Friday, January 25, 2013

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Here is a cake that is lighter for any ongoing New Year's resolutions or for those who will indulge in a few helpings no matter what. You can feel a little better having  a heaping portion of this one!

Chiffon is similar to angel food cake, but unlike angel food cake that only contains egg whites, chiffon adds a few egg yolks. The added egg yolks give a little boost in the fat content to make for a creamier mouth feel. Although even with the added fat, chiffon cake can still boast that it is lower in cholesterol and fat than most cakes aside from angel food.
So go ahead and have 2 pieces! 
(Of course the generous ganache poured over top
does tip the scale a little)
Full recipe as end of this post!
Boil water and mix with good quality coco powder. Let sit at room temperature until cooled.

Separate  6 whole eggs and 4 additional whites into 2 bowls.

Mix dry ingredients  cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
 Cake flour is finer than all purpose and tends to clump together more. Before or after measuring run a whisk through the dry ingredients to break up any clumps and add some air to the flour.

Add the cooled chocolate water to the egg yolks. 
Followed by oil, dry ingredients and vanilla.
Whisk the egg whites until frothy.
Add cream of tartar. 
(Apparently cream of tartar or 'potassium bitartrate' is added to egg whites in baking to stabilize the eggs; increasing their tolerance to heat and helping achieve greater volume while whisking. Who knew?! )
Keep whisking until soft peaks. 
( I love my hand held mixer for egg whites!) 
Once the egg whites hold soft peaks add sugar.
Keep whisking once more until stiff peaks form.  
If using an electric mixer keep checking for stiff peaks, stop as soon as you reach this stage so you don't over beat the eggs.
 If whisking by hand you'll instinctively check for stiff peaks due to aching muscles!
Add about 1/3 of the whites to the chocolate mixture
Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until just mixed. 
Remember to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to evenly incorporate the chocolate.

Pour into a un-greased 10- inch tube pan, or if you realize you don't have one mid way through and un-greased bundt pan works well too.  Dip a knife into a few areas of the batter to remove any air bubbles.
My bundt pan wasn't quite big enough so I poured the extra batter into a large cupcake pan. 
(Nothing wrong with a small cake to snack on later, 
after all it is 'healthy'.. right?)

Bake for 45 minutes and it's done! Since I didn't use a tube pan with a removable bottom it took a little finagling to get the cake out. The cake came out and goopy chocolate ganache finished it off and also helped hide any areas that still was in the pan! Enjoy!

Chocolate Chiffon Cake 

(adapted from "The Cake Bible" Beranbaum)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
7 tbl oil
6 large eggs separated + 4 additional whites
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1.  In a medium bowl combine the cocoa powder and boiling water, mix until smooth. Allow to cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
2.  Meanwhile combine the flour all but 2 tbl of the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Run a whisk through the batter to remove any clumps and aerate the flour.
3.  Add the oil, egg yolks, chocolate water and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.
4.  In another bowl beat the egg whites until frothy.  Add the cream of tartar.  Continue beating until soft peaks form.  Add the remaining 2 tbl of sugar.  Beat again until stiff peaks form. 
5.  Add about 1/3 of the egg whites to the chocolate batter, mixing to incorporate.  Gentely fold in the remaining egg whites. Take care to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl while mixing.
6.  Pour the batter into an ungreased 10 inch tube pan or an ungreased bundt pan.
7.  Bake in a pre-heated 350F oven for 45-60 minutes or until a knife comes out cleanly when inserted into the middle of the cake.  Remove from oven and cool completely to room temperature. (if using a tube pan you can invert the pan over a small bottle to cool, I usually do not do this step and still get great results)
8.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan to remove the bottom. If using a bundt pan run a knife around the edges and gently lift the cake out, this might take a little longer but with some gentle coaxing the cake will come out nicely.  
9.  Drizzle with chocolate ganache or any other topping! Enjoy!

For chocolate ganache boil 1/4 cup heavy cream. Pour the hot cream over 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips stir until melted. If necessary return the mixture to the microwave to finish melting any chocolate.  Add 1/4 tsp orange extract. Pour over the cooled cake or serve on the side.  Depending on how thick or thin you like the ganache adding more cream or more chocolate will tweak the consistency until its just right for you!

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