mocha hazelnut chiffon cake

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This chiffon cake is lightly sweet, and because of the egg whites, lower in calories. It’s the perfect dessert  because you can have your cake and eat it too. I enjoy chiffon cakes. They are light and airy, and also fun to bake. What I don’t like about them is the amount of egg yolks wasted.  But I wanted to try this recipe just because there would be leftover yolks– I plan to use them to make a buttercake. You have to plan ahead when you make these chiffon cakes. So my next cake project is Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Downy Yellow Buttercake.

Mocha Hazelnut Chiffon Cake (adapted from Woman’s Day)
Serves 18-24 slices
Preparation time: 1 1/2 hours.

2 1/4 cups (225g) cake flour
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided (169g, 112g)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 tablespoons espresso powder
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup cold water
1/3 cup canola oil
5 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur/Frangelico (I used hazelnut syrup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
10 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

CHOCOLATE GLAZE
4 oz semisweet chocolate, broken up
1/2 cup fat free half-and-half

GARNISH (optional)
Toasted chopped hazelnuts

1. Heat oven to 325˚F. Place oven rack at position just below center. You’ll need a 10 inch tube pan with removable bottom. Whisk flour, 3/4 cup sugar (169g), baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
2. Whisk cocoa and espresso with boiling water in a large mixing bowl until dissolved. Add cold water, oil, yolks, liqueur or syrup, and vanilla. Stir cocoa mixture into flour mixture. Beat until smooth and blended.
3. Beat whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with mixer on medium high speed until soft peaks form when beaters are lifted. Gradually beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar (112g(. Beat until glossy and stiff peaks form.
4. Stir 1/4 of beaten whites into cocoa-flour batter to lighten it. Gently fold batter into rest of whites until no white streaks remain. Scrape into ungreased pan. Run a skewer zig zag through the batter to eliminate air bubbles.
5. Bake 60-65 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted into cake comes out clean. Invert pan onto neck of a bottle or funnel if your pan doesn’t have feet. Cool completely, 1-2 hours. Insert a long thin blade in an up and down motion all around the outside of cake; remove pan side. Repeat with bottom of cake. To loosen centerpiece, use a skewer. Invert onto wire rack. Remove pan bottom. Brush crumbs from cake. If desired, trim the top to level it. Put cake in serving plate bottom up.
6. Glaze. Melt chocolate in a microwave on high about 1 minute, stirring every 15 seconds. Whisk in half-and-half. Let sit a few minutes to thicken. Pour glaze over cake, spreading top with spatula and letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle top with hazelnuts, if using.

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the three-layer coffee chiffon wedding cake with mocha butter cream frosting

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Third time’s a charm!

What I learned: this cake stands up well either as a tube or as a layer cake. I baked two 8-inch layers and split each one in half horizontally. Then I used three of the layers to make this cake. I was more generous with the butter and the cream to make this frosting–I wanted lots of it in case I made a mistake. I also toasted the almonds as I thought they looked better. It was a labor of love, but it was delicious–moist, creamy and with just enough espresso powder in it to remind you of its presence, discreetly. We did not throw out the extra cake layer. We ate it on our way to the beauty salon before the wedding ceremony.

Three-Layer Coffee Chiffon Cake

7 (210g) egg whites, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
113g superfine sugar
250g all purpose flour
225g superfine sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
7 (175g)egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup ice water
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons unsweetened chocolate powder
2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla

Heat oven to 325˚F/175˚C. Wash and dry the bowl and beaters to be sure they are absolutely free of grease. Alternatively, wipe them down with a soft cloth dampened with a little white vinegar. Line the bottom and sides of two 8-inch springform cake pans with parchment paper.

Cake Baker’s Note: Cut the paper to fit the bottom and sides. Do not exceed the height of the pan when cutting the strips for the sides. If the strips are taller than the sides of the pans, the cakes will not bake properly. So I made 2 strips 26 inches long by 3 inches wide. They should be a little bit longer so the ends overlap. The paper sides tended to curl so I clipped them in place with a paper clip so they wouldn’t roll over when I poured in the batter.

I always make the meringue first because I only have one set of beaters. So. Beat the 7 eggs whites in a large bowl on medium speed. When it is foamy, add the cream of tartar. Continue beating on high speed until the egg whites turn white and opaque. Add the 113g sugar one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until stiff peaks form. Turn off the mixer and slowly raise the beaters. The points should stand tall and the whites will be glossy and smooth. Set aside. No need to wash the beaters.

In a small bowl, mix the espresso and cocoa powders with the warm water. Blend until no lumps remain. Set aside.

In another large bowl, add the flour, 225g sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center. Add the egg yolks, oil, water, espresso mixture, and vanilla. Beat until just combined.

Scrape the batter all at once into the beaten egg whites. Gently fold by hand until just white streaks remain. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. Carefully remove the paper clips holding the strips of parchment in place, because as the batter bakes, it will expand. Carefully run a skewer zig zag fashion though the batter being careful not to scratch the parchment at the bottom of the pans. This will dislodge any air bubbles.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. The cakes are done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place the pans on wire cooling racks. Remove the sides of the pans and let the cakes cool thoroughly with the paper strips still on. When the cakes are thoroughly cooled, gently remove the paper strips. Invert the cakes and remove the bottom plates. Remove the parchment on the bottom. Re-invert the cakes and slice each in half horizontally. Fill and frost with mocha butter cream frosting.

Cake Baker’s Note: Use three of the best looking layers to frost. That is, they are even in height and free of crumbs. I use one of the top layers as the base since the top is sticky and will anchor the cake to the plate. To be sure I put a dollop of icing on the plate first then place the base over it.

Mocha Butter Cream Frosting

3 cups icing or confectioner’s sugar
2 cups butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons warm water
1-2 tablespoons whipping cream

Combine the espresso, cocoa, and water in a small bowl. Mix well so that it is free of lumps. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat on low speed to combine, then on high speed for a total of 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and the expresso mixture, and beat for an additional minute. Add the cream 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency. I used two tablespoons.

Cake Baker’s Note: Trim the tops if using them as layers to provide greater stability. I also put the second and third layers cut side down.  A smooth straight cake bottom is the best for the top layer.

Fill between each layer and then frost the top and sides generously. To make the swirls, I used the back of a round spoon. Decorate with almond and chocolate flowers, if desired.

Almond and Chocolate Flowers
1 cup sliced almonds
chocolate chips, semi-sweet or milk

Toast the almonds in an ungreased skillet until a pale brown. Remove from the heat and let cool. To make the flowers, position 3 almond “petals” in a half-circle around a chocolate chip. Finish the “flower” with 2 more petals. That’s all there is to it!

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twenty days and counting! coffee chiffon cake with mocha butter cream frosting

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In 20 days’ time, it is Taranee’s wedding.  We are serving cupcakes to the guests but she wants a cutting cake for the bride and groom made from her grandmother’s recipe, the coffee chiffon cake.  I baked a practice cake this weekend, frosted it with mocha butter cream and decorated  the top with flowers made from sliced almonds and chocolate chips. The cake is moist and tender, with an unmistakable espresso flavor intensified with a little cocoa. The butter cream frosting is not as creamy or as fluffy  as I would have liked; it needs some adjustment to make it a spreadable consistency, possibly some cream added to it. And I think the almonds need to be toasted to bring out more of a contrast with the frosting.

Coffee Chiffon Cake with Mocha Butter Cream Frosting
prep time: 40 minutes
baking time: 60 minutes

7 large eggs, separated when cold then brought to room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
113g superfine sugar
250g all purpose flour
225g superfine sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325˚F/160˚C. Prepare 2×8 inch springform pans, bottoms lined with parchment paper. Do not grease the bottoms or the sides. If you prefer you can use a standard two-piece tube pan instead of the springform.

I whip the egg whites first so I don’t have to wash the beaters (I only have one set). Prepare a large mixing bowl and beaters by washing and drying them carefully. Then wipe them out with paper toweling dipped in a little white vinegar. This thoroughly removes any grease otherwise the egg whites will not whip.

Place the egg whites in the prepared bowl, and beat on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to high. When soft peaks form, add the 113g sugar one tablespoon at a time. At the soft peak stage, turn off the mixer and slowly raise the beaters. If the peaks flop over, continue beating until stiff peaks form, the egg whites turn silky white, and when you tilt the bowl, the egg whites do not move. If the whites fail these tests, either some yolk got into the whites or the bowl and beaters were not grease free. Set aside the whipped whites.

In another large bowl, weigh out the flour, 225g sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk to blend. Make a well in the center and add the yolks, oil, water, dissolved coffee, cocoa, and vanilla. Blend until just combined. Add about 1/3 of the batter to the whipped egg whites and stir to combine. This is called lightening the batter and makes it easier to combine the remaining batter with the egg whites. Add the remaining batter to the egg whites and gently fold by hand. To fold, “cut” the batter with a silicone spatula and drag it across the bottom of the bowl, then turn the batter over. Rotate the bowl one quarter turn and repeat until just white streaks remain.

Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared baking pans. The batter will come to one inch from the top. Run a small thin blade zig zag fashion through the batter to release air pockets, being careful not to scrape the parchment paper underneath.  Bake 55-60 minutes. My cakes were done in 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool thoroughly with the pans upright. Gently press a thin blade between the cake and the pan sides and remove the sides. Invert the cakes and remove the parchment paper. Re-invert the cakes. Split the cakes into two layers, fill,  frost, and decorate.

To frost a two layer cake (that is, one 8″ chiffon cake split into two halves horizontally) you will need:

Mocha Butter Cream Frosting

Prep time: 40 minutes (includes softening the butter, 30 minutes)

3 cups powdered sugar
1-2 cups butter, softened to room temperature (I used one cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 teaspoons espresso coffee powder plus 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
4 teaspoons warm water
1-2 tablespoons whipping cream

In a small bowl, dissolve the coffee and cocoa with 4 teaspoons warm water.Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Continue whipping until fluffy; the yellow butter will lighten in color and turn white. Add the vanilla, the dissolved coffee-cocoa mixture, then combine. Add the whipping cream a tablespoon at a time to get the desired consistency. Double the recipe to fill and frost two 8″ cakes.

banana chiffon cake, redux

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In the quest to perfect this recipe, I tried it again this weekend. The result is a cake that was tender and moist, not too sweet, and full of banana flavor.  Alas, in appearance, it is not perfect. As you can see, the top has cracks, the result of a too hot oven because the temperature cannot be precisely calibrated to 160˚C. To me, the question is why bake? At the heart of the art of baking is to make something so beautiful and so delicious that only a photograph is all that remains of a cake.

Banana Chiffon Cake
Cake Baker’s Note: Bring all ingredients to room temperature. Separate the eggs when they are still cold. What’s always worked for me is to crack open the whole egg into a small bowl then separate the egg in my hands by letting the white run out between my fingers. I reduced the baking time to 45 minutes and used all purpose flour instead of cake flour. That’s on my next to-do list–until I run out of bananas in the freezer!

Prep time: 30 minutes.
Bake time: 45 minutes
Cooling time: 2 hours

214g cake flour (250g all purpose)
281g caster or superfine sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
112g (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
5 egg yolks, unbeaten
118g (1/2 cup) cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup ripe mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
8 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325˚F/160˚C.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. Add the oil, unbeaten egg yolks, water, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. When the beaters are raised the egg whites stand straight up.

Pour whipped egg whites into the batter. Gently fold until just white streaks remain.

Scrape batter into an ungreased two-piece tube pan. Using a thin blade drag it zig-zag fashion through the batter to release any air bubbles.

Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean—with just a few crumbs attached. Invert the pan over a wire cooling rack. If the pan has feet, let it stand or, if not, invert over a funnel. Let the cake cool thoroughly, about 2 hours.

To unmold, re-invert the cake and gently insert a sharp thin blade between the pan and the side of the cake. Press forward towards the cake. Pull the knife out and repeat. Use a skewer to release the centerpiece. Invert over wire rack. Keep the pan inverted over the rack to remove the bottom. Again, insert the blade between the cake bottom and the pan bottom. Press down gently. Once you remove the centerpiece re-invert the cake. Put it on a pretty plate then glaze the top or just sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I took this cake to Robert’s last night. We each had 2 slices and there was still half a cake left over.

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banana chiffon cake with cream cheese frosting

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I love chiffon cakes. They are so light and airy! I also love banana bread. They are dense and sweet, perfect for a light breakfast or a snack. When I saw Chew Out Loud’s recipe for banana chiffon cake, I thought it would a a wonderful combination of the two. Now, in Thailand, there are quite a variety of bananas, but not all of them are good for baking. The one most familiar to Americans, the Thai call kluay hom. The kluay hom is actually the best for baking. It has enough moisture that the pulp of the fruit gets distributed in baking. The smaller varieties such as kluay numwa look like fat stubby fingers, and are best eaten out of hand or dried and candied. My problem is, I have a freezer bag full of these little bananas because they got too ripe and I didn’t want to throw them away. I will have to think about what to do with them.

Banana Chiffon Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup cold water
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup very ripe mashed banana (approx. 2 bananas)
8 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions
Preheat oven to 325F, with rack on lower middle position.

In a large bowl, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 4 min. Be sure it’s at stiff peaks, not soft peaks.

Cake Baker’s Note: I don’t have a whisk attachment for my handheld mixer, so I decided to whip the egg whites first the make the batter.

In another large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well combined. Make a well in the center. Add oil, unbeaten yolks, water, vanilla, and mashed bananas. Beat until smooth, about 2 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold together the banana mixture into the egg white mixture. Carefully fold repeatedly until batter is incorporated, until tiny white streaks remain.

Pour batter unto an ungreased tube pan with removable center/bottom. Bake 60 minutes or just until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean (a few small tender crumbs attached is perfect.)

Invert the pan over a plate; keep pan inverted until cake is completely cool. Once cooled, use a very thin knife blade and run it carefully around all edges of the cake to loosen cake. Turn upside down onto a plate, and carefully remove the bottom/center of pan from the cake.

Unfortunately, the top of the cake was moist and a bit of the top stuck to the plate when I was removing the center tube. My solution was to fix it with some leftover cream cheese frosting that I had saved in the freezer.

hawaiian banana cake with panocha frosting

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It’s Easter. We should eat healthy, right? And so we did. To celebrate the end of Lent, we did eat healthy. Depends on how you define healthy; as a fitting end to the sacrifices we made during Lent, like giving up desserts, well, yes, it was healthy. We had ham with 5 spice cherry sauce; garlicky pak boong (morning glory) stir-fried with Chinese sausage; sugar snap peas with red onions and shiitake mushrooms; citrus-roasted asparagus; and broccoli-grape salad. Except for the pak boong, I made this for Easter dinner last year in New York. But all good things must end with something sweet. And that’s this banana cake.

I found the recipe on Food 52. It originally comes from Hawaii; it is a family recipe of Lindsay-Jean Hard. Apparently, in Hawaii a penuche (pronounced pen-OO-chay) frosting is pronounced “panocha.”  A penuche/panocha frosting basically consists of  three cups of sugar. It’s terribly sweet. However, I liked the recipe because that idea of a recipe handed down from grandmother to mother to daughter is just so awww-inspiring. I wish I had that. What’s more intriguing–other than the fact that I’ve made two consecutive banana recipe posts–is that this banana cake uses the same techniques as a chiffon cake–folding in whipped egg whites. The result is a crumb that is moist and tender. I’ve made some adjustments to Lindsay’s recipe because another thing about family recipes is that they are so familiar to us that we tend to leave out key instructions in the method.

Hawaiian Banana Cake with Penuche/Panocha Frosting

Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 35 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Makes one cake that can be split into two halves and frosted

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (338g) superfine sugar
2 large eggs, separated when cold
1/2 cup sour milk (1/2 tablespoon white vinegar in a measuring cup topped to 1/2 cup level with milk)
1 2/3 cup pastry flour (160g)–according to Lindsay, you can substitute all purpose
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
pinch cream of tartar
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat the oven 350˚F or 185˚C. Butter and flour one 8-inch spring form pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour it. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. One at a time, add the egg yolks, bananas, and sour milk, mixing after each addition.

In another large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture all at once to the butter mixture. Stir until some white streaks remain.

In a medium bowl, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Fold the whipped whites into the butter-banana mixture. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 25-35 minutes or until the center springs back when pressed slightly. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove the sides and allow the cake to cool thoroughly. Remove the bottom. I did it by inserting a pancake turner between the bottom and the cake. Remove the paper. When it is cool, split the cake horizontally into 2 equal halves then frost with penuche frosting.

Penuche/Panocha Frosting

Prep time: 5-10 minutes (includes whipping)
Cooking time: 7 minutes
Cooling time: 1 hour plus

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 cup brown sugar
1 3/4 to 2 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar

I had a lot of problems getting this frosting to set. It’s so hot here–it’s the middle of the Thai summer and the air throbs with the heat. After the 2 cups of powdered sugar failed to make the frosting fluffy, I decided to put the bowl in the fridge to firm up for an hour. By then it had turned into the consistency of almost-set fudge. But a few minutes in the heat of the kitchen softened it enough to whip again. I recommend chilling the mixing bowl and beaters while you boil the frosting.

In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and cook, two minutes, stirring constantly. Then add the milk. Turn up the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture boils, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool until lukewarm, about 1 hour. Though the recipe didn’t say, I guessed the next step is to whip the mixture with the powdered sugar.

Take the chilled bowl and beaters out of the fridge or freezer where you had been keeping them. Scrape the sugar mixture into the bowl and whip on high speed, gradually adding the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time, until light and fluffy and smooth. Incorporating more air into the cooled frosting will use less sugar, is my theory.

Makes enough frosting for one two-layer cake.

Variation: try doubling the cake and frosting recipes to make a four-layer cake.

coffee chiffon cake

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This is NOT a coffee cake, an American cake made with nuts, sugar, and sometimes chocolate, that’s an accompaniment for coffee and tea. This is not that kind of coffee cake. This is a cake that’s flavored with espresso coffee, and because it’s a chiffon, it is spongy and light. This cake is my mother-in-law’s recipe. If she wanted to make this cake fancy, she would frost it with a butter frosting that has just three ingredients:  a stick of butter whipped until light, a teaspoon of strong coffee, and enough condensed milk to taste. So simple and sinfully delicious. Speaking of simple, from Better Homes and Gardens, I discovered a chocolate ganache that has just two ingredients: cream and enough sweet chocolate to send you hurrying to confession.  This ganache, I confess, makes me want to lick the bowl, the spoon, and the pot.

Mama’s Coffee Chiffon Cake

Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 55 minutes
Cooling time: 1 1/2 hours (necessary before frosting or glazing)

7 egg whites (210g)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups (250g) all purpose flour
1 1/2 (225g + 113g) cups superfine sugar, divided
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
7 egg yolks (175g)
3/4 cup cold water
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 325˚F/175˚C.

Whip egg whites. Put egg whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating at high speed until blended. Gradually add 1/2 cup (113g) sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue beating until whites turn smooth and silky. There’s no need to clean the beaters for the next step.

Make the batter. 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.

Combine the batter and whipped whites. Scrape the batter into the whipped egg whites. By hand gently fold egg yolk mixture into beaten egg whites. Cut the center of the batter with a spatula and drag it along the bottom to the side of the bowl then turn the spatula over. Rotate the bowl one quarter turn and repeat the process until there are just streaks of white remaining. Pour into an ungreased tube cake pan. Cut the batter with a sharp thin blade to eliminate air pockets.

Bake and unmold the cake. Bake 55-60 minutes. If the pan has no “feet” invert the cake pan over a funnel to cool. Cool thoroughly before unmolding and frosting, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. To unmold, use a sharp thin blade to loosen the sides. Push straight down and forward, away from the side. Remove the knife and repeat. To loosen the center, use a skewer, applying the same motion. Gently remove the sides of the pan. Then holding the centerpiece upright, insert the blade between the bottom of the pan and the cake, applying the same motion. Remove the center-piece.

Decorate. Frost cooled cake with a chocolate ganache, if desired. A ganache (pronounced gah-NASH) is a pourable French frosting. To make this, put a half cup of whipping cream or heavy cream in a saucepan. Scald the milk. This means to cook it over medium heat until there are tiny bubbles all around the edges of the pot. In Jamaica we say “watch pot never boil” but you really have to watch this one or the bottom will burn. Once tiny bubbles appear, remove pot from heat. Add 11 1/2 oz dessert chocolate or milk chocolate or a combination of both milk chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate. Do NOT stir. Let sit 5 minutes. After 5 minutes stir until blended. Let sit to thicken slightly. Pour slowly in a back and forth motion over cooled cake and let it drizzle down the sides. Or just frost the top as I did. This ganache is rich and smooth and not very sweet. It complements the espresso coffee flavor of Mama’s chiffon cake.

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take the cake: coffee chiffon cake and buttermilk country cake

Today I had two reasons for baking. We had a dinner invitation and it was my sister-in-law’s anniversary. For the invitation, I made my mother-in-law’s coffee chiffon cake, a family favorite, and spread a chocolate ganache on top. I made the ganache from a dessert chocolate bar given to me by my friend Thavida,  and a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips to make up the difference. So smooth and rich!

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For the anniversary cake, I made a buttermilk country cake adapted from a recipe in The Cake Bible. In the book is an absolutely mouthwatering picture of a country cake with a fat mound of crème fraîche and sliced peaches on top. Alas, there are no peaches in Bangkok. So, for my version, I used fresh whipped cream and chopped fresh mango.

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I’m so tired I can hardly stay awake! Tomorrow I will post the recipes.

Espresso Coffee Chiffon Cake

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.

Espresso Coffee Chiffon Cake

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.

Slice of Espresso Coffee Chiffon Cake with Berries