Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Chocolate Cloud Cake
I adore chiffon cakes. In fact, it was the third thing that I made it a mission to master as soon as I got my first proper oven. The first was swiss roll and the second was sponge cake. I had suffered many failures making chiffon cakes before I finally got it right. Oh...about 10-15 times. But I soldiered on. I have immense patience when comes to making things I love.
Now, if I do say so myself, I’m pretty good at making chiffon cake. Modest much? The most important thing about making chiffon cake is getting the right bakeware. You will need a tube cake pan (aka angel cake pan). DO NOT get the non-stick type. The cake needs to "cling" to all sides of the pan to get the height, which is also the reason for the tube center. The one with aluminium construction, removable core sleeve and cooling legs is the best for the job. People are always complaining to me that their chiffon cake won't rise. And 99 percent of the time, they used either non-stick cake pan or cake pan without the tube center. Or worst still, a non-stick cake pan without the tube centre.
Another tip on making a chiffon cake is never line or butter your cake pan. The same reason as above that the cake needs all the help it can to cling to the sides of the pan. Now, I know what you are thinking, how are we going to get the cake out of the pan afterwards? Just carefully run a spatula around the sides (including the tube center) to loosen the cake. If your cake pan doesn’t have a removable core sleeve (aka removable tube center and base), then you will need to line the bottom of your cake pan. But that is it, only the bottom and not the sides.
The danger is not over after your chiffon cake has risen to a considerable height in your non-buttered, unlined, non-stick aluminium tube cake pan. Once the cake is done, and still in the cake pan, immediately turn it over to cool completely. That is when the cooling legs come in handy and also another reason why non-stick pan is important. If the chiffon cake is cooled the right side up, it will collapse, shrivel and sink like a soufflé.
If you got everything right (which I promise is not as hard as it sounds), you will be rewarded with the softest and lightest cake you ever have. It is so airy that you are forgiven for thinking it’s healthy enough to eat the whole cake, in one sitting, by yourself.
A chiffon cake doesn’t need icing. However, I want to make this chocolate chiffon cake a little bit special, and decided to pair it with an equally fluffy chocolate frosting that I love. This chocolate frosting is dangerously like chocolate mousse that I can eat by the spoonfuls straight from the mixing bowl. Due to the amount of butter in this frosting, it needs to be at room temperature before serving. The chiffon cake will taste better too at room temperature.
A soft light airy chocolate cake with a fluffy mousse-like chocolate frosting… don’t tell me it’s not like chocolate cloud.
Chocolate Cloud Cake
(Chocolate chiffon cake adapted from cookpad. Chocolate frosting adapted from epicurious.)
Makes 17cm cake
For the chocolate chiffon cake
65 grams cake flour
20 grams cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 egg yolks
35 grams caster sugar
50ml vegetable oil
90ml milk, room temperature
4 egg whites
40 grams caster sugar
5 grams corn flour
For the chocolate frosting
100 grams caster sugar
25 grams plain flour
16 grams cocoa powder (not dutch-process)
pinch of salt
60 grams dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
340 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
To make chocolate chiffon cake:
Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius (or 150 degrees celsius fan-forced).
Mix cake flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together in a bowl. Sift flour mixture and set aside.
Whisk egg yolks and 35 grams sugar until pale and creamy. Add oil and milk and whisk to incorporate. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
In a seperate small bowl, combine remaining 40 grams sugar and corn flour.
In a clean bowl with a clean and dry whisk (or an electric stand mixer), whisk egg whites until foamy. Add half the sugar and corn flour mixture and continue beating for a few minutes. Add remaining sugar and corn flour mixture and beat until egg whites are glossy and stiff peaks form.
Add one-third of meringue into egg yolk mixture and fold in lightly using a spatula. Add remaining meringue and fold to incorporate completely.
Pour batter into tube cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. When cake is done, remove from oven and turn it over, leaving it to cool. Once cake has cooled completely, carefully run spatula around the sides of the cake to loosen it before inverting onto a wire rack.
To make chocolate frosting:
Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add milk and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture boils and is smooth and thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in chocolate and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a bowl to cool to room temperature, covering surface with parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming.
Beat butter with an electric mixer until creamy, then add cooled chocolate mixture a little at a time, beating until frosting is fluffy and spreadable.