As much as I love my trustworthy chocolate cake recipes, I decided it's time to try my hands at making chiffon cake last week.But which recipe should I entrust my first chiffon cake experiment? In the end, I decided to go with Espresso Chiffon Cake with Caramel Glaze from Carole Broom's Essential Baker. Surely I can't resist a recipe with name like this! And what would be a better breakfast item to bring on OCT's weekly lab meeting?
The final result was light and flavorful. But not too sweet. I like how the espresso aroma filled the room when the cake was out from the oven. The soft and airy texture was reminiscent of my childhood. This is the kind of cakes which I liked to buy from the Asian bakeries. Often filled with chocolate buttercream. I was instantly transformed back to my childhood.
Needless to say, I am ecstatic that I could replicate this familiar comfort food memory in my apartment kitchen. Never mind that I am zillion miles away from home. I cut a huge piece for myself after the cake was frosted with caramel glaze, and paired it with a cup of coffee. It was a great afternoon tea. The rest was packed and sent for the next day's breakfast meeting.Now that I have a taste of my childhood chiffon cake, I can't stop thinking about it. I decided to do something unprecedented in my short baking life. I baked the same chiffon cake again! This time, frosted with a bittersweet chocolate ganache for a dinner party.
The effect is not unlike a woman who takes off her serious working clothes and put on an elegant evening gown. The version of Espresso Chiffon Cake adorned with Bittersweet Ganache albeit simple, was sophisticated and elegant. Not to mention, delicious; with the accompaniment of ice cream.
I have to admit, I much prefer the second version. But I maybe bias, as I like anything with coffee and chocolate together.
Espresso Chiffon Cake with Caramel Glaze
adapted from Carol Bloom's Essential Baker
Ingredients for Espresso Chiffon Cake:
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup unflavored vegetable oil (canola or safflower)
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste
2 1/4 cups cake flour (I used all purpose flour with no problem)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar, separated
6 extra large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
For Caramel Glaze:
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 ounces (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
For Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 72% chocolate), finely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 to 2 tablespoons rum
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 325F.
Cut a round of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and cut out a hole in the middle to fit the center tube of the pan. This cake is baked in an ungreased pan because greasing the pan would keep the batter from rising and gripping the sides of the pan as the cake bakes.
In a large measuring cup or medium bowl, dissolve the espresso powder in the water, Add the oil,vanilla and eggyolks. Whisk until well combined.
Over a large piece of parchment paper or bowl sift together the flour and baking powder. Add 1 cup of sugar and salt and stir together.
Make a well in the center of the mixture by pushing the dry ingredients towards the side of the bowl. Add the espresso mixture. Using a rubber spatula, stir together until thoroughly combined.
Place the egg whites in the grease free bowl of an electric mixer or in a large grease free bowl. Using the wire whip attachment or a hand held mixer, whip the egg whites on medium speed until they are frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Slowly sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and continue whipping until the egg whites hold glossy and firm but not stiff, peaks, about 5 minutes.
Fold the egg whites into the cake batter in 3 to 4 stages, blending thoroughly after each addition. Transfer the batter to the tube pan. Use the rubber spatula to smooth and even the top.
Bake for 1 hour, or until the cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.(Mine took 45-50 minutes).
Remove the pan from the oven and invert it over a cooling rack onto its feet or over a funnel or a thin necked bottle. Let the cake hanf to cook completely. Don't set the pan on a cooling rack on its base. This will cause the cake to collapse onto itself.
Don't shake the cake out of the pan before it is cool. Once the cake is cool. use a thin blade knife or flexible blade spatula to run across the outer edge and the inside tube to help release the cake from the pan. Invert the cake onto a rack, then reinvert onto a serving plate.
Making the Caramel Glaze:
Place the sugar, butter and cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the mixture is very smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly. Stir in the confectioners' sugar until very smooth.
Place the cake on a rack over a lined baking sheet. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake and let it run down the sides. Let the glaze set for 10 minutes, then cut into serving pieces.
Making Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
Heat cream, sugar, rum in a saucepan over medium heat until it simmers and bubbles forming on the sides of saucepan. Remove from heat and pour cream over chopped chocolate. Using a rubber spatula, stir to melt chocolate with hot cream until the mixture turns glossy and smooth. Let the chocolate ganache cool to pouring consistency. Pour over the chiffon cake. The leftover is delicious to eat with a spoon or as spread on bread.
Serves 12 to 14.
Note on keeping:
The unglazed cake can be kept in room temperature for 3 days and up to 4 month in freezer, when tightly wrapped in plastic. If frozen, defrost overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
Once the cake is glazed, it can be kept, lightly covered with waxed paper and then tightly covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for 1 day. (Mine was kept in refrigerator for 3 days with no problem)