Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cakes used to be in vogue when I was a kid and my mother is THE expert in making the perfect chiffon cake with a pillow soft and airy texture. For those who are unfamiliar with this cake, it's like a sponge cake as the eggs are seperated but it uses vegetable oil instead of butter. It is always baked in an ungreased tube pan so the cake can rise and the heat is properly circulated within the cake. It seems this cake was invented in 1927 but only became popular in the 1940s'.

My mother's recipe actually came from a newspaper article she found long ago but she has perfected it with many tries and attempts. The most important bit of making chiffon cakes is your egg whites must be stiff to with stand the egg yolk mixture being poured on top of it, just like the picture above. To ensure you have perfect stiff egg whites, make sure all your mixing bowls and utensils are free from oil and only fresh eggs are used. Take care also when seperating the eggs to make sure the yolk does not mix with the egg whites.

We use a pretty big chiffon cake tin (I think it's a 10 inch), an old fashioned one with rings on the side so it's easier to turn it. Once your cake comes out from the oven, you will need to cool it and we usually tilt it on top of a bottle.

To release the cake from it's ungreased cake tin, just use a knife around the tin and the tube and then tilt it over.

Here's a cross section of the cake so you can see the pillow soft texture. Although my mother does not usually bake anymore, she still makes this cake for special occasions.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

8 large eggs
5 ounces self raising flour
8 ounces sugar (put 4 ounces each in seperate bowls)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cooking oil, preferably vegetable
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Lemon rind grated from one lemon

Seperate the eggs into two bowls: a mixing bowl for the egg whites and another smaller one for the egg yolks. Sift the self raising flour and add it into the egg yolk mixture. Measure out the sugar and seperate them into two equal portions. Add one portion of sugar into the egg yolk mixture. Add the cooking oil, lemon juice and lemon rind into the egg yolk mixture and beat until smooth using a wooden spoon. Beat the egg whites with a stand mixer until stiff, adding cream of tartar, pinch of salt and the other portion of sugar gradually.

Once ready, add the egg yolk mixture into the mixing bowl with the beaten egg whites. The egg whites must be stiff enough to withstand the heavy egg yolk mixture and not fall. If it falls, this means your egg whites are not stiff enough and your cake will not rise. Mix the egg yolk and egg white mixture thoroughly and pour batter into the cake tin. Before you place into the oven, bang the cake tin on your countertop to get rid of any air bubbles. Heat the oven to 180C and bake for 40 minutes. Tilt the cake on top of an empty bottle to cool. Once cooled, use a knife to seperate the cake from the tin and turn it over on a plate or cake board to serve.

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Rorie said...

Beautiful! Sounds absolutely delicious, too!

boo_licious said...

rorie - thank you so much.

rokh said...

i am also about to try out chiffon cakes. always love the airy and soft texture.

*kel said...

wow, i love chiffon cakes. In Batu Pahat, Johor, my hometown, we've a lovely pandan version that I eat all the time as a kid. i wonder if i can make one without that tin mold. what do you think?

boo_licious said...

rokh - good luck with your chiffon cake. If you see our tin is enormous, you can actually divide the batter into smaller cake tins.

kel - It may be difficult without the tin mold as it seems the tall sides is for it to climb up just like a sponge cake while the hole in the middle is for hot air to circulate.

glutton rabbit said...

Lemon chiffon? Waaaa... I'm really admiring pillow soft texture of the cake. Super!

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