Chiffon cake is the tallest, lightest, cakiest cake in the kingdom of cakes. It rises high in the pan, with a tender, fluffy crumb, yet it's remarkably easy to glaze, handle and transport. (Hint: it's very good for picnics.)
Rose, lime and coconut chiffon cake
- 8 large eggs, room temperature
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 300g caster sugar
- 1 tbsp lime zest
- 50g shredded coconut
- 125ml vegetable oil
- 150ml coconut cream
- 1 tsp rosewater
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp cream of tartar or lemon juice
For the glaze
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp rosewater
- 300g soft icing sugar, sifted
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 3 tbsp shredded coconut
- Heat oven to 150C fan-forced (170C conventional). Separate the egg yolks and whites. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl, and stir in 200g of the sugar, zest and coconut. In another bowl, combine the yolks, oil, coconut cream, rosewater and vanilla and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form (1-2 minutes). Gradually add the remaining 100g of caster sugar a tablespoon at a time, beating until firm and glossy (2-3 minutes).
- Beat the egg yolk mixture (you can use the same beaters) until combined. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, pour in the egg yolk mixture, and bring together with a whisk, beating until smooth.
- Fold in one-third of the egg whites to lighten, then gently fold in another third, then the final third. Pour the batter into an ungreased chiffon cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes or until the top springs back to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- Remove the tin from the oven and turn upside down so each of the tin's three "legs" rests on a can (see tips, below). Leave to cool completely, then run a sharp knife around the edges of the tin, invert, and lift away from the base. Run the knife between cake and base and remove the base. Place the cake flat-side up on a wire rack.
- To make the glaze, stir lime juice and rosewater into the icing sugar. Whisk in the sour cream a spoonful at a time, until oozy rather than runny. Spoon over the cake, allowing it to dribble down the sides. Scatter with shredded coconut and leave for 1 hour to set.
Need to know
- Cut the cake with a serrated knife; a regular blade will push the cake down.
- You need to have the right cake tin – a 25cm chiffon cake tin (also known as an angel food tin) with a central funnel and removable base, available from specialist cookware shops such as Cake Bake Decorate, Sugar Time and Williams Sonoma.
- You have to turn the baked cake upside down to cool as soon as you take it from the oven (so scary). Before baking, set up a bench area with three same-height cans so you can rest the tin's three little metal legs (or the rim of the tin) on them.
- Turning the cake upside down to cool enables the egg proteins to stretch, resulting in an exceptionally light, tender crumb. Do not grease the tin or the cake will sink – or worse, fall straight out of the inverted tin.
- Chiffon cake lasts for days in or out of the fridge! Can also freeze without harm.