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Chiffon Cake: What makes it a winning showstopper?

19 OCTOBER 2012

First it was cupcakes, then it was macaroons, and now we have the chiffon cake phenomenon. After the final of the Great British Bake Off, this heavenly light cake has come back into fashion.

Like many famous things, this moist yet airy cake found its beginning in Hollywood during the late 1920s. It was the perfect way to show off the invention of the electric whisk as its meringue-like base is leavened primarily with beaten egg whites.

 

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Unlike angel cakes, which they are often compared to, chiffons contain both egg yolks and vegetable oil rather than butter. These two ingredients keep the consistency moist, soft and tender and result in a cake that tastes sensational and keeps well.

Any dry ingredients are mixed together first before a well is formed where the oil, egg yolks, water, can be beaten in. The egg whites are first beaten separately until stiff, but not dry, and then folded in to the batter.

Make sure that before you pop your bake into the oven, you release all big air bubbles in the mixture by tapping your cake tin on a hard surface several times.

The finish of a perfect chiffon should be feather light, yet hold itself up, and contain a flavoursome fluffy crumb that falls apart delicately in the mouth.

 

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Although the airy consistency of a chiffon leaves it looking rather delicate, once the cake is in place it's easy to add extra flavours and toppings such as icings or fruit. Our favourite from the show was John Whaite's coconut and chocolate 'Heaven and Hell' decorated with a silky chocolate ganache.

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