Monday, 11 June 2012

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cakes is the number one cake I turn to if making a celebration cake with fruit and cream.  Its light airy layers are simply a delight to eat and sandwiched between luxuriant cream and fragrant fruit it gives you a feeling of real indulgence!  Of course you can eat chiffon cakes as they are - plain.  The moist yet light, springy texture slips down easily and you crave for another wedge! ;)

I saw several chiffon cakes posted recently (well, as in within past 3 months :p ) and it re-ignited an urge to bake a chiffon cake.  Since then I have lost count of how many I made.  Let's think now...  There was a vanilla one with cream and fruit for my niece's 3rd birthday... a chocolate one with chocolate cream for my mumma friend's birthday... I had a mango one with mango and cream... I made a plain lemon gluten-free one as a treat for a friend (she in turn asked me to make one for her partner's birthday, another gluten free lemon chiffon but decorated with cream and fruit)... I made a plain banana one for my mum to enjoy at work... and today I hastily whipped a chocolate one for my neighbour's birthday.  They had invited us to a BBQ at theirs and I don't like going to friend's places empty-handed.

It's my trusted chiffon recipe that I now tweak here and there to suit the flavour I'm making.  I think I rushed this one as it did fall out of the tin whilst cooling (which incidentally, NEVER happens).  I could have been upset about it but frankly, it was going to be filled with cream and topped with chocolate - it wasn't going to be a show-stopper but I believed I could patch it with cream and it'd be OK - edible at least. :)
Cream and ganache - a wonderful duo for hiding inconsistencies!

The recipe is originally from Sea Dragon: as I say, I tweak bits, but essentially, it's based on his recipe.  I have tried to take photos along the way to describe the stages as I know some people are daunted by chiffon cakes.  Below is what I used today.

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

4 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
85ml sunflower oil
30g cocoa powder
125ml water
100g plain flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Filling and topping:
50ml double cream
100g milk chocolate (broken into squares)
150ml double cream
2 small (37g) bags of Malteasers (chocolate covered honeycomb balls

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.  I used a 10" round springform tin as I was willing to sacrifice depth of size of cake.

Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder 3 times and set aside.

Using a stand-alone mixer, or an electric hand-whisk, whisk egg whites until foamy (think large washing up bubbles).  Add cream of tartar and continue to whisk until thick and white. Add the 120g sugar a quarter at a time while whisking until meringue is glossy and thick. The mixture should be able to hold its shape but not be too stiff or dry, the whites will not fall out of the bowl if inverted either.  If the whites are too stiff and dry, it will take a little more effort to combine them into the cake batter.

Whisk egg yolks and 60g of sugar until pale, thick and creamy.  The mix should leave a trail for a couple of seconds before disappearing into the mix when the whisk is raised.  Slowly add the oil as you continue to whisk - it will still stay lovely and thick.  Mix in the water.  Sift in the flour mix in 3 batches and fold in until combined.

Add 1/4 of the meringue into the cake batter and using a large spoon (I use a serving spoon), mix in the meringue to loosen the batter.  Add another 1/4 of the meringue and fold gently until combined.  Repeat until all meringue is incorporated into the cake batter.

Pour into the cake tin.  (If making a plain chiffon I use a chiffon tube pan, if decorating with cream I tend to use a 9" or 10" round springform tin so I don't get a hole in my cake from the tube.) Lift the cake tin about 2 inches above the counter top and drop tin on counter.  This helps remove any large air bubbles.

Bake for about 40 - 55 minutes until a skewer inserted in middle comes out clean.  Immediately turn the tin upside down with the cake still in it to cool.  You can support the tin on the edge on tin cans to allow air to circulate under the cake.  If using a chiffon tube, I insert the hole of the tube onto a wine bottle (with liquid in it!!!) and allow the cake to balance on the neck of the wine bottle to cool.  Leave to cool completely.

Put 50ml cream in a microwaveable bowl.  Heat in microwave for 30-40 seconds until cream is hot but not boiling.  Add the squares of chocolate and stir.  If there are still lumps of chocolate that won't melt, place in microwave for further 10 seconds.  Stir until smooth, then leave aside.  This is chocolate ganache.

Whisk the remaining cream until firm but not stiff peaks.  Using the side of a large bladed knife or a rolling pin, crush one bag of Malteasers until broken.  Fold Malteaser pieces into the cream and chill.
When cake is completely cold to the touch, split into 2 layers and sandwich with the Malteaser cream.

Give the ganache a stir before pouring ontop of cake and spread to cover.  Decorate with remaining bag of Malteasers.  Chill before serving.

The chiffon is usually higher than this but I think I measured my flour out wrong!
As I mentioned, my cake fell out of the tine during cooling.  I flipped the tin the right way up and tried to put the cake back into the tin.  The cake somehow cracked into 3 wedges!  I ran a thin spatula round the inside of the tin to loosen the edges before removing the springform collar.  I then slid the spatula under the cake to remove it from the base of the tin.  I assembled the wedges the best I could before proceeding to split, fill and decorate the cake.  I was hopingthe cream and ganache would patch and hide the cracks!  It wasn't the best looking chiffon I'd made but resembled a whole cake at least!

I'll do a post with step-by-step pictures and a separate post of chiffon cakes I've made - some decorated - some plain. :)

Looking back through my chiffon pictures on my blog - you can see where I have made a more successful Chocolate Chiffon!

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