Sunday, January 16, 2011

eat; orange chiffon cake

The other week I wanted to bake. It was during our six days of continuous rain here in Los Angeles and it was COLD! In the fridge were some oranges and I couldn't think of anything better to warm the house up than with the smell of oranges running through with the warmth of the oven. This cake is divine! It is light and fluffy and goes really well with vanilla bean whipped cream. We unfortunately did not have cream to serve with it on the night, but let me tell you, the day after, I was heading for a B-line straight for some cream!!!

Chiffon cakes were invented in the 1920s by a Californian (how appropriate!) named Henry Baker who went on to sell his recipe to General Mills in the 1940s. Chiffon cakes were popular in the 1950s and then seemed to fade away. I can imagine the ladies in their full skirt floral dresses, bum in the air opening the oven door to check if their cake was ready...and their kitchens! I got this recipe from the joy of baking website where the recipe was adapted from The Woman's Association of St. Paul's United Church's (Spryfield, Nova Scotia) "Book One Favorite Recipes" dated 1956.  So this would have actually been a recipe those 1950's housewives would have followed!!!!!

Here is the recipe. There are a few things to watch for that I'll mention throughout the recipe.

What you need;

6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature plus 1 additional egg white
2 1/4 cups of sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups of castor sugar
1 Tb baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
3/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
2 Tb orange zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cream of tartar (this can be replaced by baking powder)

Separate the eggs into two bowls. Preheat the oven to 170c (325f) and grease up then flour a 10" (25cm) ring cake tin.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, place sifted flour (don't be lazy here, the flour MUST be sifted). sugar (minus 3 Tb), baking powder and salt. Mix together until combined. 

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the egg yolks, oil, orange juice and zest and vanilla extract. Beat about one minute or until smooth. I don't have a mixer here in my share house in L.A so I did this step with a bit of elbow grease and a whisk.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are foamy. Add the cream of tarter and continue beating until soft peaks form. 

Gradually beat in the 3 Tb of sugar until stiff peaks form. Make sure you do beat it until it is glossy and the peaks form and be careful not to over beat! The eggs will kind of separate if you did beat it too much.

With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter just until blended. Be careful NOT to deflate the batter. This cake is amazingly light and fluffy because of this step, so be gentle and stop turning when it is just mixed.

Pour batter into prepared cake tin and bake for about 55-60 minutes. Check with a skewer jabbing the cake close to the rings center.

Once cooked, invert the cake on a wire cooling rack whilst still hot. Let cake cool completely before removing from the pan. Once cool, run a long metal spatula around the inside of the ring tin and the center core.  Dust with icing sugar and voila, you have an amazing Orange Chiffon Cake to share with your friends!!!!

This cake will be good for a few days at room temperature or a week in the fridge. It can also be frozen.

You can replace the orange with lemon or lime for different flavours.

Buon Appetito!!!!

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