This chiffon cake was my mother-in-law’s specialty. Before she became ill, she was a wonderful cook and baker. She taught me how to make ground meat lettuce wraps, a dish with bean threads I fancifully called “ants climbing a tree,” and this chiffon cake. I remember how it was always light and airy with the caress of coffee and sweetness.
7 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
7 egg yolks
3/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons espresso coffee powder, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 325˚F. I recommend using a two-piece tube cake pan because it is easier to remove the cake. However, at my mother’s house, I only had a one piece pan. Do not grease the tube cake pan.
Put egg whites and cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl. Beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar and continue beating until whites turn smooth and silky.
Sift flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup sugar in another large bowl. Make well in center of the dry ingredients and add oil, egg yolks, water, dissolved coffee, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until all ingredients are moistened. There’s no need to clean the beaters first.
By hand gently fold egg mixture into beaten egg whites. Do not over mix. It is all right if streaks of white and brown remain. Pour batter into the ungreased tube cake pan. Use a sharp thin blade to cut the batter several times to eliminate air pockets. Bake 55-60 minutes. Invert the cake pan over a funnel to cool. Make sure the cake is cooled thoroughly before attempting to remove it from the pan. This should take about two hours.
To remove the cake from a tube pan, run a sharp thin blade around the outer rim and around the tube in the middle. Hold the one-piece tube pan over a large plate and gently tap the bottom and sides. The cake should fall out into the plate. For a two piece pan, do the same as above. Remove the sides then insert the blade between the pan bottom and the cake to release it. Frost cooled cake with a chocolate butter cream frosting, if desired.