Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Chiffon Cake With Salted Caramel Sauce
Still trying out recipes for my State Fair triumph (I WILL triumph) I thought something simple like a chiffon cake would be worth experimenting with. A chiffon cake will stay moist longer than angel food, or sponge cake, and it travels well. You may wish to bake one of these even if you're not pursuing blue ribbons.
You Will Need:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder (yes, that's a lot)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cooking oil (I used sunflower)
7 large egg yolks
3/4 cup cold water
The grated zest of a large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
About an hour before you're ready to bake, take the eggs out of the fridge, and separate them. To get really impressive volume, you need warm eggs. I also use a copper bowl to beat egg whites as I find it helps, but if you don't have one, anything will do, but make sure both the eggs and bowl are warm.
Kick everyone out of the kitchen (better yet, the house) whilst this is baking. If someone comes home with a 100 lb. dumbbell that says, "I worked overtime!" and they want to drop it on the kitchen counter-don't let them. Slam no doors, speak softly, and just stay the hell away from the cooker (don't you go peeking and opening the door either!) for at least an hour. Yes, there's baking powder in the recipe which will help it rise, but as with anything that relies on egg whites for a delicate crumb, it won't be happy if you decide to set off your cannon outside beneath the kitchen window (Not that I personally have a cannon, but if I did I wouldn't fire it with a cake baking. That's just common sense. There's a time for firing off cannons, and a time for baking cakes).
You'll need a large tube pan. Don't grease it. The oven should be preheated to 325 degrees F. Because you will be baking in a tube pan, have a baking sheet ready to place it on because burning, leaking batter smells terrible, and is worse to clean.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well and pour in the oil, egg yolks, water, zest, and vanilla. Beat on low to combine, then with an electric mixer, beat about 5 minutes until very smooth.
Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff, and gently fold into the other mixture. Pour into the tube pan, place it on a baking sheet and bake 1 hour. You will probably need more time-mine took an hour and fifteen minutes, but keep checking. In my experience, a bit over is better than a bit under with this sort of cake. There's moist, and then there's damp. You don't want damp cake.
When done, invert cake on a funnel to cool. Carefully remove from the pan, and serve dusted with icing sugar, or if you're feeling a bit fancy, this salted caramel sauce.
4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
Combine it all, and cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and butter melts. Turn up the heat and cook a few minutes longer until caramel thickens and the colour darkens. Remove from heat. Pour in 1.2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or a splash of rum or brandy) and stir in about 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt. Pour into a heat-proof container like a jar. Store any leftovers in the fridge and reheat gently to use.
Optional-spread sauce directly on your thighs because that's where it will end up anyway.