Baking, an area which is so specialized in the art of cooking offers a wide range of cakes. Cakes are always loved by all. My family love cakes. I have mentioned before I think that I started my culinary journey with cake baking and desserts. Till date, this area of culinary arts is always a preferred one for me. Though I haven’t learned professionally, I still love baking and decorating it.
Chiffon cakes have gained wide acceptance during the years. American, Harry Baker, an insurance agent is said to have invented the original chiffon cake. For me, Japanese were to be the masters of chiffon cakes. Japanese chiffon cakes are well known these days that my kids have been asking to make it. This is where my journey started in exploring the history and possibilities of chiffon cakes. The beauty of this cake is the light and airy texture. Egg whites are the main star of this cake.
Egg whites are separated from the yolk and beaten to stiff, foamy peaks which makes this cake the most lightest. Butter or shortening, which is mandatory for normal cakes, are replaced with oil. Quantity of oil is also very less, which helps in getting a light and airy cake. Japanese chiffon cakes are the most versatile ones. They are so simple, with the regular pantry ingredients, yet very inviting. Less in sugar, flavor of your choice, this can be simply had with tea/coffee or can be made into an ultimate ecstacy by decorating with chocolate, cream or icing and decadent by adding fruits, nuts or spices of your choice.
It is after several attempts that my chiffon cakes started turning into perfect texture. My heartfelt thanks to(https:/www.justonecookbook.com/perfect-chiffon-cake/) for the great tips she shared while using the cake pan and the consistency and ways of handling egg whites. There were many other same procedures which we both did for making a perfect cake. I was so happy that my mind worked exactly the same way as it should have been without knowing that her blog existed. I never knew she also baked a cardamom orange chiffon cake until I went through her website. What a coincidence!!!!!
Beating up the egg whites into white soft peaks is the core technique of this cake. Cream of tartar is not a must in this recipe. Japanese dont use this. Instead they chill the egg whites and then whip it to firm stiff peaks. Usually no leaveners are used in Japanese chiffon cakes or any types of chiffon cakes. Since I did not want to take risk, I added a tiny bit of baking powder. You can try it out without the baking powder and tartar.
Here are the tips from Nami, from justonecookbook.com for a perfect chiffon cake. I thought it is best to share this here so you all can make it like I did, rather than me writing it.
What Makes a Perfect Chiffon Cake and How to Achieve It?
Here are the characteristics of a perfect chiffon cake:
It rises tall and straight to the top of the chiffon cake pan without caving into itself. No big holes or air pockets all around The texture of the sponge is light, fine, airy, fluffy, and bouncy. The sponge is very moist, and usually not overly sweet (especially if you are making a Japanese chiffon cake recipe).
In order to make a perfect chiffon cake, there are a few important factors. So let’s go over them.
- Use the right chiffon cake pan.
Make sure you use the right chiffon cake pan. The best types are the aluminum pan with a removable base. Make sure the pan is NOT non-stick. Do not grease the mold because the cake needs to cling to the sides and center of the pan for support as it rises. Otherwise, it will collapse.
- Let cool upside down.
The cake must be cooled upside down in its pan so that it stretches downward instead of collapsing. Stick the cake pan on a tall heavy bottle and let cool for 3-4 hours before removing the cake pan. If you use an angel food cake pan, invert the cake pan on a cooling rack.
3 Tips to Make Perfect Meringue (Beaten Egg Whites)
The key to the successful chiffon cake is the meringue – beaten egg whites. There is no clear and easy way to show how much beating is enough, except for your own trials and errors. I could only give you a few tips that may help you succeed.
- Chill egg whites (What?!)
I know, it’s a total opposite of what you learned in American recipes. I’ve seen most of the American recipes use room temperature egg whites to make meringue. However, almost all (99%) Japanese chiffon cake recipes require cold, well-refrigerated, or sometimes half-frozen egg whites, to make meringue without cream of tartar. Chilled egg whites will make very fine and smooth meringue with small and strong air bubbles inside. They remain strong even in the oven, and help the batter rise higher and fluffier. If you are not from the US, which method do you use?
- Whisk until stiff peak with a tip that folds over
There is always discussion on how much you should beat the egg whites. From my experience, it’s best to stop when you lift the whisk, the egg whites go straight up (stiff peak) and just the tip is soft enough that it folds over, like taking a bow.
Then switch from the hand-held electric mixer (or stand mixer) to a balloon whisk, and thoroughly mix the sides and center of egg whites a few times to get to the same consistency throughout.
- Mix in thoroughly with the whisk
I used to use a silicone spatula to fold beaten egg whites into the egg yolk mixture so that you won’t deflate the egg whites, which would result in a dry and dense cake. However, I have read several instructions and youtube videos that a balloon whisk is actually a better choice to incorporate egg whites into the batter. After a few trials, I am convinced that the whisk is the best way to fold in egg whites.
When you fold in egg whites, you might be afraid of breaking the air bubbles and may not mix the batter thoroughly. I felt the same way and always thought I mixed enough. However, when the egg whites are not mixed in with the mixture thoroughly, they would end up separated in the oven. As a result, it creates big air pockets/holes inside the batter while being baked.
Fold carefully and slowly so you would not deflate the egg whites. Fold in one-third of the egg whites first to lighten the batter, and then fold in another 1/3. Then transfer the mixed batter into the egg whites to fold the rest of egg whites.
I have used all purpose flour mixed with cornflour for replacing the cake flour. Perfect cake flour wont be available in many places so this can be the best substitute for the cake flour. Flavors, that is something you can play with according to your palatte. Since my daughter wanted a cardamom orange chiffon cake, I went with these flavors. Use normal vegetable oil like the sunflower for making this cake. Dont use olive, coconut et al for making this cake. I powdered some normal sugar with cardamom seeds so that the cardamom flavor gets well blended in the cake.
Chocolate and orange is a combination made in heaven. I love this flavor and I know most of you all like it. That’s why I went with a dark chocolate orange pair. This is a simple indulgent cake where beginners also can decorate the cake. Hence I opted for a ganache cake with candied oranges. Candied oranges can be made in batches and stored in airtight containers. It can be used for decorations as well as chopped and used in baking and desserts.
Hope you all will love this simple cake which is not very expensive as it containers the regular pantry staples like eggs, flour and oil. Do put in comments and feedback along with your suggestions for improvement too. Wishing one n all a very happy New year.
Sieve the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt. Set this aside.
Add the sugar to a mill grinder along with the deseeded cardamoms. Powder to a fine texture. This method will enhance the cardamom flavour. You can also add powdered cardamom separately when you sieve the dry ingredients if you are using confectioner’s sugar.
Transfer the powdered sugar cardamom to a large mixing bowl. Along with this add the confectioner’s sugar(icing sugar) and egg yolks to the bowl. Using a hand mixer, beat these ingredients till you get a pale and creamy mixture. Do this on a medium high speed(3-4). You can use a hand whisk or stand mixer all for the same. To this creamed mixture, add the rind and oil and beat again till it becomes more paler. About 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the egg whites to a stand mixer bowl. Add the cream of tartar.
Chilled egg whites will make very fine and smooth meringue with small and strong air bubbles inside. They remain very strong even in the oven, and help the batter rise higher and fluffier.Always use baloon whisk for beating egg whites. Hand whisk is also perfect for this though you might need to do a hand work out for this:)
Place the whisk and start beating the egg whites on high speed. I did it on maximum speed. Beat it till airy, white and stiff.
It’s best to stop, when you lift the whisk, the egg whites go straight up and just the tip is soft enough that it folds over, like taking a bow. This means, you should get a line when you lift your whisk.
Meanwhile, add the orange essence, orange blossom water and half of the orange juice to the wet ingredients and beat for 30 seconds followed by addition of the dry ingredients.
Combine on the lowest speed until well mixed without lumps. Don’t over beat. Now add the stiff egg whites in three parts. Add the first batch and very gently combine with a spatula without breaking airy texture. The cake batter should get lighter by each addition.
The egg whites should be added immediately to the batter as soon as it is done. So do these methods side by side. Egg whites should be blended into the batter completely.
Take a chiffon cake pan as shown in the video. Aluminium chiffon cakes are the best. Please don’t grease or flour the base and sides of the pan as this will sink the cake.
Transfer the batter to the pan slowly .Tap the pan few times to let air bubbles out. Run a knife through the batter so that no big air pockets are created inside the batter while being baked.
Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degree centigrade for 40 minutes.
Risen Spongy Cake:
Place it immediately on a wire rack upside down and cool it completely.
This is for ensuring that the cake does not shrink. Please visit my website for the detailed tips for making this cake as it is very important
Cake has completely cooled down. Gently give a push to the base of the cake until it’s lightly loosened. Put it back in the normal position. and run a spatula carefully through the edges and the middle. Now you can easily remove the cake the pan. Now run through the base of the cake and take it out gently and place it on the rack till your ganache and decorations are ready.
For making candied Oranges:
Wash and dry the oranges. Slice them as thinly as possible into rounds.
Add 1 1/2 cups sugar to a wide sauce pan along with 1/2 cup water.
Stir and melt the sugar. Allow it to thicken a bit. Now add the orange slices
Allow it to boil on low flame. Flip the oranges couple of times. Oranges will turn deep orange in color and will look glaced once its done. Sugar syrup will turn thick too. Approximately 20 minutes.
Drain the orange pieces on a baking sheet till its dry and cooled.
200 gms dark Chocolate
200 ml Fresh Cream
Weigh and add these both to a microwave proof bowl or cup. Microwave for 30 seconds and give a quick whisk. Put it back to microwave for another 30 seconds and whisk again till you get a smooth glaze. Set it aside to cool down a bit.
Place the cake on the wire rack. Using a Cake leveller, cut the cake into two. Soft spongy, airy inside. Since theres some crack on the cake, fill it with some ganache. Usually it comes out clean without any cracks.
Allow this dry up.
Mean while, I’m filling the center with a chocolate whip cream custard. You can go for a filling of your own or can avoid this completely. Take a piping bag with a star nozzle inserted.Flip the top of the piping bag down and place it on a large mug.Fill the custard and press it and turn it so that you get a cone shaped bag.
Pipe towards the edge of the base portion of the cake to get a dripping effect. Fill the custard on the inner part of the cake as well and level it with an offset spatula.Place the top half of the cake to the creamed base and press gently.
Now pour the ganache on to the cake, Ganache should be thick so that it does not seep into the cake.Spread it out with offset spatula evenly and till the edges on both sides.
Now loosen rest of the ganache with some more cream and microwave it for 30 seconds again. Immediately pour on to the first layer of ganache till its completely covered and dripping. Wait for a minute or two till the extra ganache is dripped off.
Place 2 spatulas on both sides of the cake and pick it up and place it on a cake stand/base/wire rack. Allow it to set for a couple of minutes.
Decorate with candied orange and edible silver pearls.
All left to your imagination. Simple and easy decorations for beginners and novice’s.Put this in refrigerator till set.
Slice and enjoy, serve it for your guests as desserts for Xmas or parties
A perfect and decadent gift for this festive season