How to make the perfect (orange) chiffon cake


Chiffon cake is one of my favorite cakes; it is light and airy and in comparison with other cakes it contains less sugar and fat. Actually, chiffon cake is one of the reasons why I started to make desserts (and fell in love with it). I liked it so much that I wanted to make it myself. After a significant number of trial and errors, I finally understand how to make the perfect chiffon cake. While the ingredients for the cake are very simple, many things could go wrong during the baking process. Hopefully your number of trial and errors will be lower than mine with these tips I give you!

7 egg yolks   (room temperature)
7 egg whites (room temperature)
80 g castor sugar
4 tsp cooking oil
pinch of salt
zest and juice from one orange (approximately 80 ml of juice)
110 g cake flour
1 tsp of baking powder
50 g sugar

1. Preheat oven to 170 C. Prepare a 22 cm tube pan, ungreased.
2. Beat egg yolks with 80 g sugar until lighter in color and fluffy, then add in a pinch of salt and oil, mix briefly until it thickens.
3. Add the orange zest and juice and mix well. Sieve the cake flour and baking powder into the batter.
4. Using a clean mixer, beat the egg whites in a large deep bowl, once it becomes foamy add the rest of the sugar and beat until stiff peaks.
5. Fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in three batches. I used a big silicon spatula for this task. It might seems that the egg yolk mixture and the egg whites are not blending after the first batch, please resist the temptation to start stirring. This will deflates the egg whites and will make your chiffon cake turn out flat. Keep folding while turning the bowl.
6. Pour the batter into un ungreased 22 cm tube pan. Tap the pan a few times to get rid of air bubbles in the batter.

7. Bake in the oven for about 55-60 minutes. (your cake is done when a skewer inserted comes out clean)
8. Let it cool inverted.
9. To remove the cake from the pan, run a thin bladed knife around the sides of the pan and center. 

- Wash your oranges thoroughly before grating and only use the orange outer skin, as the white part is quite bitter.
- Cake flour has a lower protein level and the least amount of gluten of all wheat flours, resulting in a higher risen and more fluffy cake. When you cannot find cake flour in the supermarket, you can make your own.
- Adding a little bit of cream of tartar or lemon juice will help to stabilize the whites. 
-  Make sure that there is no oil or egg yolk in the egg whites, otherwise your whites won't set. 
- Don't grease your tube pan (or using a non-stick pan), because the cake needs to cling to the sides of the pan to achieve it foamy texture.
- Cooling the cake upside down is important, because gravity helps the cake keeps its volume.

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