of the lower fat level than butter cake and less cholesterol and saturated fat, this could very well be the guilt free cake that you could indulge in.
The chiffon cake was created by Harry Baker, a Los Angeles insurance agent, in 1927. Baker carefully guarded his secret technique for almost two decades, only selling his cakes to celebrities and the famous Brown Derby restaurant. The popularity of his cakes grew quickly, and he eventually sold the recipe to General Mills in 1947.
Now, Mr. Baker had two big secrets with his chiffon cake recipe. The first is that chiffon cakes use oil instead of butter, which aides in the airy quality of the cake. It is also nice because the cake can be refrigerated without firming up. The second secret of the chiffon cake is to whip the egg whites separately from the yolks and to fold them ever so gently into the batter. If done correctly, the results are divine. If not, you can end up with an oozy-gooey mess in your pans.
Preparation time – 30 mins
Cooking time – 50 – 55 mins
Difficulty level – medium
Ingredients – Makes 1 – 10 inch tube pan
Dry Ingredients –
- Cake flour – 2 ¼ cup/ 8 oz/ 225 gms
- Sugar (caster) – 1 ½ cups/300 gms
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Baking soda – ½ tsp
- Lemon zest – 1 ½ tbsp
- Egg yolk – from 3 large eggs
- Water (room temp) – 2/3 cup/ 156 gms
- Oil (vegetable or canola) – ½ cup / 108gms
- Lemon juice (freshly squeezed) – 2 tbsp/ 30 gms
- Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
- Egg whites – from 7 large eggs
- Cream of tartar – 1 ¼ tsp
- Sugar – 2 tbsp
- Separate the eggs and leave it outside in room temperature for at least half an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325 F. Keep the 10 inch tube pan with detachable base ready. Do not grease the pan. It is important to leave the pan ungreased to enable the cake to rise.
- In a large bowl, measure the sugar. Add the lemon zest and work it with the sugar until the sugar becomes grainy and very aromatic.
- Now add the cake flour, salt and baking soda to the bowl and mix them well.
- Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add all the wet ingredients in the well. Using a whisk, mix all the ingredients well together until there are no lumps and the batter becomes smooth.
- To make the meringue – In a clean large mixing bowl, add the egg whites and start beating them until they are grainy and foamy.
- Now add the cream of tartar and beat it on medium speed until soft peaks form. Soft peak is a stage where the beater whisk makes mark, but the peaks fall off the whisk. At this stage start adding the 2 tbsp of sugar gradually and beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. This is the stage when the peaks stand in an upright position without falling off the whisk.
- Slowly add about 1/3rd of the egg white to the prepared batter and gently stir it until well incorporate. Use folding motion to mix the egg whites rather than quick mixing. Take care not to deflate the egg whites when mixing.
- Add the remaining egg whites in 2 more batches and incorporate it well until no trace of egg white can be found in the batter.
- Transfer the batter into ungreased tube pan. Run a knife or spatula through the batter few times to remove any air pockets from batter.
- Bake for 50 – 55 mins until the cake bounces back when gently pressed in the center. Try to bake close to it actual baking time, since the cake would be gooey mess when undercooked. If the top seems to be browning a bit too quick, cover the pan with foil and continue baking to its actual baking time.
- Once cooked, remove it from the oven and immediately invert it over a bottle or anything similar that could hold the pan safely upside down. Also make sure that there is space in between the counter and the pan so there is enough air flow to cool the cake.
- Let the cake remain in this position until completely cool, about 2 hrs.
- Now run a blunt knife or a spatula against the wall of the pan to loosen the cake.
- Remove the cake with from the pan with its base intact. Now run a knife under the base of the pan and remove the cake carefully.
- Place it on the serving tray with the bottom side on top and dust with confectionery sugar!
- This cake remains fresh up to 3 days in room temperature, 10 days in the refrigerator and for up to a month in the freezer.