Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vanilla Chiffon Cake

Aside from my love-hate relationship with Anthony Bourdain, Alton Brown is the TV cook of my heart. I make it a point to take breaks in my homework to catch his show, Good Eats, every weeknight -- it gives me ideas of how to better my already existing recipes, even if he's making something I'd never eat like pork BBQ. But I digress. As soon as I saw it was the cupcake episode, I was completely fascinated.

The recipe he uses for cupcakes is a chiffon cake batter, which is exquisitely light and very different from a traditional cake. It uses oil instead of butter and lots of eggs. You could compare this cake to angel food but it just wouldn't do it justice. The only problem I had was that mine tasted a *wee* bit salty, so I've cut the salt in half for this recipe. Try this next time you feel like making a cake, I guarantee it will be a pleasant surprise!

You will need:

3/4c cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2tsp kosher salt
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 c sugar with 3 tbsp separated
1/4c water
1/4c vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
5/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2c heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp confectioners sugar

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease a 9 x 11 pan and set aside. Using an electric mixer, whip the egg yolks, sugar, and oil until it is smooth and forms "ribbons". Add the vanilla and water. Add your dry ingredients and set aside.

Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a separate bowl. Whisk with an electric mixer until it becomes foamy, then add the 3 tbsp of sugar gradually. Whip until stiff peaks form.

Very gently fold the egg white mixture into the yellow batter 1/3 at a time. Pour into the pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Remember not to take this cake out early or open the oven door for the first 30 minutes or it will fall -- a chiffon cake is characterized by a very light, fluffy texture. Once removed, allow to cool completely.

While this cools whip your cream and confectioners sugar together. Be sure not to overwhip so you don't wind up with sweet butter! Coat the top of the cake with this as if it were icing and serve. Keep any leftovers refridgerated so the cream doesn't go funky :)

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