I’ve been spending a lot of time on Pinterest and Foodgawker lately and keep seeing chiffon cakes pop up. Chiffon cake, like the material it is named after, is a light and airy cake. The lightness comes from the beaten egg whites which are folded into the cake batter before it is baked. It is a long weekend here in Australia and it seemed like the right time to experiment and make one. We had my sister in law over for lunch on Sunday and as she enjoys chai tea I decided to make a chai chiffon cake as I thought the delicate flavour of the chai would compliment the lightness of the cake.
I have never made a chiffon cake before and was lucky to find a great post on Jo the Tart Queen with loads of hints and tips, as they can be quite difficult. I adapted the recipe to make the cake a chai one, by steeping 2 chai teabags in the milk and water which I warmed slightly. I also tore open a 3rd tea bag and added the contents when I was beating the egg yolks, which added more chai flavour as I wasn’t sure that the milky chai would be enough for the flavour to come through.
I decorated the cake with some whipped cream and cinnamon, to give it a chai latte appearance, but I think icing sugar and cinnamon would work well too. It is a very delicate cake, so a buttercream icing may tear it.
It is also important to use the right tin, try and avoid using a non stick as much as possible and do not grease the tin, I used an aluminium angel cake tin and it came out perfectly without greasing. On a final note, wait until the cake is completely cool before removing it from the tin, don’t be tempted to remove it before then as you will more than likely end up with a broken cake.
How do you like to spend your long weekends? Have you made a chiffon cake before?
Chai Chiffon Cake
Recipe adapted from Jo the Tart Queen
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
150g granulated sugar
85ml neutral oil such as canola or grape seed
35ml full cream milk
160g cake flour, sifted
3/4 teaspoon double acting baking powder (I used Wards), sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 chai teabags
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. Get your cake tin out and remember not to grease it.
2. Warm milk and water on stove or in microwave and place 2 chai teabags in the liquid to steep for 5 minutes.
3. Whisk yolks, sugar and the contents of the third teabag until pale and light. Add in the oil and whisk until incorporated.
4. Add in the chai infused milky water, then whisk in sifted dry ingredients until there are no lumps
5. Use a stand or hand held mixer to whip the egg whites. If you are using a stand mixer, use the whist attachment and whisk on medium speed until egg whites are foamy, turn the mixer to high and mix until soft peaks appear.
6. Gradually add caster sugar in small additions so that it has time to dissolve and mix until the egg whites become glossy and have stiff peaks.
7. Add 1/4 of the egg whites to the cake batter and gently whisk until well incorporated. By doing this, we are bringing the batter to a similar texture to the egg whites which will make it easier for folding in the remaining egg white mixture.
8. Add 1/2 of the remaining egg whites and gently fold in using a rubber spatula. Once you can no longer see the whites, fold in the remaining egg whites.
9. Gently pour the batter into the tin and using a rubber spatula, smooth out the top of the cake. Tap the tin lightly on the kitchen counter twice to remove air bubbles.
10. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 5 minutes. After 25 minutes check on the cake and if the top is beginning to brown too much or crack, cover with tin foil. You can also turn the temperature down to 170-175 C.
11. The cake is ready when the top is lightly brown and springs back when touched.
12. Remove cake from oven and place upside down on a cooling rack so that the base of the cake tin is facing up. When the cake is completely cooled, run a palate knife lightly around the edge , if you do have a removable base, gently tap around the base of the cake tin to help the cake come out. Try not to yank or force the cake out as it is very delicate.
13. Serve with whipped cream or with icing sugar. The cake will last for around 3 days and should be kept in an airtight container. If like me you decorated it with whipped cream, it is best stored in the fridge.