When I first started out baking, my first bake was a Pandan Chiffon Cake. Back then, I was browsing Bakingmum's blog and her bakes got me enticed. Without giving much thought, I plunged foolishly into making the highly temperamental chiffon cake. Needless to say, I ended up with five failures before I managed to get a decent chiffon cake. Had I known better, I would have started with simpler bakes.
It can be frustrating to bake chiffon cakes at times, especially when most recipes state the number of whites instead of the specific weight. Egg whites are the building blocks of a chiffon cake. How well a chiffon cake would turn out depends on the volume of egg whites and if they are whipped appropriately; almost stiff but still moist.
When whipping egg whites, a number of factors influence the resulting volume, such as: presence of fats (eg. traces of egg yolks) in the mixing bowl, on the beater or in the egg whites; temperature of whites; quality of eggs (my deduction); time when sugar is added to egg whites and most obviously the weight of egg whites used. Humidity might also play a part, since meringue is moisture sensitive. The amount of liquid is important too. If the cake is too moist, the weight of the cake may cause it to fall out of the tin when the tin is overturned to cool. Just my take on making of chiffon cakes.
For consistency, I will be baking chiffon cakes in future by weighing the egg whites, a cultivated practice/habit that is attributed to Rose's (Rose Levy Beranbaum) influence. After all, baking is an exact science where precise measurements are required for consistent results.
Pandan Chiffon Cake (Recipe slightly adapted from Bakingmum)
Serving size: 10-12 slices
Taste and texture: soft, light and fluffy.Equipment and materials:
1) Stand electric beater/ handheld electric beater
2) Measuring spoon set
4) Mixing bowl
5) Metal bowl
5) Wire rack
6) 21 cm or 22cm chiffon tin (oil-free)
7) Balloon whisk
1 tbs pandan juice (5 pandan leaves blended with 3 tbs water)
65g egg yolks
30g castor sugar
a pinch of salt
3 1/2 tbs corn oil
100ml coconut milk
3/4 tsp pandan paste
100g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
160g egg whites at room temperature
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional, I did not use this)
70g castor sugar
Preheat Oven - Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.
Mix dry ingredients - In a mixing bowl, sift cake flour and baking powder. Whisk using a balloon whisk to distribute the dry ingredients evenly.
Make pandan juice - Wash the pandan leaves and cut into thin strips. Blend with 3 tbs water. Add more water if needed. Pass the pandan puree through a sieve and set aside 1 tbs of the pandan juice.
Making the egg yolk batter - In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, 30g sugar, salt, corn oil, coconut milk, pandan juice and pandan paste until smooth and combined. Stir in flour mixture into egg yolk mixture and mix until smooth and combined.
Beating egg whites - In a metal bowl, beat eggs whites on low speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar if using at this point. Continue beating and gradually increase speed to high until egg whites are at very soft peaks. Add remaining 70g sugar slowly and continue beating until egg whites are almost stiff but still moist. This is when the bowl is overturned, the egg whites would not budge. Egg whites form shiny and creamy upright peaks when beater is withdrawn.
Folding egg whites into egg yolk batter - Fold one third of beaten egg whites with a balloon whisk into egg yolk batter to lighten and mix well. Incorporate the rest of the egg whites and fold gently to obtain a smooth, uniformly coloured foamy batter. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula to ensure batter is well mixed.
Baking the cake - Pour batter into chiffon cake tin carefully and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Invert chiffon cake tin to cool before unmoulding.
1) Chiffon tin must be oil-free. Do not grease, line or flour the tin.
2) Metal bowl for beating whites and beater must be oil-free. Egg whites should be at room temperature. These are necessary to obtain maximum volume for beaten egg whites.
3) Batter should fill 2/3 of 21cm tin. My cake rose to almost the brim but deflated slightly upon cooling.
4) The batter should overflow if a 18cm chiffon tin is used.