This is a dreamy chocolate chiffon cake! With real chocolatey flavour from natural cocoa, this cake is moist and super fluffy. It tastes fabulous dusted with icing sugar, frosted with chocolate buttercream or glazed with chocolate ganache.
25gcocoa powdereg. Hershey's cocoa, NOT Dutch-processed
½tspinstant coffee granules
For the meringue:
½tsp+ ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 170°C (338°F). Position an oven rack to the lowest in the oven.
Bloom the cocoa:
In a small saucepan, heat milk over low heat until hot but not simmering. Stir in cocoa powder, a little at a time, with a whisk until dissolved and free of lumps. Stir in instant coffee granules.
Add the oil, and stir to combine well. Allow the cocoa mixture to cool to room temperature.
Make the egg yolk-cocoa batter:
Meanwhile, have a 20-cm (8-inch) chiffon tube pan ready. DO NOT GREASE.
Sift together the cake flour, baking soda and salt.
In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cocoa mixture and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
Add the sifted flour mixture in 2 additions. Stir with a whisk until all the flour is incorporated and no streaks of flour are visible. The mixture should be thick, smooth and free of lumps.
Make the meringue:
Fit an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. In a dry, grease-free mixer bowl, pour in egg whites and sprinkle cream of tartar over.
Whisk on medium speed (speed 4 on my Kitchen Aid). When the egg whites become frothy, add sugar bit by bit in a steady stream. Whip until stiff peaks form. This may take 5 to 7 minutes, depending on your mixer and speed.
Fold the meringue into the egg yolk-cocoa batter:
Add ⅓ of meringue (whipped egg whites with sugar) to the egg yolk-cocoa mixture. Fold in gently with a whisk until well incorporated.
Add another ⅓ of the meringue and again, fold in gently. Add the remaining meringue and fold in gently. The final batter should feel light, and have no visible streaks of meringue.
Pour into the chiffon tube pan from one place, and let the batter spread to fill the pan. Smooth and level the surface with an offset spatula. Give the pan a few taps on the counter top to minimise air bubbles.
Baking and cooling:
Bake on the lowest rack in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until done. DO NOT open the oven door. Only do so about 5 minutes before the end of baking, to test if done. The cake is done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Note: A bit of cracking on the surface of the cake as it bakes is perfectly alright!
Immediately invert the pan over a bottle neck once it is removed from the oven. Allow it to 'hang' until completely cooled.
To remove, run an offset spatula gently around the sides of the pan. Invert the cake to free it from the sides of the pan. Then run the spatula around the base to release the funnel.
Chiffon cake is served 'upside-down'. Dust with confectioner's sugar sifted over the cake, and serve with sliced strawberries for a delicious tea treat.
1. Use the right pan
Chiffon cakes are best baked in a chiffon tube pan without non-stick coating. Do not grease the pan.
2. Use the appropriate pan size
In order for the cake to rise straight and tall, use the appropriate sized pan. When the pan is filled with batter, it should not be more than 3/4 full.
3. Have ingredients at room temperature, including eggs
Cold egg whites do not whip up as well, so it won’t trap as much air as egg whites at room temperature. When blooming cocoa, remember to allow it cool to room temperature before incorporating it into the rest of the batter.
4. Whip meringue to the ideal stiffness
5. Sift powdered ingredients together
This will give you a smoother and finer cake crumb and enable the cake to rise evenly and uniformly.
6. Do all your mixing, stirring and folding with a whisk
The meringue will incorporate more easily and thoroughly, with minimal loss of volume due to the inherent shape and structure of the whisk. It also helps reduce or eliminate air pockets in the batter.
7. Invert the chiffon pan once out of the oven
Once removed from the oven, immediately invert the pan over a bottle neck once it is removed from the oven. Or if you have tube pan with ‘feet’, invert the pan over a cooling rack. Allow it to ‘hang’ in this position until completely cooled.