My little boy turned 6 on Friday. He requested chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting for his class party, and vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting for his ‘friends party’ at the children’s museum next weekend. So, for his ‘family party’ (yes, that’s a total of 3 parties…and yes, I know it’s ridiculous) I wanted to make something completely different. My dad always reminisces about the amazing chiffon cake that his grandmother would make him every year for his birthday, so I thought I would see if I could recreate it!
All the recipes I found for ‘chiffon cake’ were fairly similar. Lots of egg whites, whipped to form ‘stiff peaks’, provide the leavening agent. Cake flour ensures that it stays light and fluffy. The finished cake must be inverted while cooling so it doesn’t collapse under it’s own weight. Sounds a bit daunting, no? I was willing to give it a try though, and I’m glad I did. This cake was absolutely delicious, and really not all that difficult. I’m not a huge fan of angel food cake, but this is a nice compromise between the light, spongy texture of angel food and the rich flavor of a traditional layer cake. I definitely recommend giving it a try!
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
- 1 1/3 cups cake flour (5 1/3 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7 large eggs, 2 whole, 5 separated, room temperature
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 5 egg yolks (reserving the whites), water, oil, and extracts. Stir just until the batter is smooth.
- Whisk egg whites in a standing mixer or with a hand mixer on low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Add cream of tarter. Increase speed to medium high and continue beating until the egg whites are very thick and stiff (7-10 minutes).
- Pour batter into an ungreased, 9 inch diameter tube pan. Don’t be tempted to oil the pan – it’s important that it’s ungreased so the cake will stay in the pan when you invert it during the cooling process. Tap pan on the counter 5 times to eliminate air pockets in the batter.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, approximately 60 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert it onto a wine bottle or large funnel. Let cool completely (approximately 3 hours).
- Turn the pan upright. Run a thin knife around the edge and invert onto a serving plate. Scrape the ‘crust’ off the top if you’re planning to glaze the cake.
- Glaze and serve. Or, wrap in plastic and store for up to 2 days.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 – 5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Beat the butter, 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, and confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Let stand 1 minute. If the glaze is too thick, add up to 1 tablespoon more lemon juice.
- Spread glaze over top of cake, allowing it to run down the sides. For a smooth coat, spread the drips evenly over the sides before they have a chance to harden. Let glaze dry (about 30 minutes).
I used slices of nectarine and fresh mint leaves to adorn this cake. You could top it with any type of fruit – strawberries or raspberries would be particularly tasty – or nothing at all. If you’re not using the glaze (or even if you are), I would recommend some fresh whipped cream to go along with it!
Recipe adapted from “The New Best Recipe, Revised Edition” from the Editors of Cook’s Illustrated (a book that I *highly* recommend adding to your collection).
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