p/s: if you are reading this via feed, will you drop by my blog and check out my new layout? Although it's still a work in progress, I am happy that it's now cleaner and load faster than before.
Before I was 5 years old, orange was the only fruit I ate. And when being offered the colorful gummy bears or other fruity sweets, I wouldn't hesitate to pick only those with orange flavor. In fact, I would rather being offered Smarties, Kitkat or the Cadbury Chocolate, especially the one with hazelnut. That was my absolute favorite.
I couldn't remember how I outgrew the orange phrase, or rather what mum did to coax me to give other fruits a chance, but orange remains one of my favorite fruits. Even though nowaday I have also added lemon, mango, durian, cherry, apple, pear and grape to my favorite fruit list too.
I love eating oranges out of hand, and would usually choose to peel them by hand. I simply enjoy the process of peeling oranges. I love how after the vitamin C packed fruit is devored, its fragrant aroma lingers on the fingers.
As much as I love oranges, I seldom bake with them. My partner, who declared that he had eaten enough orange cake for a lifetime during his National Service forbid the presence of such cake in the house. Honestly I could hardly picture anyone eating orange cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner for one whole month! So OCT is an orange cake phobic. Everytime when I suggest to make an orange cake, he would wince and ask me to reconsider.
But I want to bake something with the beautiful oranges that I have just bought. In an attempt to make myself feel less guilty, I shall proceed and name this cake- Grand Marnier Chiffon Cake. Even though the batter has only 1 tablespoon of Grand Marnier, and as much as 3/4 cup of orange juice. No, the mention of orange chiffon cake will not be accepted in this household. But Grand Marnier chiffon cake is a totally different matter. It is soon being fully endorsed by my partner who is averse to orange cake! So you see, naming the food is as important as the food itself, if not more in this hiffon cake case.
You can omit the Grand Marnier if you don't have it on hand, but I love how it enhances the flavor of the chiffon cake. We eat the cake as it is without any frosting or glaze. But feel free to use the bittersweet gananche that accompany the recipe, should you need something more elaborate for a dinner party.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Grand Marnier Chiffon Cake (a.k.a Orange Chiffon Cake)
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
2 tablespoons orange zest
3/4 cup fresh orange juice (I used juices from 3 oranges and top up the volume with water)
1/2 cup unflavored vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, separated ( I used 1 1/4 cup of sugar)
6 extra large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
confectioner sugar, for dusting
For Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache (optional):
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 bowl, mix the orange juice, grand marnier, orange zest, 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 3/4 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 orange juice 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.
Place the cake on a rack over a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar if using.
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.