The Chiffon Cake is decidedly my favourite cake. I favour it because it is light, cottony and low fat. I believe there are many out there who like this cake for the same reason as I do. I am quite confident in whipping up a basic chiffon – the basic pandan chiffon, orange chiffon etc do not intimidate me. However, as with most meringue based confectionery, the chiffon can become fickle and delicate when you try to disturb it.
I strive to be adventurous when I cook/bake and with the chiffon, I always have to brace myself for failures when I try something new. I’ve had my fair share of frustrations when I tried to introduce fresh fruits into the recipe. Chocolate, too destabilise the egg white and I remember baking 3 chocolate chiffon cakes, one after another, before I managed to get an intact, chocolate rich airy chiffon cake.
It has been quite a while since I last baked a chiffon cake and it was only when I saw the can of Marron Puree which I had bought in Japan last year, that I was prompted to re-visit the chiffon cake again. One of my favourite chiffon cake recipe book is Chiffon Cake Special Recipe by Kozawa Noriko (小沢のり子) . There are 25 recipes in the book and non-of them are plain chiffon cake. The Marron Chiffon Cake tries to recreate the Mont Blanc using a chiffon cake base. Incorporated into the cake is a blend of Marron Puree, Marron Paste and cooked Chestnut. Noriko had frosted the chiffon with whipped cream before topping it off with Marron Puree whipped cream. I have decided to do away with the frosting as I do not want to risk ruining the cake with my lousy frosting skills.
The challenge of introducing solids into a chiffon is ensuring the meringue stays stable -otherwise, it may give way to huge voids upon baking. I don’t like to add baking powder or cream of tartar when I bake my chiffon – I have this TWISTED VIEW that using baking powder and cream of tartar in a chiffon cake is cheating… but that is just me, no offense intended. Call me a chiffon cake purist but that is how I like my chiffon cake – I like to stare intensely at the egg white while they are being whipped to the right stiffness. And because I like my chiffon cake to have a soft and moist texture, I need to be very careful not to beat the meringue into spiky stiffness. The meringue should be beaten to yield firm peaks – firm enough to support the weight of the bubble whisk but still yield a slightly droopy hook at the end of the peak – that is my end point cue.
This is my first attempt at the Marron Chiffon and apart from 2 visible small holes on the cake surface, I would say that this has been a successful attempt. I am a little suprised by the elegant taste that the Marron paste and puree have imparted to the cake – made all the more pleasant with the Marron puree cream. Also, I believe I can try to use more cooked chestnut bits to yield a more fulfilling bite next time.
Egg White 110g
Corn Startch 5g
Egg Yolk Base
Egg Yolk 40g
Canola Oil 40g
Marron Paste 35g
Marron Puree 35g
Diced Cooked Chestnut 90g
Fresh cream 20g
Marron Puree 20g
1. Preheat oven to 160C.
2.In a mixing bowl, add egg yolk, water and oil. Beat mixture at low speed until foamy. Add in Marron paste and puree. Add flour and continue beating at low speed until thick and gluey.Fold in diced marron.
3. In a seperate mixing bowl, whip egg white until foamy. Add the sugar and cornstarch mixture in 3 additions. Whip egg white until firm but not stiff. I generally whip the egg white until the tip of the foam would still droop a little. The foam should be able to support the weight of your bubble whip.
4. Add 1/3 of meringue into egg & flour batter. Fold well to mix.
5. Stir remaining meringue to ensure no separation. Add half of the remaining meringue into (4). Fold carefully to combine.
6. Add all remaining meringue to (5) and fold carefully to combine.
7. Pour into a 17cm chiffon pan. Bake at 160C for 15 mins.
8. Remove from oven and immediately invert chiffon pan to cool.
9. Cool down completely before removing cake from pan. Slice the cake and serve with whipped marron cream.