Chiffon (pronounced She-fon) cakes are a type of foam cakes and are light & soft & definitely yummy !! They contain egg yolks and whites separately whisked and folded in together with vegetable oil, all which makes them moist, soft & light.. This cake doesn't call for butter & the lower quantity of sugar gives me an extra reason to savor this low cholesterol cake;) Use of oil instead of butter aides in the airy quality of the cake & gives a longer shelf or refrigeration life. Refrigeration makes the oil in the cake soft & the cake becomes all the more tender. Deeps liked to have it chilled & directly from the fridge. He said, 'It tastes better when chilled'. Even my neighbor & friend 'P' was very happy with the cake & said it tasted awesome :D
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.
I have halved the recipe here & used some substitutes for ingredients not available in this town. Refer the notes too while baking this cake, as they can help you get a perfect cake on your first attempt itself. The whisking of the egg whites is the most important part.. U get that right, consider half the work done. So lets see how to make this soft & tender cake. I have used normal buttercream icing & strawberries for serving.
Recipe Source: Adapted from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
Serves: An 8 inch round cake pan with a ramekin in the middle
Store: Stays fresh for 3 days in room temperature, 10 days refrigerated, 2 months frozen
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 50 minutes
Cooling Time: 85 minutes
- In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients. First work the sugar & lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is grainy & very aromatic. Add the all purpose flour, corn flour (or the cake flour - refer notes), baking soda and salt to it
- Whisk together until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. If you have a stand mixer, use the beater attachment & beat on low
- Then make a well in the center of the ingredients and add the oil, egg yolks, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix until the batter is smooth & has no lumps. In a stand mixer, mix for about 1 minute on medium speed
- In a second large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Add lemon juice (or cream of tartar) & beat (if on stand mixer, beat on medium speed) until they reach soft peak stage. This happens when the whisk or the beater start to leave a trail or when the peaks fall over when the whisk is raised
- At this stage add the 1 tbsp sugar & continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks when the whisk is raised
- Using the balloon whisk (or a slotted spoon) add ⅓ of the egg whites to the cake batter & gently stir until incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites to the cake batter and very gently fold them into the batter until they are incorporated and no trace of egg whites remain
- Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan and run a metal spatula or knife through the batter to prevent air pockets. If you do not have a tube pan but would like to have a similar shape, then place an oven usable ramekin in the centre of your round pan and pour the batter to the sides of the ramekin as I did
- Preheat the oven on conventional mode at 165 degrees
- Bake in the lower rack of the oven for 50-55 minutes (refer your oven manual too) or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed in the center
- Once cooked, take the cake pan & immediately turn it upside down on a bottle (or another ramekin or tumbler - whichever suits best for the pan). Allow to cool completely which took about 85 minutes for me
- Use a palette knife and loose the sides of the cake. Pull out the sides and work similarly on the bottom. Turn it over on to a plate upside down & sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar or a topping of your choice & serve
- Do not grease or line or flour the cake pan. This will hinder the cake from rising up
- Always use large eggs as called for in the recipe. Do not use medium or small sized eggs
- Try to use castor sugar than normal ones
- The recipe calls for cake flour, but since I could not get it here, I used the substitute. Take an equal amount of All purpose flour. Remove 2 tbsps of flour from it & replace it with 2 tbsps of corn flour (NOT corn meal). This works just fine
- Cream of tartar is used to stabilize the egg whites while beating up. Since I couldn't get those, I used the substitute lemon juice. Works perfectly OK
- Make sure that the bowl used to whisk egg whites are clean & grease free. Traces of grease or egg yolks will not guarantee you proper whisking of whites
- Proper & correct whisking of egg whites is essential to ensure the texture of the cake. Under or over beating can cause the cake to collapse or become too hard. Do the 'Overturn bowl test' to ensure that your whisking is the right amount. When you overturn the bowl of the whisked egg whites, it should hold & must not fall off
- Do not let the egg whites sit for long once whisked. Immediately fold it onto the cake batter as this stage of stiff peaks is short lived
- Take care while folding in the egg whites as over folding can cause the egg whites & thus the cake to deflate. Fold in gently using a whisk
- Before pouring the batter into the pan, take the bowl and hit against the kitchen counter. This will cause bubbles to rise up to the top and pop. Do not hit the pan after pouring the batter as this may cause the formation of more bubbles
Here are some links that helped me greatly. Hope you guys too find it useful !
Wanna see what the others in the Baking Partners group baked??