After making a number of chiffon cakes as a base for mousse cakes, I always notice that this sponge cake is way too light and airy as a base to hold the heavier mousse and fruits on top. Sometimes the bottom layer is squished so much that the texture is compromised. The following recipe is the improved version that I experimented with and the finishing result felt very satisfactory. The amount of liquid is reduced and the amount of flour is increased to the extent that it gives structure to the cake and yet it is still light and spongy, but not dry. The best part is that it will not collapse or shrink after baking. It does not require inverting the pan to cool.
Ingredients for a 9 inch round chiffon cake:
50g cake flour
40g corn starch
3 eggs + 1 yolk
¾ tsp baking powder100g sugar
32g vegetable oil
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp cream of tartar
1) Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Put parchment paper on the bottom of the cake pan and spray oil on the bottom and side.
2) Put the egg yolks in a medium size bowl. Beat slightly with half the sugar until the mixture is pale. Add the water, oil and vanilla extract and mix well.
3) Sift the flour with the baking powder and add to the yolk mixture. Mix until blended. Set aside.
4) Beat the egg white until frothy. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Then add the sugar and beat on high until stiff peaks form.
5) Fold the two mixtures together gently and pour the batter to the prepared pan.
6) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Run between the cake and side of the pan with a knife.
7) Lightly spray two racks with oil. Invert the cake onto a rack. Peel off the paper and re-invert the cake to another rack. Cool completely on the rack before proceeding.
Vanilla Crème Mousseline
½ vanilla pod75g corn starch
6 egg yolks
300g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1) After cutting open the vanilla pod and scraping out the seeds, put the pod and the seeds in a medium size pot together with the milk and bring it to a boil. Cover and let it steep for 30 minutes.
2) In another bowl, mix the corn starch with half the sugar. While whisking, pour about a cup of warm milk to it and continue whisking until blended.
3) Mix the egg yolk with the corn starch mixture and whisk until blended.
4) Add the remaining sugar to the pot with the warm milk and bring it back to a boil and remove from the heat.
5) Pour the hot milk to the yolk mixture while stirring constantly.
6) Pour everything back to the pot and bring it to a boil while stirring. It will turn to a thick yellow paste.
7) Strain it through a sieve and remove the pod. Let it cool to about 140⁰F then add half the butter, a few cubes at a time. Stir well until incorporated before adding more.
8) Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.
9) Take out the mousseline and beat in a stand mixer using the whisk until it is light and fluffy, which takes about 3-5 minutes. Add the remaining butter and beat until well incorporated. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Sugar syrup: mix ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup sugar until dissolve. Then add 2 tbsp rum.
1) Cut the cake horizontally into 2 equal layers. Lay one layer down on the bottom of the springform pan. Brush with sugar syrup generously.
2) Pick 12-14 strawberries that are similar in height and cut them in half. Arrange them with the cut side facing the pan.
2 tsp unflavored gelatin
3 tbsp cold water
⅓ cup strawberry puree
⅔ cup raspberry jam
Sprinkle the gelatin on the surface of the cold water and let it soak for 5 minutes. Mix the strawberry puree and raspberry jam and pass it through a sieve to remove the seeds. Microwave the gelatin for 10-15 seconds to dissolve. Mix with the puree and pour over the surface of the cake. Refrigerate until set.
Recipe reference: Baking by James Peterson