You know how a lot of us get utterly caught up in a myriad of daily responsibilities we forget what helps take the glitches away in our lives. Well, for me, Baking helped.
At Spoonful, I’ve earned myself the nickname The Midnight Baker because as a mom of 2, I just couldn’t afford to bake with a 1-year-old clinging around my ankles. So nothing gets done unless they sleep (Right Moms?)
Undoubtedly, I’ve also been influenced by the dynamic Spoonful team who has been constantly encouraging me to cook & bake. My day job also fueled my passion – something that I’ve been putting off since my teenage years because I didn’t have my very own kitchen to blow up … er I mean to cook in!
Anyhoo, I’ve recently been crazy over white cakes, chiffon especially, cos I find them so fluffy and soft and easy to eat! I’ve experimented and tweaked my recipe and came up with … tada~ this pretty Pomegranate Hidden Heart White Chiffon Cake (simply because I like pretty things ;p). Sharing the recipe here by the way!
I believe I experimented working on the same recipe more than a dozen times, adjusting from liquids to oven temperatures to even the size of the baking trays and even taking short classes to find out the theory and basics in baking that I may not be aware of. This particular cake can still be improved I believe but as much as nutrition and taste go, can I say I’ve nailed it? (Nevermind me, I was just feeding my own ego here, haha!)
So making a chiffon, as I found out, can be a piece of cake…. or not! Many times have I attempted and failed miserably. The cake doesn’t rise, the cake collapsed, it was too wet, it became too dry, how do I store it. While I didn’t’ go to any culinary schools, there’s a tonne of research I’ve done online and seriously, nothing beats practice to perfecting something.
Since this post is getting a little long (cos yours truly is a mom and moms love to nag,) I’ll be switching to powerpoint mode now. -> Point form!
Tips to Baking a Perfect Chiffon Cake
1. Room Temperature:
Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature before you start.
2. Follow the recipe:
It’s all about the chemistry, so follow the recipe to the T! Many of us like to reduce sugar but all in all we still need it to help form and hold the structure of the meringue.
3. Beating the whites.
Before you start, make sure there is not a single drop of yolk in your whites or any grease in your bowl or beater. Any fat mixed in and your whites will not form properly. Acid like lemon juice or cream of tartar helps form the structure of the meringue better so use it.
4. Dumping sugar:
Try not to dump all the sugar in at once when beating the whites as this will knock out all the nice bubbles that you’ve whipped up. Just think of it in human form – would you prefer buried little by little or having all the grit dumped onto you at once? ^_^
5. Practice your folding & mixing strokes:
This might sound like a basic but believe me, I have never thought that folding in a meringue wrongly or overdoing it could actually destroy the whole cake! Make sure to do it with gentle strokes and not over mix it or you’ll knock out all the air bubbles that are supposed to form the basic support structure of the cake. J-folds are great for beginners. Simply draw a letter J with your spatula and rotate the bowl as you fold.
6. Get an oven thermometer:
The thermostat of ovens are often inaccurate and every oven is different. This is the only thing that you can allow some difference from the recipe.
7. Rising and cracking:
This is normal but if you’re a perfectionist like me and don’t prefer seeing it crack, try adjusting your oven temp a little lower. The cake is probably rising too fast in a hot oven which causes it to crack.
8. Cakes collapsing:
This could mean a few things. Either your mixture is too wet, or the oven temp is too cold, or simply the next point!
9. Cooling Up-side-down:
Make sure you invert the tin while cooling the chiffon cake because…. PHYSICS! Since it is literally majority air, the cake will jolly well sink under its own weight if you leave it cooling the right side up.
Practice, practice, practice! If you HAVE TO cut down on sugar, do it sparingly, little by little. There’s no two ways about it, you may need to experiment the cut down many times before you actually nail it.
So there you go, give it a try and I hope these tips help!
About the author:
Candice Cheong heads Marketing at Spoonful. She stems from an Advertising and Marketing Communications background having graduated from the University of Canberra, Australia and has been working in the media industry for more than 15 years. Her passion for food led her to Spoonful and she’s inspired by teammates here, further fueling her hobby in baking. As a mom of two young kids, Candice works in the day and bakes at night, earning her the nickname The Midnight Baker. Besides baking, she has an innate passion for all things Japanese, travel, and a keen interest in photography. Follow Candice on Instagram @dice97.