Monday, March 26, 2012

Tangerine-poppy seed chiffon cake

Tangerine poppy seed chiffon cake / Bolo chiffon de tangerina e sementes de papoula

Up until a couple of weekends ago the only chiffon cakes I’d baked were layer cakes: they were delicious and perfect for birthday celebrations, but I wanted to make one of those tall, elegant chiffon cakes (baked in tube pans) I’d seen on some cookbooks and blogs. I chose this recipe because I love tangerines and the idea of a cake made with them sounded very refreshing, exactly what that very warm Saturday called for. The cake turned out fine – there was a bit of swearing during the unmolding moments, but nothing serious – and eating it felt like biting a cloud (not that I have ever bitten a cloud, but you get the picture), but unfortunately the tangerine flavor was too mild – maybe because I did not add the tangerine oil, I don’t know. Therefore, I have suggestion for you: make this cake using lemons or limes instead and go wild with the zest – I promise you I’m not being biased (at least not this time). :D

Tangerine-poppy seed chiffon cake
from the great The Art and Soul of Baking

1¾ cups (210g) cake flour*
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons (176g), plus ¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup poppy seeds (optional)
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons flavorless vegetable oil
6 large eggs, separated
finely grated zest of 2 large tangerines
½ cup (120ml) strained freshly squeezed tangerine juice
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure tangerine oil**
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ½ cups (210g) confectioners' sugar
1½ -2 tablespoons strained freshly squeezed tangerine juice
1/8 teaspoon pure tangerine oil**

Preheat the oven to 165°C/325°F. Have ready an ungreased 25cm (10in) tube pan with a removable bottom (I once made an angel food cake with a regular tube pan and it worked out fine – I just placed a ring of baking paper in the bottom of the pan).
Make the cake: sift the cake flour, the 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons (176g) granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt into the large bowl. Add the poppy seeds and whisk to blend. Make a well in the center and pour in the oil, egg yolks, tangerine zest and juice, vanilla extract, and tangerine oil. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is very smooth. Set aside.
Make sure your whisk attachment (or beaters) and your mixing bowl are scrupulously clean. In the bowl of the stand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium just until frothy. You can also use a hand mixer and a medium bowl. Add the cream of tartar and whip on medium-high until soft peaks form. With the mixer on medium, slowly add the remaining ¼ cup (50g) of granulated sugar and whip until the whites hold very firm peaks. (This cake requires stiff egg whites for its height and open texture, so don't be afraid to beat a few seconds longer than you normally would for firm peaks.) To check for firm peaks, with a spoon scoop bowl when the spoon was lifted should hold their shape.
Use the spatula to gently stir a mound of beaten whites into the bowl of batter. This step slightly lightens and loosens the mixture, making it easier to fold in the remaining whites without deflating them. Scrape the remaining egg whites into the bowl and gently but thoroughly fold them into the batter until no streaks of egg whites remain.
Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the cake has risen, the top is lightly golden and feels firm to the touch, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Immediately invert the pan onto its feet or over the wine or soda bottle***. Allow to cool completely, at least 2 hours.
Invert the cake so it is right side up. Run the thin, flexible knife or spatula around the edges to loosen it from the pan. As you do this, gently press the knife into the side of the pan to avoid gouging the cake. Push the removable bottom upward to free the cake from the side. Run the same knife around the inside tube and along the bottom of the cake, if necessary, to finish loosening it. Place a plate on top of the cake and invert, removing the cake from the pan, then invert it again to set it right side up.

Make the icing: sift the confectioners' sugar into the medium bowl. Whisk in the tangerine juice and tangerine oil until the mixture is very smooth. Drizzle over the cooled cake.

The cake will keep well at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap or under a cake dome, for several days. Once cut, press a piece of plastic wrap firmly against the cut surfaces to help keep it fresh

* homemade cake flour: 1 cup (140g) all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch

** I did not use the tangerine oil (I’ve never seen it here in Brazil) that could be the reason why the tangerine flavor in the cake and the icing wasn’t strong enough

*** I could not find a bottle that fit into the tube of my pan, so I inverted it onto a cooling rack

Serves 10-12


Laura (Tutti Dolci) said...

Great minds think alike - I just made tangerine-vanilla tea cakes! :) I love tangerines and a cloud-like cake sounds fabulous! Your glaze is beautiful.

asj said...

Qué pasada de bueno y de bien presentado.


Elizabeth King said...

Looks so delicious! Your pictures come out so clear and beautiful!

Aurélie said...

It looks delicious, I love poppy seeds! x

Gracie said...

Looks tall and lovely!

brookeO said...

This cake screams spring to me! Now I need a reason to bake a cake...

argone said...

I love this kind of cake ... seems so soft ! thank you !

Unknown said...

This looks like a perfect cake!!!

Tesei said...

Patricia, this looks sooo lovely!

Rosa said...

Me lo comería ahora mismo que pinta.

Laura @ GotChocolate said...

Wow! This looks SO good! Only thing "missing" are some chocolate shavings! HAHA!

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