I've always loved chiffon cake but baking it perfectly isn't something that I've mastered yet. Some days my cake will turn out right, some other days it will turn slightly dry and stuck to the pan. When it happens, I curse myself for not making it right. I always want to be perfect the first time around, though in the end I will realize that if it doesn't turn out right, I can always make it again another time. It's only eggs, flour, sugar, and butter, right?
The texture of chiffon cake has to be soft with tender crumbs. With proper folding technique, there shouldn't be any dense part at the bottom, it should be springy when done baking. As for the embellishment, it can beautify with painted with frosting or drizzled with sumptuous glaze, or it can left bare with a side of melty jam or compote in a bowl to eat with. I chose the latter. And why Marionberry jam? Because it's currently my favorite jam to eat (the original recipe includes an easy rhubarb jam). This cake is good and the flavor is right so the only complain I have is that it bakes darker than my other chiffon cake recipes.
There's always a room for improvement in making chiffon cake and I hope I'll get a chance to do it soon.
Orange Chiffon Cake with Marionberry Jam
Serves 8 to 10
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
6 large eggs at room temperature, separated
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Pinch of cream of tartar
Homemade Marionberry jam or store-bought jam
Preheat the oven to 375F. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and the orange zest on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the oil. Working in batches, alternately fold in the flour mixture and the orange juice, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until very soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until firm, glossy peaks form. Fold one-third of the whites into the cake batter until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites just until blended.
Scrape the batter into a 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom and lightly smooth the top. Tap the pan once to release any air pockets. Bake the cake in the bottom third of the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly pressed. Invert the cake pon onto a jar and let cool in the pan.
Run a thin metal knife between the cake the sides of the pan to loosen. Invert the cake onto a cake plate and serve with the Marionberry jam.
Source: Food and Wine, March 1998