Custard chiffon cake

Custard chiffon cake
Custard chiffon cake

I was hoping chiffon was going to be kinder to me than genoise, and luckily my wishes were granted.

These soft, airy cakes are absolutely delicious and totally new to me.

I used a recipe from the Monday Morning Cooking Club because it kept coming up time and time again during my research. The story is really touching as well – you can watch the video and get the recipe here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o57wWW8PsUI

Cakes using the chiffon method are leavened with air from whipped egg whites as well as a chemical agent such as baking powder or cream of tartar.

This was the first time I’d come across a recipe with cream of tartar and had to do some research (as well as go out and buy some).

  • Interestingly, it’s a by-product  of the winemaking process as the powder forms inside wine barrels during fermentation.
  • It’s mostly used as an whipped eggwhite stabiliser so you may also see it in mergingue or pavlova recipes.
  • It’s an acid and often it’s found as the major component in baking powder or combined with baking soda to react when moisture is added.
  • Sometimes it’s added to candies or frostings to give them a creamier texture because it can help prevent the crystalisation of cooked sugar.

Back to chiffon cakes, the trick to maintaining their rise is letting them cool upside down. This means they won’t collapse and by not greasing the tin, the cake will stick to the edges as it cools.

Ideally you need to have a chiffon cake tin, but after searching high and low I had to settle on a deep ring cake tin with a removable base.

I hung it over neck of a wine bottle to cool before moving it from the tin – you need to cut it out with a knife or spatula.

Note – the recipe doesn’t specify a cooking temperature or time so I did 180 for 40 minutes and think it probably was 5 minutes too much.

Chocolate Genoise roulade

Chocolate Genoise roulade
Chocolate Genoise roulade

First up, Genoise does not seem to be my friend.

I set off this weekend aiming to make a chocolate Genoise roulade, but fell at the first hurdle.

My first Genoise mix was an absolute disaster – I started making the second batch while the first was still in the oven.

I think I underwhipped the eggs and was too heavy handed with my mixing because the result was a flat, airless batter that didn’t even cover the base of the cake tin.

Second time round was much better, but I’m still not convinced I have it perfect yet. Any tips/advice would be greatly appreciated about how to get that perfect rise!

I used a recipe from the British queen of cakes, Mary Berry, after seeing her make a yule log in her Christmas special with Paul Hollywood.

I used the cake base, but added strawberry jam and fresh cream rather than smothering it in chocolate gananche.

One brilliant tip from Mary is to roll the cake while it’s still hot so that it sets in a curve. You unroll it when it’s completely cool to add the filling, but this will help to avoid cracks in the cake.

Chocolate Genoise roulade (courtesy of Mary Berry)

4 large free-range eggs
100g/3½oz caster sugar
65g/2½oz self-raising flour
40g/1½oz cocoa powder
300ml cream, whipped
2 tbsp strawberry jam

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Lightly grease a 33x23cm/13x9in Swiss roll tin, and line with non-stick paper or baking parchment, pushing it into the corners.

For the sponge, in a large bowl whisk the eggs and sugar using an electric hand whisk until the mixture is pale in colour, light and frothy. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the bowl and carefully cut and fold together, using a spatula, until all the cocoa and flour are incorporated into the egg mixture. (Be careful not to beat any of the air out of the mixture).

Pour the mixture into the lined tin and spread evenly out into the corners. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 8–10 minutes, or until well risen and firm to the touch and the sides are shrinking away from the edge of the tin.

Place a piece of baking parchment bigger than the Swiss roll tin on the work surface. Dust with icing sugar generously. Carefully invert the cake onto the paper and remove the bottom lining piece of paper.

Cut a score mark 2.5cm/1in in along one of the longer edges. Starting with this edge, begin to tightly roll up the sponge using the paper. Roll with the paper inside and sit the roll on top of its outside edge to cool completely.

Uncurl the cold Swiss roll and remove the paper. Spread the whipped cream* on top, and re-roll tightly.

*Note, I added some strawberry jam as well.