Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Tuesday night we were going to a potluck dinner and all I could think about was an old favorite recipe for Chocolate Chiffon Cake. I dug through my two recipe card files and finally found the smudged and splattered note cards bearing the sacred recipe. The source of this cake and the wonderful icing has long passed from my poor little memory but from whoever or wherever I obtained it, Thank You! I've been making this cake for a long time. Last time I was at my mom's we were looking through a box of old photographs and came across one of my birthdays, maybe my twentieth, and this cake was there on the table decked out with pink candles. Of course, my twentieth birthday wasn't all that long ago but let's just say, I've had a few cakes since then. About the cake, it has a beautiful even texture and taste remarkably like a homemade Hostess cupcake without the weird cream stuff inside. The icing is just a bit thicker than a glaze but thin enough to run down the sides of the cake in glorious chocolate rivers. You will have to excuse the odd color in the photo above, by the time it was cooled and iced the sun had long been gone. I was left with my kitchen lights to work with and they just aren't the same. Now to make this cake, you make some of this:

And then some of this:

Fold it together like this:

When it's mixed together pour it in a pan like this:

Put it in the oven to bake and hopefully your kitchen won't look like this:

If it does, don't worry, it's nothing a little elbow grease and promise of cake to come won't fix. Here is the recipe, I hope you come to love this cake too.

Chocolate Chiffon Cake
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 cup boiling water
1 3/4 cup cake flour (substitute 1 1/4 cup + 1 Tbls. unbleached flour and 5 Tbls. cornstarch)
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
7 eggs, separated (see note below)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

In a bowl, combine cocoa and boiling water, cool 20 minutes or until room temperature. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, soda and salt. Stir in oil, egg yolks, vanilla and cocoa mixture. Beat until smooth. In a large bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar until still peaks form. Gradually fold the chocolate mixture into the egg whites using a motion from the bottom of the bowl up to the top instead of a circular stirring motion. This will mix the batter without deflating the egg whites. In a chiffon cake the air you beat into the white helps the cake to rise and gives it a soft texture. You don't want to stir out all the air you just beat into the whites. Pour the batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan (tube pan) and bake on the lowest oven rack at 325 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes. Invert pan to cool completely. Then remove the cake from the pan by running a knife around the outer edge of the pan then the inner ring. Turn the pan upside down and pop it out of the outer part of the pan. Then run the knife between the cake and the bottom of the pan and the cake will fall onto the platter. Ta da!

A note about separating eggs. There are all sorts of contraptions for separating eggs but my mama taught me to do it using the egg shell. Crack your egg over the bowl you want to put the egg whites in. Hold the halves of the shell in each hand with the yolk in one half. Let the white run out into the bowl. Gently tip the yolk into the other half of the egg shell. Do this back and forth until all the white is separated from the yolk. If you have trouble and the yolk starts to break, just stop and dump it into the bowl for the yolks. A little white in the yolks is fine, what you don't want is yolk in the whites. The yolk contains the fat of the egg and any fat will keep the whites from beating up stiff like you want. Try it, you'll feel like a real chef!

Chocolate Icing
1/3 cup butter
2 cups powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 to 4 Tablespoons hot water

Melt the butter, stir in the powdered sugar, cocoa and vanilla. Stir until very smooth. Stir in enough hot water to make the icing pourable. Drizzle over the cooled cake and spread with a spoon, pushing gently to help it run down the sides of the cake. Do not make this icing too long before the cake is cooled or you may be temped to eat it before you are able to put it on the cake. This has never happened to me, I'm just saying this could happen to some one of lesser constitution. Enjoy!


Kristin said...

"that looks heavenly" said someone of lesser constitution who might have to bake tomorrow.

Kristin said...

PS making your, I mean Martha's, tomato soup right now.

Rebekah said...

mmmm - this sounds delish! I've never made a chiffon cake before.

Have you ever tried to make your own cream filling for it, to make it more like a Hostess cupcake? Now that would be something :)

Elece Hollis said...

It's enough to make you cry!