Friday, February 15, 2013

Pastry Class: Chiffon Cake

We are now getting down to some serious business in my pastry class. We made a chiffon cake with lemon syrup, raspberry and whipped cream filling, and Swiss buttercream frosting. The chiffon cake was much more involved than the other things we have made.

The cake was used to illustrate the Foaming method. In this method, eggs are whipped to incorporate air, then added to the batter. The air bubbles in the egg foam provide leavening, resulting in a light and airy product.

There are several parts to this cake. There is the cake itself, the lemon syrup, the fillings, the frosting, and the decorations.

The cake is a vanilla chiffon cake. It begins with the Mix Method, where the dry ingredients are sifted together, the wet ingredients whisked together, then added to the dry. The change begins when egg whites are whipped with powdered sugar to a meringue, and added to the batter. This is a French meringue, where the eggs are uncooked in any way. Not an issue, as the cake will be baked at a sufficient temperature to kill any unwanted micro-organisms.

The syrup is a simple syrup of water, sugar, and lemon juice.

For the raspberry filling, we used a commercial filling. I suspect a raspberry jelly or jam would work just fine. We used a sweetened whipped cream as well for the filling.

The frosting is a Swiss buttercream. It involves making a Swiss meringue. In a Swiss meringue the egg whites are cooked with sugar and water over a double boiler until they reach a temperature of 160 degrees F. This ensures that micro-organisms are killed, so Swiss meringues can be used as decoration or other applications that do not require cooking.

Once the cake is baked and completely cooled, and everything else is made, the cake can be assembled. The cake is split horizontally into three equal layers. This is a very delicate cake, so when cutting, spreading, or frosting, care must be taken not to tear the cake. Once cut, a thin layer of raspberry filling is spread on the first layer. An approximately one quarter inch thick layer of whipped cream is placed on top of that. The second layer of cake is added next, and the same procedure is done, ending with placing the top layer on.

Next, a thin layer of frosting is applied to the the top and sides of the cake. This is called the crumb coat. It will lock in stray crumbs, and keep them out of the frosting. Refrigerate the cake for ten minutes. This will set the crumb coat hard. Apply an even coat of frosting.

For the outside of the cake, we coated it with toasted chopped almonds. We piped a shell on each piece, and added alternating a chocolate straw, and a triangle of chocolate with a cool transfer design. We didn't make either of the chocolate decorations, I think they were left over from Chef James chocolate class. They do add a particularly professional flare, though.

As always for the pastry class, all recipes are provided by Chef James Foran.


Vanilla Chiffon Cake

dry ingredients
9 oz by wt. cake flour
7 oz by wt. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

wet ingredients
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup water
4 oz by vol. oil
1 Tbsp. vanilla paste

8 egg whites
3.5 oz by wt. sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Sift together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Add wet ingredients to dry all at once. Mix just until everything is Incorporated.

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites on high speed until frothy. Turn down to medium speed, and slowly add sugar and cream of tartar. Turn back to high, whip to medium, stiff peaks.

Fold one quarter of the meringue into the batter until just combined. Fold remaining meringue in gently, until no streaks of batter or meringue are visible.

Divide batter evenly between two ungreased nine inch cake pans lined with parchment paper. Bake in a 325 F oven for 30 minutes, or until cakes are golden and springy to the touch. Remove from oven, and cool on a rack.

Lemon Syrup

4 oz by vol. water
4 oz by wt. sugar
4 Tbsp. lemon juice

Bring water and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat, add lemon juice. Allow to cool.

Vanilla Chantilly

12 oz by vol. cream
.7 oz by wt. powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
pinch salt

Whip all ingredients together to medium stiff peaks.

Swiss Buttercream

6 oz by wt. sugar
4 1/2 oz by wt. egg whites
1 Tbsp. + 2 tsp. water
1 lb. butter cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Heat sugar, egg whites, and water in a double boiler to 160 F, whisking continuously. Whip in a stand mixer five minutes, or until mixture decreases to room temperature. Add butter one chunk at a time, until all the butter is Incorporated. Add salt and vanilla. Whip until smooth and glossy.

Happy Eating!


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