Orange Chiffon Cake

Brady and I received a beautiful shipment of Florida oranges from our good friend in Miami recently, which inspired me to find a King Arthur recipe to put them to good use.  The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion gave me a few options, one of which was a chiffon cake with the option to make it an orange chiffon.  I haven’t made too many cakes in my life, so I figured I’d give this one a shot and see how it went.

The result was great – to me it seemed like some incredible combination of a normal sheetcake and angel food cake.  It was light and airy, but had a rich taste – the orange shone through beautifully.

Ok, let’s start out with the recipe taken from the Baker’s Companion:

Ingredients:

  • 7 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange juice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (10 and 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 2 cups (8 and 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (3 and 1/2 ounces) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) milk (whole or skim)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

Ingredients

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the orange juice until foamy.  Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy.  Set aside.

Whisk together the remaining 1 cup sugar with the flour, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, beat the oil, milk, egg yolks, and flavorings [including the orange zest] until pale yellow.  Add the dry ingredients and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes at medium speed using a stand mixer, or longer with a hand mixer.

Gently fold in the whipped egg whites, using a wire whisk or cake whisk.  Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so the batter is well blended.  Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan or angel food pan, bake it for 1 hour.  If you’re using two 9-inch cake pans, bake for about 50 minutes.  Don’t open the oven during the first 45 minutes of baking; the cake will rise high above the pan, then settle back almost even.  It’s done when a finger gently pressed in the center doesn’t leave a print; you’ll be able to hear a crackling sound if you listen carefully.

Remove the cake from the oven and cool it upside down for 30 minutes before removing it from the pan.  If you’ve used a tube pan, set it atop a thin-necked bottle, threading the bottle neck through the hole in the  tube. Turn the pan upside down and tap it to remove the cake.  Frost the cake and cut it just before serving.  Dip a serrated knife in hot water between each slice if you want smooth, even pieces.


Alright, now for the step-by-step with pictures of how I did it:

First things first, I preheated the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, measured out my ingredients, separated the egg whites and the yolks, squeezed some orange juice and zested some of the peel.

In the bowl of my Kitchen-Aid mixer, I added the egg whites and the orange juice together, beating it on medium speed until it was foamy.

EggWhitesFoamy Egg Whites

I continued beating the egg whites and orange juice on medium, while adding a cup of the sugar slowly into the mix.  I then let the mixture beat until it was “stiff and glossy,” which took a few minutes to get it to that meringue-like state.

StiffEggsSugarOrange.jpg

I then placed the flour, the salt, and the baking powder and the rest of the sugar (1 cup) into a separate bowl and whisked them together.

DryIngredients.jpg

After that, I took yet another bowl and beat the egg yolks, vanilla, orange zest, oil, and milk until it had turned the “pale yellow” prescribed by King Arthur.

Yolksandstuff.jpg

Next, I added in the dry ingredient I had whisked together and beat it for a couple of minutes until it looked like this:

Yolksanddry.jpg

I used my whisk to fold the whipped egg whites into the batter, doing so gently.  It looked like this after I was done:

Batter.jpg

I took the batter and poured it into my (ungreased) tube pan.

Batterinpan.jpg

I then popped it into the oven for one hour.  The recipe wasn’t kidding – it definitely does rise well above the rim of the pan.  If you can forgive the poor picture (didn’t want to open the oven), here’s how it looked:

In Oven.jpg

It did eventually come back down.  Once the hour was up, I took the pan out and set it on a baking rack to cool for a half hour.

Cooling.jpg

After it had cooled, I ran a knife around the edge of the pan and around the edge of the tube, flipped the cake over, and removed it from the pan.  Here’s what it looked like when it came out of the pan:

BeforeIcing.jpg

It looked a little rough, but it was in one piece, and that’s what icing is for, right?

Speaking of icing, the recipe didn’t provide one, so I’ll share with you all what I did to ice the cake.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (8 ounces, 1 stick) butter
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 and 1/2 cups powdered (confectioners’) sugar

Directions:

Melt the butter in a small saucepan.  Remove from heat.  Add all other ingredients to the butter and whisk until thoroughly combined.  Let cool for 5 minutes, then pour into a zipper plastic bag, cut off corner of bag, and ice the cake. Zest more orange peel onto the cake if you wish.

Here’s the final product again in case you forgot how it turned out!

OtherFinal

It was delicious, folks!

I want to give a special thanks to my husband, Brady, for his assistance and support in this undertaking.  I’ve always seen cakes as a bit daunting, but he helped me make a cake I was really happy with!

If you all give this recipe a try, let me know how it turns out for you!  As always, happy baking!