My first Chiffon Cake

What a way to bring in the New Year than with a brand new recipe where I’ve finally christened the chiffon cake tin I bought in Japan a little under two years ago. I bought the tin while browsing Tokyu Hands – a Japanese department store which sells everything from travel goods to stationery, beauty products, Made-in-Japan fancy carry bags, and of course kitchenware. It’s heralded as the “one-stop-shop” for high-quality and high-functional Japanese living wares.

When we were there, I was enamoured with their kitchen and food preparation section. There were shelves and shelves of bento boxes in all shapes and sizes, divided for men and women, with accompanying insulated carry bags. There were onigiri (rice balls) makers and also cut out stamps for vegetables and nori, for which to jazz up your onigiri or to create some fun shaped fruit and veg in your bento. Cake decorating tools and icing tips galore; an endless variety of chopsticks. I was in heaven and it was difficult to narrow down what to buy!

So I bought a small, 14cm diameter chiffon cake tin – which has been sitting in my kitchen cupboard for just under two years, still wrapped in its plastic packaging. I was sorting through my baking tins last week where I saw it again, and decided that I would use some of my holiday time to attempt my first chiffon.

I won’t deny that sponges scare me a little. I made my first sponge cake several years ago and it was disappointingly pancake-flat. I tend to get a bit of PTSD when something is a flop and I don’t try making it again for quite a while so as to not revisit my humiliation and embarrassment. So here goes nothing!

The Custard Chiffon Cake recipe is from the Monday Morning Cooking Club‘s first book. I halved the recipe as my tin is a small one, but it still made a lot of batter so I divided it over to a baking paper-lined brownie/slice tin and made a Swiss roll out of it, filled with whipped cream and fresh raspberries. I messaged my lady at work telling her I made two cakes, and she requested that I give one away so that we didn’t have to eat two. New Year – new low carb diet…. One of my neighbours upstairs had recently welcomed her second baby, so I decided to drop it off – and it was very eagerly received!

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While for my proper chiffon cake, I cut it out of the tin later in the evening when it was fully cool. I had come back from a dinner out and so had a bit too much nervous energy, and cut into the cake without any preamble. It probably would have helped if I had watched a YouTube video, as it came out a little scruffy – but practice will make perfect! I’ve since watched a Japanese video on how to remove a chiffon cake from its tin (as the Japanese do everything to perfection), and it was mesmerisingly beautiful as well as informative. You can see the video here.

I decided not to dress it up with a buttercream as it would catch on the loose crumbs, so instead made a bright raspberry drip icing that oozed seductively over its curves and edges.

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I’ve written out the recipe below for a full-sized chiffon cake, so adjust/adapt it as you will like. You will need an angel cake tin with a removable base.

You will need:

175g self-raising flour

35g custard powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

6 eggs, separated

345g caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

170ml warm water

80ml vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Have your angel cake tin ready nearby but don’t grease it, as you need to have the cake cling to the tin as you will be upending it later. You turn it over when you remove it so that the cake does not sink. Find a bottle where the neck will fit into the centre of the tin and have that on standby.

In a small-medium bowl, sift the self-raising flour, custard powder and cream of tartar three times.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with one cup of the total sugar, until pale and creamy. Once pale and creamy, add the vanilla. Place the oil and water in a jug and along with the sifted flour mixture, add to the yolk mixture while the mixer is beating on a low speed. Beat only until just combined.

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Using a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks have formed. Add the remaining sugar and whisk until the peaks are stiff but the mixture isn’t dry.

Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, with a large spoon. Continue to gently fold until the mixtures are just combined.

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Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and bake for one hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

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Immediately upon removing the cake from the oven, invert the cake. Use the hollow centre of the cake tin to place it upside down on the neck of a bottle and leave to cool. This will help to stop the cake collapsing. If your cake starts to slide out, it is under-cooked, so ensure that it is fully cooked before moving from the oven.

Once the cake is completely cool, use a small serrated knife to cut the cake out of the tin. Start with the outer sides than lift it out using the hollow centre. Then carefully cut the cake off the base of the tin. Here is the video I referred to earlier if you need assistance. I didn’t watch a video but just went at it gung-ho style, so mine was rather scruffy.

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If you had too much mixture like me and make a sheet cake, remove it from the baking paper and allow it to cool completely. Spread with whipped cream and scatter with fresh raspberries before rolling it up.

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You can dust you beautiful, airy custard chiffon with just icing sugar, or make the raspberry drip icing should you wish.

You will need:

145g frozen raspberries, defrosted

20g butter, melted

250g icing sugar, sifted

Fresh raspberries, to decorate.

Push the raspberries through a sieve over a bowl to collect their bright red, seductively-coloured juice.

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Add the melted butter to the juice, and then slowly add the icing sugar. You may need more or less depending on how much juice you got from the berries. You want it at a consistency where it drips perfectly, but will still set.

Spoon over the cooled cake and allow it to “waterfall”. Allow it to set slightly for five to ten minutes before topping with fresh raspberries.

Cut with a serrated knife and devour the fluffiness.

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