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Chiffon cakes are a type of foam cake that are created by whipping eggs until they are stiff during the process of making the cakes. This is in contrast to traditional cakes, which use butter as the primary fat. Chiffon cakes can be rather difficult to make because of the delicate nature of the whipped eggs. After this skill is mastered, however, this recipe can be used time and again.
To bake a chiffon cake, one needs two cups (460 g) of flour, 1.5 cups (345 g) of white sugar, one tablespoon (14 g) of baking powder, one teaspoon (5 g) of salt, a half of a cup (115 g) of vegetable oil, seven egg yolks, seven egg whites, three-fourths of a cup (172 g) of cold water, two teaspoons (10 g) of vanilla extract, one teaspoon (5 g) of lemon extract or another flavoring, and a half-teaspoon (2.5 g) of cream of tartar. After the ingredients have been gathered, an oven should be preheated to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (163 degrees Celsius).
The next step is for the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to be mixed in a large bowl. Using a hand, the preparer then makes a large dip in the center of the dry ingredients. Into the dip are poured the vegetable oil, water, yolks and flavoring. The mixture is stirred for approximately two minutes or until the batter is smooth. This becomes the foundation for the chiffon cake.
Into a new bowl are placed the egg whites and cream of tartar. Using a whisk, one must gently beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until there are stiff white peaks in the bowl. This is the most important part of the recipe. The eggs must be stiff before the next step can be taken.
When this has been achieved, the egg whites are then folded — not poured — into the previous batter. This can be accomplished using a frosting spatula and turning the two mixtures over each other slowly as the stiff egg white mixture is added. The mixture is then placed into a baking dish and allowed to cook for one hour or until the cake becomes “springy” when touched. After the chiffon cake has cooled, it can be removed from the pan and frosted. When the chiffon cake is complete, it can be decorated in the same way as a regular cake.
@Rotergirl -- Well, a stand mixer is helpful, but you can do it with an electric hand mixer, if you have a whisk attachment.
The main thing to remember with egg whites is to make sure your bowl and beaters are absolutely spotlessly clean. One tiny big of grease or egg yolk will doom your egg whites. Wash them really well, and wash the bowl. Don't use plastic. It's too hard to get the grease out.
A standard tube pan is what I generally use for a chiffon cake. Mine does have a removable bottom, so that helps. It also has the little tabs at the top that serve as "feet" to invert the cake pan on for cooling. I don't
know why that works better, but it does. If you don't have the little tabs, then you can invert the pan on a wine bottle or any bottle whose mouth is narrow enough to fit into the cake pan tube.
A clean bowl and beaters will work wonders for fluffy egg whites, though, along with a smidgen of cream of tartar.
I don't think I'd even start on this one unless I had a stand mixer -- a good one. That's the only way a cook is going to get the egg whites really beaten properly.
Working with egg whites scares me anyway.