As I get older I seem to be losing my taste for chocolate, but as that happens, my taste for citrus is growing. Lemon, orange, lime, tangerine and grapefruit seem to be becoming staples in my cooking and most certainly in my baking. I am always looking for new ways to use citrus these days and this Orange chiffon cake certainly takes center stage in that respect. I also seem to have developed a new fondness for chiffon cake. I remember a year of so ago relating the story of my aunts mazola oil cake, which was a chiffon cake. She made it for all the family events and I had an extreme dislike for it. It was heavy and leaden and always, at least to me, was greasy and tasted oily. Not so, these new chiffon cakes that we have made from this book. I have gone through my posts for all the chiffon cakes we have made and can’t seem to find one that I didn’t like. This one is no exception and I dare say, is even my favorite of the chiffon cakes. It is light and delicate, almost like an angel food cake, with a bright and lively flavor of orange. It needs no adornment and can most definitely stand on its own. While I like it as a snack cake and to pair with a cup of tea in the afternoon, it can certainly hold up as a fine dessert when paired with the orange cream. Most definitely a keeper and well worth making often. I have to admit that I really was a bit baffled by the use of the rose nail in this cake. Why not just bake it in a tube pan or fancy bundt pan? None the less, I did give it a go and while I still, after baking it, didn’t see the need for it or the point of it, it certainly did no harm. Let’s bake…
The cake is simplicity itself and again, you will find that the mis en place is the most work you will expend putting this together.
Separate the egg whites and yolks and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend the flour, all but a tablespoon of the sugar, the baking powder and salt. Add the yolks, oil, vanilla, orange zest and orange juice and blend until the dry ingredients are moistened.
Raise the speed to medium high and mix for about a minute and a half, until the mixture is thick and fluffy. Set aside.
Whip the egg whites until foamy and with the mixer off, add the cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and whip until the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks.
Fold the whipped egg whites into the yolk batter until combined.
Pour into the prepared spring form pan and insert a rose nail into the center of the cake until it rests on the bottom of the pan.
Bake at 325 degrees for 35 – 40 minutes or until done. When done, invert the cake on a rack which has been raised at least 4 inches about the work surface and allow to cool for an hour. Unmold the cake and cool completely. Serve with the orange whipped cream.
To make the cream, heat the orange marmalade until melted, push through a sieve and set aside to cool. Whip the chilled cream until beater marks form. Add the orange zest and whip until soft peaks form. Serve.
Now, I have to say that this cake lasted about 20 minutes in my house and I was back in the kitchen making a second one. It was that good. It is by no means and attractive cake but as it seems to be an unadorned snack cake or the base for a decorated dessert, who cares. It is delicious, like eating an orange cloud. To be honest, and I hope you don’t mind Rose, I am renaming this cake right now. I officially name it, “The absolute, best damned orange chiffon cake ever”. It is truly that good. When I baked my second cake, I did give in to my curiosity and baked it in a tube pan. It baked up just fine and I found it to be a bit more attractive than the one baked in the springform pan. No matter which way you go, it is spectacular eating. Now, please someone, explain to me about this rose nail because I really can’t see any reason for using it at all and until I hear some logical explanation, I am chalking this part up as a pure gimmick. No matter what, I will make this cake again and again, but I really would like to know the reason for the nail.
Next Up: Karmel Cake