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Friday, June 20, 2008

Chiffon Cake Tips and Trouble

I took the opportunity of baking pandan chiffon cake to take a step by step picture for the process. I hope this will help those who are attempting to bake a chiffon cake for the first time. I will update this post again when I am ready for the problem part. Perhaps you would like to drop me a note about the problem you experienced during baking a chiffon cake. I will try my best to answer.

I am using this receipe. You will need 2 clean mixing bowls. Crack and separate the egg whites and egg yolks into respective bowls. You will find that chilled eggs are easier to separate than eggs at room temperature. However, during whisking, room temperature eggs will achieve stiff peak faster than chilled eggs.

1. Whisk 4 egg yolks with 30g of sugar till the sugar dissolves. The yolks will look pale.

2. Add corn oil, 40g.

3. Whisk to emulsify the yolk and oil.

4. Pour coconut milk and pandan juice mixture.

5. Whisk together.

6. Add sifted flour.

7. Stir well with whisk till there are no lumps. Take note and recognise the texture of the batter. It comes in handy when you want to substitute flavours. After adding flour, when you lift up the whisk, the marks will disappear in 3 counts. My handphone camera is too slow to capture this.

8. In another bowl, whisk the white till foamy.

9. Add sugar in 3 additions and whisk till soft peak. Notice the tip.

10. Add cream of tartar. It is a type of acid added to stabilise the whites.

11. Whisk the whites till stiff peak. Take note of the tip again, it shouldn't flop like the previous picture. The whites should look glossy, not foamy. If they look foamy and you see liquid at the bottom, you have overbeaten the whites. The egg whites have separated into protein and water.

12. The ultimate test of faith. Attempt at your own risk. If you have achieved stiff peak, the whites will not drop. From this step onwards, you will need to act fast. If the whites are left to stand, they will start to separate (lazy bums who dislikes standing) into water and protein.

13. Add a portion of whites (approx. by eye 1/3)

14. Fold in to lighten the yolk batter.

15. Pour in the yolk mixture into whites.

16. Fold in the batter in quick and swift strokes. Be light-handed. Be careful not to deflate the white. Slide the spatula into the bottom and scoop the whites up. This is the final battle batter.


17. If you are using a 4 yolks, 5 whites recipe and a 21cm tube pan like me, you can use the 2 dots at the side as a datum. The batter should fill up to the bottom of the 2 dots. Bang the pan on a flat surface to get rid of those big bubbles trapped in the batter during pouring. I did not take the picture of the cake in the oven because Ah Boy woke up for milk when the cake rise. If the folding is done correctly, the cake will rise to the same height as the centre tube. I need to tent the cake to avoid the top being burnt.

18. Overturn the pan to cool. Allow ample space below for air circulation.

19. The cake will deflate after cooling. The final height should be about the same as the tin or slightly more. Run a shape knife along the side of the pan and bottom to remove the cake.

20. Final product. Dig in.

Do not be afraid to attempt chiffon cakes. It is not as difficult as one would have thought. Once you grasp the basics, it is a breeze to make one. All you need is a little practise.

To be continued~~


Anonymous said...

Wow ! You're really so so so thoughtful. The steps shown are extremely helpful. Thanks for your generous and unselfish sharing.

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

absolutely delicious!

Anonymous said...

that looks yummy rei. and so detailed too. usually greg and i would be too lazy to post so much pic because of dowloading. Good on you!

Rei said...

Yin : You're welcome! I hope it will be of some use to you. :)

Terri : Yup, to date, it's still one of my favourites.

Nee : Thanks for dropping by! It's quite a task as it is a 1 man show. Haha.. I hope I don't have to do this often. :D

Anonymous said...

Hi rei,

Like your step by step instruction of doing the chiffon cake. How thoughtful of you.

I attempted making chiffon cake many times but is a flop. Though I use my own recipe but the steps and ing. about the same as yours.

After bake, I overturn the pan to cool the cake, the cake will slip off the pan very easily and the cake sink. I don't need to scrap the side to remove the cake. The cake is not dry as yours. What could be the problem? Pls advise.

thank you.

teng chin

Anonymous said...

Hi Ray, first time here and was greeted by such a thoughtful owner and delicious cake. Thanks for sharing! Shall drop by often :)

Rei said...

Teng Chin : Thanks for dropping by. A couple of possibilities will attribute to cake slipping off the tin.

1) Underbaking. Every oven is different and you need to know the temperament of your oven. I have a couple of friends experienced the same thing as you. After using an oven thermometer to check, the oven's temperature is much lower than indicated. Thus you may have to prolong the baking time.

2) Egg whites left standing too long or not beaten to stiff peak.

3) The egg white is deflated during folding. Point 2 & 3 will result in a cake which is of a higher water content as the whites separated into water and protein. Thus the cake will sink.

Also, do not use a non stick pan to bake a chiffon cake or grease the pan. I find that aluminium pans are by far the better ones to use. Hope this helps and let me know again. :)

hn : Welcome! I just hopped by your blog, your baby's lovely!

Yuri said...

Hey Rei, thanks for the step by step photos, looking forward to the diagnosis portion :D I didn't have time to bake chiffon cake this weekend, hmm, maybe next week...

Anonymous said...

Hi there, Rei. Got here from Happy Home Baking's. I've always heard of flop stories when it comes to baking chiffon cakes, so it's really useful for you to post up step-by-step pictures :) I've never tried them myself, but now I feel tempted to!

Anonymous said...

NEE: I have added a link of you to our blog. Save me the troble of remembering the whole address.

I have to try the grape wine making one of these days..hahaha...

Anonymous said...

Hi Rei, thanks for the step by step pictures-i'm sure everyone appreciates your detailed pictures. Itching to bake a pandan cake now. Thanks again!

Rei said...

Yuri : Ahah.. I'm waiting for the diagnosis portion too! :D

Ovenhaven : Thankd for popping by!

Nee : Thanks for linking me up! I'd like to do the same.

Anon : Hi, glad that the pics are useful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rei, will try out and let u know the result.

Once again, thank you very much.

Teng Chin

Goody Egg said...

I still have some doubts about the the first part of preparing chiffon cake.1) Can I use blender to mix the yolks and other ingredients instead of a whisk?

My chiffon finally never drop out of the pan this time (third attempts), this time I bake longer time and no wet patches any more. Will try your method of opening the oven door slightly to cool down the cake a bit before taking it out to overturn. Hope my chiffon will not shrink that much next time.

If you are free,2)can you post a picture how you cover the cake pan with alum foil when baking the chiffon cake, mine get a bit messy. 3)Will my cake shrink if I take out the cake at the last 10mins?

Hee hee, sorry, so many questions, still a green horn lah! Hope u don't mind.

Regards, Kium

Rei said...

Teng Chin : You're welcome! :)

Kium : No worries. :) I have not tried using a blender or an electric whisk for the yolk batter, thus I am not too sure. When you leave it to cool in the oven with door slightly ajar, do take note that it is for 2 to 3 mins max.

Sure, I can take the pics next time when I bake chiffon cake again. Sometimes the cake does get stuck to foil. Don't worry coz you will overturn the cake upon serving right? :D

About taking it out in the last 10 minutes; unless you are sure that the cake is baked thoroughly, you can. Reason being, each oven is different so baking time may vary. You have to ensure that the cake is cooked thoroughly so that the cake structure is established. If not the cake will collapse. This is what I usually do. When I used the skewer to test, even if it comes out clean, I will bake further for 5 to 8 mins just to be sure. HTH.

Goody Egg said...

Hi Rei,
Thanks for your prompt reply.Each time I bake, I learn something new.I learn a lot from you too,you are my "shi fu" now, ha ha! Thank again.
Rgds, Kium

Aimei said...

Hi Rei,

Thanks so much for the detailed explanation!

I had followed all your steps...but as I've mentioned to you before, my top started to shrink when I took it out from the oven and overturn it, or sometimes before the baking time. :(

I think could be the oven too hot. I've not tried your method of leaving in the oven for a while yet. I'm afraid though that it will shrink further if I don't overturn it immeidately.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rei,

I'm really puzzled what went wrong while beating the egg white with my philips stand mixer. I couldn't get whisk till soft peak & stiff peak though tried 4x (2x for each bake ... sob sob) Was it the speed or the timing of beat or the freshness of the egg ? It was watery, no matter how i do it. I don't seems to get it done correctly. Roughly what speed and how long should i beat ?

My 1st attempt to make pandan chiffon with my hand power i managed to get that effect for both soft & stiff peak but when it come to m/c beat i just couldn't do it right. :(

Rei said...

Yin : Sad to hear that. I am also using a Philips mixer. If the egg whites cannot whisk to soft peak, you will need to check the bowl and the whisk you are using. They must be dry and grease-free. Any oil will hinder the egg whites from performing. Also check if there are traces of egg yolks. I did not record down the time for whisking the egg whites actually. Usually I will use the max speed, Philips mixer is not that strong anyway. I read somewhere, it takes about 8 to 10 minutes to reach to stiff peak. Remember to add the sugar in batches. It is easier to fluff up the egg whites this way. HTH

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rei for your speedy reply. Yes, there's some egg yolks trace. As for the adding of sugar, i add in by the side while the m/c is rotating while beating. Is this ok ? Can i check the texture by slowing down the beating or stop to check ?

Rei said...

Yin : Adding the sugar by the side is totally fine. It is alright to stop and check/scrape down the whites. A short stop doesn't affect much. Separating the yolks can be tricky sometimes, take extra care doing that. :D

Anonymous said...

hi rei,

it is very thoughtful of you to post the steps so detailed. if i had chance upon your blog earlier i would have an easier time trying to bake chiffon cakes.

the egg yolk mixture can be whisked by electrical mixer. i have tried it.

im using a cornell (ard 36bucks) handheld mixture and i get my stiff peaks in less than 5mins.


Rei said...

ZY : Thanks your your tip. Yes, the yolk mixture can be whisked by the handheld mixer. I used a hand whisk for yolk mixtutre bcoz I didn't want to wash the paddles then use it for whisking the whites.

Yen said...

Hi Rei,

I enjoyed your blog a lot.. I have been baking chiffon for a while but always have the problem of the top sinking quite abit.. not to half the height, but still quite a bit.. wonder what can be wrong.. should i bake it a bit more and also leave it in the hot oven for a while?

Rei said...

Suk Yen : It may be due to the sudden decrease of temperature. You could leave the oven door open for a while before taking the cake out to cool.

MsCake said...

Hi Rei

You have a wonderful blog with lots of goodies !

I love to bake chiffon cakes but have never been to any classes before. Thus, baking powder for this type of cake is a must for me EVEN THOUGH certain recipe did not call for... Also, I have the following problems which I hope you can assist :

1) Mixing of flour into the yolk batter (Not smooth batter)

2) Folding of eggwhite and eggyolk batter. I need at least 8 to 10 strokes of mixing altogether.

3) I noticed yr method: to whisk and add sugar in eggwhite first, followed by adding cream of tartar last. Sorry for asking this, as most chiffon recipes that I saw is add c of tartar then sugar. Any special reason for doing so?

Thanks for your patience.


Rei said...

Catherine : Hi there, if the yolk batter isn't smooth, you need to check if the liquid is weighed properly.

There is no specific number of strokes to achieve thorough mixing. But 8 to 10 strokes are moderate.

As to when to add cream of tartar, it boils down to preference. I like to stabilise the whites using sugar first, then with cream of tartar. Either way it will work. However, I feel that adding sugar first will help shorten the time needed to reach stiff peak.

Hope this helps. :)

Kristie said...

Hi Rei,

Thanks so much for this useful list of chiffon tips.

I have a slight problem, the last time I baked a chiffon cake, when I inverted it to cool, and later unmould it, it totally caved in, it was like an hour glass shaped chiffon cake :(

I suspect it's the egg whites but everytime I make chiffon cakes, the outcome is different... I really would like to know where did I go wrong and what signs can I look out for?

Thanks :)

newbie said...

Hi Rei,
Thanks for the chiffon tips. It really enlightens a newbie like me.
I've recently bought a tube pan which is 'non-stick', stating that it's perfect for angel cakes.
But, will the non-stick surface affect the rising process of the cake? will the batter be unable to cling to the sides to rise causing a very dense cake? or if the cake falls out when i invert it, will the cake collapse a lot resulting in a dense cake?

sorry for so many questions..

Bakericious said...

Thanks for the chiffon tips, it is so useful for 1st timer like me.

Cherry said...

Thanks for your sharing. However, i would like to ask, is it possible to sub corn oil with soya bean oil or olive oil? thanks!