Almond Chiffon Cake I made and decorated for my birthday this week.
December 18th was my 57th birthday and for that special day I made my favorite cake–the chiffon. In the summer their tall stature, light texture when flavored with citrus fruits and frosted with a pastel colored butter cream glaze dresses up any special occasion whether its a birthday party, bridal shower or baby shower. It is outstanding topped with fresh summer berries. This versatile cake is also just right for any fall or winter celebration when flavored with almonds, walnuts or poppy seeds.
In my grandmother’s day chiffon cakes were all the rage; however, you don’t see a lot of them served anymore. It might be, because they have a reputation of seeming difficult or tricky to make. They are not hard, but do have several steps and they take a lot of eggs, in this case nine. My grandmother kept her own chickens on the farm so the cost of the eggs for this cake would not have been an issue. Just the opposite in fact, she was always looking for ways to use up surplus eggs.
When making a chiffon cake to get the desired results use all metal mixing bowls, beater blades and spoons. No rubber spatulas or plastic bowls!
One skill you will need is to be able to separate an egg yolk from its whites. This is so very important, because any yolk in with the whites will cause your whites to deflate and your finished cake to be heavier and not as tall.
To separate your eggs always crack your eggs on a surface that is not the bowl you are using. This will keep egg shells out of your whites. I use the counter top. Use small glass or metal bowls to separate each egg, that way if you should get yolk in with the whites, you can just use that egg for something else, clean out the small bowl and start over.
After cracking the egg open, over the small bowl your are using to catch the whites, tip the open side of the shell upward capturing the yolk in one half. Gently, pass the yolk back and forth between the egg shell halves until the whites separate and drop into the small bowl. Place the unbroken yolk in a separate small bowl. When you have successfully separated the white and it is yolk free, only then add it to the large metal mixing bowl with the other whites.
You will also need an good electric hand mixer to whip the whites until they form stiff peaks. To test for stiff peaks use the back of a metal spoon and slightly dip it into your whipped egg whites, as you take the tip of the spoon handle out of the whites they will form into a little triangular peak. The point will remain upright and should not sag.
I would encourage you to give making a chiffon cake a try. This recipe, it has never failed me or disappointed my guests.
Allergy warning: I have a deadly allergy to nuts. Therefore my Almond Chiffon Cake was made with imitation almond flavoring. A good host or hostess always should be prepared to answer your guests questions about allergies. Please note that even the smallest contamination with a nut or nut oil by using the same spatula or washing dishes in the same dishwater can be lethal for and adult or child with a nut allergy.
Almond Chiffon Cake
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
7 large eggs,separated
2 additional egg whites (nine total egg whites)
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup water
2 teaspoons imitation almond extract
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oven rack on lowest setting.
Sift the flour into a small bowl. Remeasure after first sifting, (only use 2 1/4 cups of flour that the recipe calls for should it measure more after sifting). Sift flour a a second time only this time include half of the sugar (3/4 cup) and the baking powder.
In a separate metal medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks, oil, water and almond extract together. Slowly add flour mixture and stir until blended.You will have nice smooth batter, but it will seem a little heavy.
In a large metal mixing bowl place the nine egg whites with a pinch of salt. (A pinch of salt is less that 1/4 teaspoon and really is what it sounds like, it is the amount of salt your thumb and pointer finger can hold in a pinch.)
Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the egg whites are foamy. (Sort of what you mentally picture a dog with rabies would look like.) Then, using higher speed on the mixer, continue beating the egg whites until they form soft peaks. (This phase is about the consistency of Reddy Whip) Continue beating while slowly adding small amounts at a time of the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar. Beat until the egg whites become shiny, glossy and hold a stiff peak when tested with the spoon handle. (This looks like consistency of shaving cream.) This will take about 10 minutes or so, so don’t panic if it seems to be going slow, you will get there.
Next, with a large metal spoon gently fold the beaten egg whites into the cake batter. The beaten egg whites will lighten your batter. Continue folding until no white streaks of egg whites can be seen. Good general advice is to go slow and be gentle.
Gently pour the lightened cake batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan. Spread evenly. Gently take a thin straight knife and go around all of the edges, including the inside edges of the center tube. This is to remove any air bubbles.
Bake in preheated oven for about one hour. The cake is done when a tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately invert upside down onto a rack. Leave the cake to cool upside down until completely cool.
When completely cool, take a long thin knife and go around all of the edges of the cake to loosen from the pan. Be careful not to cut into the cake, so go slow! Tip cake upright onto a plate. Run knife around the top of the cake pan tube piece and remove that from the cake’s center. Frost and decorate.
Chiffon Cake Variations:
Citrus Cake: Use two teaspoons of orange or lemon flavoring or juice along with the zest of two oranges or lemons. Frost with butter cream frosting.
Walnut Cake: Use walnut oil instead of canola oil and add 1 cup of finely chopped walnuts. Instead of frosting just dust with powdered sugar.
Poppy Seed Cake: Use canola oil, add 1 cup of poppy seeds, use vanilla extract instead of almond extract. Glaze with thin vanilla butter cream icing.
Lemon Poppy Seed Cake: Use canola oil, add 1 cup of poppy seeds, use lemon extract instead of almond extract. Glaze with thin vanilla butter cream icing.
Butter Cream Frosting:
1/2 cup butter (softened)
1 teaspoon of flavoring
about 1/2 bag of powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons of heavy cream
In a medium-sized bowl cream together butter and flavoring and about 1 cup of powdered sugar. Add heavy cream. Mix thoroughly. Slowly add more powdered sugar until frosting reaches desired consistency. If your frosting gets too thick just slowly add cream a tiny bit at a time until you get your desired result.
Tint with food coloring.
To make an icing just thin frosting with more cream or use whole milk.