Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Orange Chiffon Cake

Behold: the orange chiffon cake.  The cake that was devoured by my family.  The cake that we actually finished, namely due to the fact that my mother ate multiple pieces of it every day.  This, my friends, is the cake that you should make the next time you have to make a cake because of how simply amazing it is.

If you like angel food cake, chances are, chiffon cakes are for you.  The biggest difference from what I can see is that angel food cakes call for a shocking 12 egg whites, and chiffon cakes require 7 eggs, yolks included.  I always feel better when the whole egg is used and not wasted!  The process was similar to the cake part of a baked Alaska; you make a cake batter with all sorts of good stuff like orange juice and zest, and then whip up some egg whites and fold the two together.  You end up with a super light and airy batter that gets poured into a tube pan and baked.  It always makes me nervous to hang a cake upside down while it cools, but it's just the nature of angel food and chiffon cakes, I suppose.  When it was ready, I took it out of the pan and dribbled the glaze all over it - which by the way has even more orange juice and zest in it.  In case you couldn't guess, this is a very orange-y cake.

The end result, as I've said, is possibly my most popular baked good of all time.  Everyone who tasted it raved about it, especially Mom; after all, I've told you she ate multiple pieces every day, and ever since we ran out, she has been asking me daily to bake her a new one.  It's really not that difficult to make either, so I will be caving in very soon and making her another light, fluffy, citrusy orange chiffon cake.

One note: do not grease your pan!  You only have to make sure there aren't any drops of batter on the sides of it; the cake will "creep"up the clean sides of the pan and have something to cling to :)


orange chiffon cake
from Treats

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
7 large eggs, 2 left whole, 5 separated
2 medium oranges, zested to yield 2 tablespoons zest
3/4 cup orange juice (from oranges above)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
orange glaze recipe (see below)


1) Adjust rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.  Whisk sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl (at  least 4 quart size).  Whisk in 2 whole eggs, five egg yolks (reserve whites), orange juice and zest, oil, and vanilla extract until batter is just smooth.

2) Pour reserved egg whites into large bowl; beat at medium speed with electric mire until foamy, about 1 minute.  Add cream of tartar, increase speed to medium-high, then beat whites until very thick and stiff, just short of dry, 9 to 10 minutes with handheld mixer and 5 to 7 minutes in KitchenAid or any other standing mixer.  With large rubber spatula, fold whites into batter, smearing in any blobs of white that resist blending with flat side of spatula.

3) Pour batter into large tube pan (9 inch diameter, 16 cup capacity).  Rap pan against countertop five times to rupture any large air pockets.  If using two-piece pan, grasp on both sides with your hands while firmly pressing down on the tube with thumbs to keep batter from seeping underneath pan during this rapping process.  Wipe off any batter that may have dripped or splashed onto inside walls of pan with paper towel.

4) Bake cake until wire cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes.  Immediately turn cake upside down to cool.  If pan does not have prongs around rim for elevating cake, invert pan over bottle or funnel, inserted through tube.  Let cake hang until completely cool, about 2 hours.

5) To unmold, turn pan upright.  Run frosting spatula or thin knife around pan's circumference between cake and pan wall, always pressing it against the pan.  Use cake tester to loosen cake from tube.  For one-piece pan, bang it on the counter several times, then invert over serving plate.  For two-piece pan, grasp the tube and lift it out of the cake pan.  If glazing the cake, use a fork or paring knife to gently scrape all the crust off the cake (I didn't do this part).  Loosen cake from pan bottom with spatula or knife, then invert cake onto plate.  It can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature 2 days or refrigerated 4 days.

Orange glaze:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 - 5 tablespoons orange juice
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest

Beat butter, 4 tablespoon of orange juice, sugar and zest in a medium bowl until smooth.  Let glaze stand 1 minute, then try spreading a little on the cake.  If cake threatens to tear, thin glaze with up to 1 tablespoon more liquid.  A little at a time, spread glaze over cake top, letting excess dribble down sides.  If you like, speed dribbles to make a thin, smooth coat.

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