Tuesday, March 01, 2005

"orange glow chiffon cake"

each Chinese New Year brings us a deluge of oranges, which symbolizes wealth and gold. the clan comes together and exchanges bags of them with a box of chocolates or other sweets and a "hung bao" red envelope for even more luck.
what better way to use up three of the biggest juiciest specimens than
"orange glow chiffon cake."
the recipe is from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum (which i recommend to everyone who wants to learn how to bake. it is scholarly and scientific and tells about the why's and what for's of each ingredient and method).
now i've tried this many times but had always disobeyed the cooling rule of inverting it over a narrow bottle so ended up with a heavy dense cake each time.
this time i wanted to do it right.
that is why you need a bottle of "maggi" or Knorr liquid seasoning for this cake. read on please, i'm not joking!

equipment: 10-in non-stick 2 piece tube pan

preheat oven to 325F.
dry ingredients:
whisk together in a large mixing bowl...
2 & 1/4 cups cake flour, lightly scooped into measuring cup and topped off with knife
1 & 1/2 cups sugar, remove 2 tbsps. and set aside in a cup (for egg whites)
2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt.

whisk and make a crater in the middle. add 7 egg yolks, 1/2 cup canola or safflower oil, 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, 1 tsp. orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier(optional), 2 tbsps. grated orange zest, and 1 tsp. vanilla. whisk well until blended and smooth.

in a spotless stainless steel or copper mixing bowl, beat 10 egg whites (reserve extra yolks for another use) until frothy and then beat on high speed with the reserved 2 tbsps. sugar and 1 & 1/4 tsps. cream of tartar. beat until soft peaks form.
fold in egg white mixture into flour-egg yolk batter with a whisk or a spatula only until blended. do not overbeat.
pour into ungreased tube pan and bake for about 55 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

invert into the tip of tightly closed maggi bottle (it took a few crazy moments looking for a bottle which i should have done before starting baking!!!). the neck should be long and narrow enough to slip into the hollow tube and stable enough not to tip. this ensures that the cake will not settle down and get heavy and unbecoming...

cool completely, about one and a half hours.

i had a bit of trouble unmolding. use a long sharp knife to loosen the edges of the tube pan, avoiding any sawing motions to keep the sides smooth. a pro would trim the rough brown bits...but my kittens had a keen eye for every little crumb and would have none of that. use a bread (serrated) knife to cut into slices.

chiffon cake...4 1/2 inches tall. light but moist, it is very easy to eat a lot of it in one go; but it's all right, this one is low in cholesterol. not that i'm counting...