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Classic Chiffon Cake

An all-purpose classic recipe for chiffon cake that can be adapted to make chiffon cakes in many different flavors. See also, guava chiffon cake recipe #1 and recipe #2

After two decades of carefully guarding his secret recipe, making his special cake only for the reigning royalty of the silver screen, the Hollywood baker-inventor Harry Baker sold his formula to General Mills, who gave his innovation the now-famous name chiffon cake. With numerous variations, it became a nationwide sensation during the late 1940s and into the 1950s, and today is still appreciated for its light and springy texture.

Chiffon cakes, like angel food cakes, are baked in ungreased pans so that the batter can cling to the sides as it rises during baking and the cake will not fall out when hung upside down to cool.

CAKE BATTER
-2 cups cake flour
-1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup canola or other high-quality flavorless vegetable oil
-1/2 cup egg yolks (from 6 or 7 eggs), at room temperature, lightly beaten
-2 teaspoons grated or minced fresh lemon zest
-1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

MERINGUE
-1 1/4 cups egg whites (from about 10 eggs), at room temperature
-1 teaspoon cream of tartar
-Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
-Position racks so that the cake will bake in the middle of an oven and
-preheat the oven to 325 F.

Select a 10-inch angel food or other straight tube pan with a removable bottom; do not grease or line. Set aside.

Place the flour, 1 1/4 cups of the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a strainer or sifter and sift into a bowl. Whisk to mix well. Add 3/4 cup water, the oil, egg yolks, lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until very smooth, about 1 minute. Set aside.

In the metal bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whip, or in a metal bowl with a hand mixer and clean beaters, beat the egg whites at low speed until frothy bubbles cover the surface. Add the cream of tartar, increase the speed to medium, and beat until very soft, billowy mounds form when the beater is slowly raised. With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until very thick and stiff but not quite dry, about 6 minutes if using a stand mixer, or about 10 minutes if using a hand mixer. (It is important that the whites not be underbeaten; they should be stiffer than for angel food cake or meringue.)

Transfer about one-fourth of the egg whites to the cake batter and stir gently to incorporate and lighten the mixture. Add the remaining egg whites and, using a large balloon whisk or rubber spatula, gently fold them as directed on page xx into the batter just until incorporated.

Gently scrape the batter into the reserved pan and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the thickest part with your fingertip and a wooden skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour; to prevent falling, do not open the oven door until near the end of the minimum baking time.

Remove the pan to a work surface and turn it upside down, resting the center hole of the pan over a long-necked bottle or metal funnel to elevate the pan. Let stand in a draft-free area until the cake is cooled completely, at least 11/2 hours, then remove the cake from the pan.

Transfer the cake to a serving plate and dust with powdered sugar (if using). Use a long serrated knife and sawing motions to cut the cake.

Makes 12 servings.

VARIATIONS

Butterscotch Chiffon Cake. Substitute 3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar for 3/4 cup of the granulated sugar. Spoon Caramel Glaze over the cooled cake.

Chocolate Chiffon Cake. Substitute 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa for 1/2 cup of the flour. Omit the lemon zest. Spoon Chocolate Glaze over the cooled cake.

Coffee Chiffon Cake. Substitute 1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur or 1 tablespoon instant espresso dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water for 1/4 cup of the water. Omit the lemon zest. Spoon Coffee Glaze over the cooled cake.

Guava or Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake. Substitute fresh or thawed frozen guava or passion fruit pulp or thawed frozen juice concentrate for the water. If desired, add a touch of pink or red food coloring (for guava) or orange or yellow food coloring (for passion fruit) along with the vanilla to simulate the fresh fruit color. Spoon Guava or Passion Fruit Glaze over the cooled cake. Alternatively, split the cooled cake into 3 layers and fill with Fruit Pudding Filling made with guava or passion fruit. Stir 1/4 cup pulp or juice concentrate and a touch of pink or red food coloring (for guava) or orange or yellow food coloring (for passion fruit) into Whipped Cream Frosting and frost the top and sides of the cake, then drizzle 1/4 cup of the same pulp or juice concentrate over the top and swirl with a spatula.

Lemon or Lime Chiffon Cake. Substitute 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice for 3 tablespoons of the water. Add an additional 1 tablespoon finely grated or minced fresh lemon or lime zest. Reduce the vanilla to 2 teaspoons and add 1 teaspoon pure lemon extract. Spoon Citrus Glaze made with lemon or lime juice and zest over the cooled cake.

Orange or Tangerine Chiffon Cake. Substitute freshly squeezed orange or tangerine juice for the water and 3 tablespoons finely grated or minced fresh orange or tangerine zest for the lemon zest. Reduce the vanilla to 21/2 teaspoons and add 1/2 teaspoon pure orange extract. Spoon Citrus Glaze made with orange or tangerine juice and zest over the cooled cake.

See also:
- Guava Chiffon Cake Recipes
- More Hawaiian Cake Recipes
- Hawaiian Dessert Recipes
- Alphabetical Index to All Recipes



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