I had originally wanted to do a new posting on Chwee Kuey when I chanced upon Happy Home Baker’s blog the other day and decided to put that on hold. What distracted me was her prolific collection of chiffon cake posts. For I, too at one time, was fixated with chiffon cake, the fluffy, cottony and moist cake that is difficult not to like.
Despite its ethereal quality, I do find that friends around me are painfully naive about the chiffon cake. There are many who still think that chiffon cake is the pandan chiffon cake at Bengawan Solo. They are not aware that chiffon is a genre by itself in the bakery world. The most hilarious response I’ve had was when I brought an orange chiffon cake to the office and my colleague asked me with a confused expression why the cake was not green. Similarly,when I brought my chiffon cake recipe with me on a holiday trip to the US last year, my colleague’s wife, who is an avid baker, was in awe, for she had never tasted a cake of such lightness. To a certain extent, I can understand the lesser awareness for the cake. Indeed, when compared to the uber versatile sponge, the rich, hearty butter cake or the decadent cheese cake, we do get fewer variations with the chiffon cake. Perhaps, it is due to the fact that, it almost always has to be baked in a chimney baking pan.
The best documentation on Chiffon cake I have seen is done by the Japanese. It was also in Japan many many years ago that I had my first meaningful slice of chiffon cake. It was in a quaint little coffee shop in Shibuya area. The baristar would prepare the cuppucinno with whipped cream topped with orange peel instead of the usual foamed milk. The only cake they served with the amazing coffee was chiffon cake. The flavours included, Kuromitsu (black sugar syrup), matcha and coffee. Their chiffon cake, kept in individual cake holders in the fridge were, tall ,regal and frosted with white whipped cream. They looked so different from our Pandan Chiffon cake which are often short, wide and squashed when sliced. It was a simple cake with a totally subtle and refined taste. This was a far cry from the heavy, rich and overly sweet cakes that we usually get from the west. Till this day, whenever I am back in Tokyo, I would still make a sentimental pilgrimage to the coffee shop in Shibuya.
I was delighted to find in Happy Home Baker, another Chiffon Cake lover. I myself, only started baking chiffon cake less than a year ago. My reference at that time, was a Chinese Translated Japanese cookbook wholly dedicated to Chiffon Cake (you only get this degree of focus with the Japanese). The book, 超Q润戚风by 赤崛博美 was full of step by step details and theories. I would bake a chiffon cake everyday until I became so used to the routine that I could whip up a cake in 15mins.(baking time excluded). I played with the recipes, intent to achieve the right texture and moistness. So, by the time, when I saw Keiko Ishida’s Chiffon Cake recipe at her baking class, I was able to pick out the subtle differences and tricks she used in her recipe.
So, here I am, feeling lured again to take out my chiffon cake pan from my cupboard. Here is a new flavour which I have not tried before, Murasaki Imo (purple sweet potato). However, I also made the regrettable decision to try my hand at frosting, which turned out to be a disaster. I totally destroyed the cake and now I am too ashamed to serve it. I am not one of meticulous disposition and am now grappling with myself if I should give up frosting for good and just stick with basic fare or I should keep trying…
Frosting... a disaster....
Recipe :Murasaki Imo Chiffon
Egg White 110g
Castor Sugar 55g
Egg Yolk Base
Egg Yolk 40g
Canola Oil 40g
Lemon Juice 7g
Imo 54g (steamed and mashed)
Castor Sugar 10g
Imo 70g (steamed and cut into small cubes)
Cream For Decoration
Fresh Cream 110g
1. Whisk egg till foamy and add sugar in 3 additions.
2. Whisk until egg white stiff but not hard.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolk with mashed Imo. Add in water, Lemon juice and oil. Whisk well to emulsify the oil.
4. Fold in sifted flour. Fold until flour is well incorporated into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in sugar.
5. Fold in Meringue carefully. Fold in Imo cubes.
6. Pour batter into 17cm chiffon cake tin.
7. Bake the cake at 160C for 35mins.
8. Remove cake from oven and invert the pan to cool.
9. The cake should be demoulded only when it is completely cool. I leave it for at least half a day.
10. Demould cake and frost with whipped cream. (whip fresh cream with sugar)