As I grow older, I slowly got to understand my mother’s consumption habits, especially when it comes to food that she likes. And fashion too. When I was younger, she wore a lot of long sleeved top with colourful graphic prints which I thought was OTT, but now I am seeing those prints everywhere and even thought of getting one the other day. She also has a liking for anything with lace and linen (I used to question her taste for all things lacey) which I later became obsessed with for a while when I was in high school. I had no choice but to admit that “Yes mom, I now love lace too. Hey! We chose the same top!”. True story.
I mean, I always hear about how soft and fluffy it is and I’ve also tried it many times in my life, since young actually because it also happens to be my Mom’s favourite type of cake. So, it’s funny that I only start to like it now. That big pillow of airy cake, so light, can be boring at times and unsatisfying. That was exactly how i felt towards chiffon cake. How could my mom enjoy it so much. Perhaps its her Asian taste, preferring lighter desserts over rich creamy chocolate-y gooey brownies and cakes.
The chiffon cake that got me into this chiffon cake madness is the one from Azuma Patisserie. Everyone should try their chiffon cakes. It doesn’t need any explanation.
So I managed to get hold of a chiffon cake tin when I went back to Malaysia for my holidays. I even bought Okashi by Keiko Ishida, because I noticed her chiffon cakes recipes are everywhere. Since everyone made it look so easy, I tried.
Maybe the recipes are wrong, oven’s temperature wasn’t right, egg whites are not separated nicely and not beaten to its correct stiffness. I failed too many times. For other recipes, I tend to stay away from them a while if I fail the first time, but not for the chiffon cake. For everyone out there who failed at chiffon cakes, just keep trying.
Here, this time, I tried a recipe from the Australian Masterchef Magazine. This is the recipe which worked for me so far, but I think that is because of the higher flour content which differs from the Asian recipes.
Note for chiffon cakes:
Separate the egg whites when they are still cold (from the refrigerator) and let it slowly warm up to room temperature. I find it easier to separate them this way, if not the yolk tends to break easily. Tools must be absolutely clean as well. I rather have the cake stay longer in the oven than to take them out under cooked, because it will sink. Lastly, be patient while waiting for the cake to cool down after coming out from the oven. This will take more than an hour. You want it to be at least 85 percent cooled before removing it from the tin so that the cake is able to stand on its own and not collapse.
Orange poppyseed chiffon cake (makes a 25cm chiffon cake)
adapted from Masterchef magazine
400ml orange juice (to be reduced to half later)
7 eggs (separated)
330g (1 1/2 cups) castor sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
Zest from an orange
40g (1/4 cup) poppyseeds
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
300g (2cups) self raising flour (sifted)
1. Preheat oven to 190C.
2. Place orange juice in a small sauce pan and bring to boil over med high heat. Cook for about 10 minutes until the juice reduced by half. Cool.
3. Using an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks and 165g(3/4 cup) sugar in a large bowl until pale and thick.
4. Combine 180ml (3/4 cup) of the reduced orange juice, oil, poppyseeds and zest in a jug. Gradually add to the yolk mixture and whisk till combined.
5. In stainless steel bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks. Gradually add remaining 165g (3/4 cup) of sugar and whisk until stiff and glossy.
6. Add flour to egg yolk mixture using a wire whisk and whisk until well incorporated.
7. Take 1/3 of the meringue mixture and fold into the mixture using a wire whisk. This prepares the mixture for more meringue so it is easily incorporated later on. Then, fold in another 1/3 using the wire whisk gently. Finally, pour the mixture into the meringue bowl to incorporate the final 1/3 of the meringue.
8. Pour into chiffon cake tin and bake for 10min.
9. Reduce oven temperature to 170C and bake for another 50minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
10. Invert the cake tin after removing from the oven over a wine bottle. Leave cake to cool completely (may take more than an hour).
Reducing the orange juice to about half.
Invert the cake, with the help of a wine bottle. U need a bottle, trust me. I almost flatten my cake.
Chiffon cakes aren’t the prettiest cakes. To beautify them, whip up some whipped cream flavoured with syrup or just enjoy them bare as it is.
I didn’t use the fork in the end.