Lemon Chiffon Cake

A light and airy cake is on the menu today.  It’s a cool day with overcast skies.  A respite from the tropical heat experienced over the last few days.  I really welcome the slight drizzle and the cool breeze with big open arms.  Walking my dog today has been so pleasant.

The weather has put me in a good mood to bake a lemon chiffon cake.  I hadn’t had a chiffon cake for many months.  The cake turned out pleasantly, light and airy with a tinge of fresh lemon scent.  I love it.  The recipe is pretty simple and uncomplicated.  I used the juice of half a lemon and some lemon rind to flavour the cake.  The other ingredients are the standard egg yolks, egg whites, vegetable oil, caster sugar and cake flour.  For the meringue, I beat my egg whites till they are at soft peak stage.  The cake rose beautifully and shrank just a little while cooling (this is normal).  The cake tasted light and refreshing and is a perfect pairing with tea or coffee.  I’m thankful for this simple enjoyment I have today.

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Lemon Chiffon Cake

Ingredients (for a 17cm chiffon cake pan):

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 15g caster sugar
  • 20ml fresh milk
  • 40ml vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 15ml lemon juice (about juice of 1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 70g cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 egg whites
  • 45g caster sugar

Direction:

  1. Preheat oven to 170C.
  2. Using a hand whisk, mix egg yolks and 15g sugar until all the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Add milk and continue to whisk.  Then add lemon juice and lemon rind, whisk to combine.
  4. Add vegetable oil and whisk to combine everything.
  5. Add cake flour and baking powder and use a spatula to fold the flour into the wet mixture.  Set aside.
  6. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until they become frothy.  Add 45g sugar in 3 parts, beating until you get soft peaks.
  7. Take 1/3 of the meringue and fold into the egg yolk mixture.  Make sure that the meringue is completely folded in.  Repeat with another 1/3 until all the meringue is folded completely into the egg yolk mixture.
  8. Pour batter into chiffon cake pan.  The cake pan doesn’t need any parchment paper or greasing.
  9. Tap the cake pan on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles trapped in the batter.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  11. When the cake is done, remove from the oven carefully and immediately invert the cake pan on the base of a cup or bowl.  This step is important so that the cake doesn’t collapse.
  12. Let the cake cool completely.  This takes about 1 hour.
  13. When the cake has cooled, turn the cake pan over and use a thin bladed knife to run through the rim to release the cake.
  14. Slice cake and store in an air-tight container.

 

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Baking a Chiffon Cake

I wanted to bake a cake this week.  I wanted to make something light and I thought of chiffon cake immediately.  I had not baked a chiffon cake for a few months and I started thinking of the flavour.  I had lemons on hand and almost went with it.  Then I thought – If I went with lemons I would have leftover cake because not everyone in my family likes a citrus cake.  The other choice that was playing in my mind was Pandan Chiffon.  Ok, Pandan Chiffon would be a hit in our household.

If you live in Singapore or visited Singapore, you will know that Pandan chiffon is the most famous of all chiffon cakes.  This pastel green, feather-light, cottony cake is aromatic and flavourful.  The texture is soft and cottony and the taste is sweet and fragrant.  The fragrance comes from the cake’s star ingredient – Pandan, also known as Screwpine Leaf in some parts of the world.  Locally, we call this leaf Pandan.  It is a tropical plant used in a lot in South East Asia cooking.  It is almost always paired with coconut milk in South East Asian cooking.  In Pandan Chiffon Cake, coconut milk goes hand in hand with Pandan.

Image result for pandan leaf

Pandan/ScrewpineLeaves

I managed to get Pandan leaves and coconut milk at the market and made Pandan Chiffon yesterday.  Pandan leaves can be grown at home and can be easily found at supermarkets and wet markets in Singapore.  If you are living in other parts of the world and would like to try Pandan Chiffon, you can try to see if the Asian supermarkets sell the leaves or perhaps some bakeries do have Pandan Chiffon.

Pandan Chiffon Cake (17cm chiffon pan)

Ingredients:

90g cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

25g granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

100ml pandan coconut milk**

11/2 tablespoon vegetable oil **

3 egg whites

50g granulated sugar

Notes:

** To make 100ml pandan coconut milk, blend 120ml of coconut milk with at least 8 blades of pandan leaves.  Cut the pandan leaves into small pieces before blending.

** I used canola oil, do not use olive oil as the taste will turn out differently.  Use light flavoured oils such as canola or sunflower.

** Do not oil or grease the chiffon cake pan because the cake needs to stick to the sides of the pan to rise.

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Directions:

  1. Make pandan coconut milk by blending 120ml coconut milk with at least 8 blades of pandan leaves cut into small pieces.  Using a sieve, strain to get 100ml of pandan coconut milk.
  2. Separate egg yolks and whites and leave them till they reach room temperature.  (Tip: use eggs from the refrigerator as they are easier to separate than those left in room temperature)
  3. Whisk egg yolks with 25g granulated sugar till light and airy.
  4. Stir in vegetable oil followed by pandan coconut milk.  Stir till well combined.
  5. Sieve cake flour and baking powder over egg yolk mixture.  Fold to incorporate well with the egg yolk and pandan coconut milk.
  6. Preheat oven to 170 degree celcius.
  7. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites till foamy.  Add 50g sugar in thirds, each time beating well on medium speed.  Beat till stiff peaks form.  One way to test if egg whites or meringue has reached stiff peaks is to overturn the bowl.  The egg whites/meringue will stick to the bowl and not fall out.pandanchiffon3
  8. Take about one third of the beaten egg whites/meringue and fold into the egg yolk mixture. Fold till there are no traces of egg whites.  Light and swift folds are required so as not to deflate the egg whites.
  9. Next, take another one third and fold into the egg yolk mixture.
  10. Finally take the last third and fold into the mixture ensuring that everything is well incorporated and no traces of egg whites are present.
  11. Pour batter into chiffon cake pan.
  12. Tap the cake pan on the counter a few times to break any air bubbles in the batter.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes.  The cake will rise above the cake pan whilst baking.  This is normal.
  14. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the cake pan on an overturned cup.  This is to prevent the cake from collapsing.
  15. Let it cool completely for at least one to one and a half hours before removing from the cake pan.
  16. Use a thin bladed knife to run along the cake pan to release the cake.
  17. Cut into slices and enjoy.

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