by Sharon Wee

Many years ago, Nick bought me a chiffon cake tin which I never got around to using until late last year. I was in Singapore and my mum and I decided to make a chiffon cake. It turned out pretty good (mainly because of the type of flour that was available, you need a good quality cake flour for good results) but it was not perfect. We brought it to a family dinner where my Aunt, who was an ex home economics teacher, gave me a few extra tips.

When I got back to Sydney, I decided to try to make a chiffon cake with the cake flour we had available here. I was determined to make it work. So I purchased a 15kg bag of cake flour (it was the only size I could get from the wholesaler!) and tried and tried. All the while, my cousins, brother and Nick ate and ate 🙂 Below is the recipe I used and have adapted from Just One Cookbook.

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Lemon Funfetti Chiffon Cake
Best fits a 7in chiffon cake tin. Can easily be doubled to fit a 9in chiffon cake tin.

3 large egg yolks
85 g caster sugar
3 Tbsp. vegetable or rice bran oil
4 Tbsp. lemon juice (approx 1 lemon)
75 g cake flour**, sifted (A good quality flour makes a difference here but you can also make your own – see below)
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. baking powder
4 large egg whites
3 Tbsp. hundred and thousands (Also known as sprinkles. This is optional.)

** To make cake flour, take one level cup of all purpose flour, remove two tablespoons, and then add two tablespoons of cornstarch back in. Be sure to sift the flour to distribute the cornstarch well before using it in your cake batter

Instructions
– Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius.

– In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, 1/3 of the sugar, the lemon zest, lemon juice and oil. Whisk until it is combined.

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– Add the flour into the mixture and combine until it becomes a batter.

– Using an electric mixer, mix the egg whites on medium until it becomes foamy. Add 1/3 of the sugar, continue beating and then add the remaining 1/3 of sugar.

– Increase the mixer speed to high and beat the egg whites until it forms stiff peaks (this means that when you lift the beaters the egg whites form a stiff peak without falling over). Do not over beat the whites or else it will be hard to incorporate with the egg yolk batter.

– Fold about 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg batter until just combined and then add it all back into the remaining egg whites all at once and fold it until well combined.

– Add in the sprinkles and fold quickly a few more times (don’t over fold here as the sprinkle colour will start to bleed)

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– Pour the batter into the chiffon tin and use a skewer and run it in circular motions over the top of the batter (instead of tapping the tin on the counter). This will help to even out the batter so that it will bake evenly.

– Bake for approx 1 hour on the bottom rack. If you are unsure if it is ready, leaving it in the oven for an extra 10 minutes or so will not affect the cake.

– Once it’s done, remove the tin from the oven and immediately turn it over. The cake has to cool upside down. Most chiffon tins will have feet on the edges that will help. If not, place the tin on a wire rack, on an empty wine bottle or balance the edges on some cups. As long as there is airflow below it.

Picture taken by Sheryl at Buns in the Oven Cupcakery.
Picture taken by Sheryl at Buns in the Oven Cupcakery.

– Allow the cake to cool (this should take a couple of hours) and then run a sharp knife along the edge. Push the bottom of the tin and twist it slightly. It will feel like you are squishing the cake, but with some gentle pressure and twisting, the cake will pop out.

– Turn the cake onto the serving plate. Run your knife along the cake tin base and gently twist and remove the centre.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Recipe
(Original recipe from Joanne of Simple IngredientsThis is more than enough for what you need. You can cling wrap and keep the leftovers in the fridge up to a week or in the freezer up to a month.

240g Unsalted butter, room temperature
150g Caster sugar
3 Egg whites, Large, room temperature
½ tsp Vanilla bean paste (optional, you can also use extract)

Instructions
– Beat butter until fluffy and pale, using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment.

– Fill a medium saucepan with water (one-third full), heat it on the stove (do not boil, simmer).

– Mix egg whites and sugar together in a heat-proof bowl or bowl of a stand-mixer and whisk over the pot of simmering water. Whisk until sugar dissolves.

– Using stand-mixer with whisk attachment, beat mixture on high speed until light and fluffy for about 10 minutes until the bowl is cool to touch. Reduce speed to low, add butter in, few tablespoons at a time while mixer is on.

– Once all butter is added, beat mixture on medium speed until mixture is smooth, then add vanilla bean paste.

White Chocolate Ganache Drip

200g White Chocolate
100g thickened cream (this is available in Australia – pouring cream is fine if you cannot get this)

Instructions
– Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave bowl and microwave it in 30 second increments (stirring in between) until it is well combined.

– Wait until it is cool before pouring it over the chiffon cake. Allow some of the ganache to drip down the sides.

Lemon Curd

I used the following recipe from Chef Steps because I had just purchased an Anova sous vide precision cooker and wanted to test if it would be possible to make lemon curd with it. And it worked great! Everything gets mixed into a bag, placed in a water bath for about an hour and a half and then blended for instant lemon curd 🙂 No more stirring over the stove!

I placed the curd in a container and into the fridge to set. And because of the gelatine, it set firm. Once it was firm, I just used a melon baller to scoop out some half spheres to decorate the cake. You can always just pipe the curd on to the cake if you want to do something less complicated.

But in case you don’t have a sous vide cooker, whisk the yolks and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place pan over a low heat. Add the butter, juice, citric acid, gelatine, salt and zest and whisk continuously until thickened.

Arrangement and Additional Notes

– Drizzle the ganache over the cake and then pipe the buttercream around the top. Add the lemon curd and fresh fruit if desired.

– The chiffon cake is yummy on its own and does not actually need any frosting or toppings, so the buttercream, ganache and lemon curd are optional and really only needed if you want to make the cake more presentable.

– The cake is also very light so take care not to pile a lot of things on top.

Do not use a non-stick tin or grease the tin. The batter is very light and needs to stick to the sides to rise.

– It’s also best eaten within 1-2 days of baking.

Hope you enjoy the cake! It might seem like a complicated cake to make but once you get the hang of it (and use the right tin), it’s a quick and pretty easy cake to whip up 🙂

Some of Sharon's favourite tools

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