Friday, March 21, 2008

How to Decorate Chiffon Cake for Dinner Party- Vanilla Beans Chiffon Cake

vanilla bean chiffon cake

Frosting a cake is hard! Especially when you are a left-handed and have a serious lack of imagination. I know how that feels like, when I tried to decorate the banana cake with caramel espresso frosting. I am contemplating of enrolling myself for the Wilton Cake Decorating classes once I move to Atlanta. I guess I need some help in the decorating department.

vanilla bean chiffon cake with lemon buttercream

Meanwhile, I have found some pretty simple ways to go about the dreadful decorating task when the "I need to bring a presentable dessert to a dinner party" situation arises. Here's what works for me:

1. Keep it Simple. Use one piping tip that can do the job of simple decoration. In my case, it's the Wilton decorating tip #199.
2. Use lots of fruits to disguise the uneven frosting. Berries are natural beauty, sprinkle them however you like, they will turn out pretty. I used blueberries here because they were on sale in the market. As you may already know, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are suitable candidates too.

vanilla bean chiffon cake with lemon buttercream

Voila, 2 simple steps to a dinner party worthy dessert! I hope you find the simple tips useful. :) So, what is your decorating secret?

Vanilla Bean Chiffon Cake
adapted from The Cake Book

2.5 cups sifted cake flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 plump vanilla bean, split lengthwise in half
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 large eggwhites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

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.

Using a spoon, scrape the small seeds out of the vanilla bean in to a large measuring cup or bowl.Mix in the water, lemon zest, oil and eggyolks. Whisk until well combined.

Over a large piece of parchment paper or bowl sift together the flour and baking powder. Add 1 1/4 cups 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 water + oil + egg yolk + lemon zest 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 hang to cool 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.Decorate with any buttercream you like.

Related entry:
How to decorate a Chocolate Cake for dinner party

Hungry for more chiffon cake recipes?
Espresso Chiffon Cake with Caramel/Chocolate Glaze
Grand Marnier Chiffon Cake
Banana Chiffon Cake


Anonymous said...

Hi! blog hop and came to yours! and i mus say. *gasp* this is so beautiful~~ :D simple and elegant way to decorate a chiffon cake. my 1st time seeing a decorate chiffon cake in fact! :P Thanks for the tips!


Peabody said...

What a gorgeous and simple design, I love it.

Kajal@aapplemint said...

haha i am always struggling with frosting too. trying my best to disguise the uneven finishing. Its not easy to get that perfect finish unless u are trained or just plain gifted. Fruits, chocolate shavings , chocolate art ....all these are gr8 to hide the imperfections.
Like the way you have done this symmetrical pattern. Well done.

Ginny said...

I know you say you can't decorate a cake...but I think you are wrong! Looks beautiful! I bet it tastes even better!

Stardust said...

Oh I think I will love this chiffon cake, Mandy! I love berries, and this decoration is gorgeous! A feast of sight and taste!

LyB said...

That is such a beautiful cake! I totally agree with you, when all else fails, fruit make great decorations. Also, chopped up brittle works wonders on uneven frosting! :)

Brilynn said...

Gorgeous! You're sure to amaze guests with this one!

Anonymous said...

Very simply but classy design! Sometimes a simple design is good enough! =)

I'm horrible with designing as well and I always have the idea of enrolling into wilton course but the price puts me off. lol

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Wow you decorated it so beautiful!

Aimei said...

oh my..this is so beautiful! You did a great job! Simple, yet elegant. :)

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

That is a very useful tip and your cake looks stunning :)

Deborah said...

You don't need any help decorating - you always do such a great job! This cake is stunning.

Manggy said...

Gosh, Mandy, that looks darn flawless to me. Not a crumb out of place on the chiffon cake, too!

test it comm said...

Nice looking cake!

MPG said...

Great tips Mandy, Thanks!! We've been drooling at the screen looking at this. While you talk about hiding imperfections, this cake looks more that pro-perfect ;)

tigerfish said...

This is so lovely! How did you get so much patience to do that - that ring of blueberries!? Simply PERFECTO!

Piggy said...

It still looks great even though it's just simple frosting. Love it!

Sarah said...

What a pretty cake!

Mandy said...

Amanda & peabody,

thanks for letting me know that I am not the only struggling with frosting! and great tips on cake decor!

thanks Sweetie!

the chiffon is light and not too sweet, I think it will pair well with any buttercream.

brittle? that's brilliant. I need to try that out soon.

I think the kids really like the blueberries, they keep scooping up the berries that fall from the cake.

yeah, I think the coarse is more expensive in Singapore than US.


hmmm....still, if there's one nearby with suitable schedule, I think I will enrol myself :p


mango power girl,
awwwww....thanks! hugs xoxox

it takes less than 10 minutes to do the decor, but everyone thought I spent lots of time. :)

using fruits really helps.


Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

gorgeous cake, Mandy! i wish i could attend the Wilton course too. i did take a Wilton royal icing course in KK a long time ago and basically learnt everything i know about cake decorating there. but to make pretty cakes, it's still practice, practice, practice.

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

What a coincidence. In the same day, I discover you as a food blogger in my town and then see you as photo of the day on Serious Eats! Congrats. Your photos are beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I'm pregnant and losing my mind, so I may be missing something here. In the directions, you say "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." Do you mean the water/egg yolk/oil/lemon zest mixture?

I ask because I can't wait to make it, and I want to be sure I have it correct!!

Mandy said...

yes, practice makes perfect. I couldn't agree more.

hello! and thanks for the heads up! And good to know another blogger from Stl. Too bad I am moving next week to Atlanta.Or we would probably get a chance to bump into one another!

yes, the oil/water/egg yolk mixture, which is all the wet ingredients. Sorry for the typo on orange juice, I simply copy and paste that from another recipe. :p

Little Corner of Mine said...

Man! I should have seen this earlier because I like your simple and elegant decoration. I just did a strawberry chiffon birthday cake for my Evy and my decoration sucked big time compared to yours. :)

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that the way to get no crumbs on the frosting is to spread an ultrathin layer all over (doesnt matter if its full of crumbs) then put it in the fridge to set. Then smooth on the frosting as per usual. I've never tried it though! Let me know if u do.. :)
The cake is gorgeous.. Add some red and it'll be a 4th of July cake..

Anonymous said...

i'm too always strugling with cake decorating department. i don't formal training so everything is basically good or no good :) so i try keeping it simple with my cakes.

SIDHARTH said...

Hi thats a real good post !!!
I have used the information give n here and taken some more tips from

Great work ! I must say !

Anonymous said...

I did it! The cake came out real close to the pic. Next time, I will use a lighter bundt pan. Great tip!

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