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Hello, Autumn!

Hello multi-coloured leaves and brisk fall days.

Hello warm sweaters and tea by the fire.

Hello rosy cheeks and scarves.

Hello hockey.

Hello apples and chestnuts.

Hello Flavour of the Month for October 2006:  The Cake Book by Tish Boyle.

Hello brand new stove that finally arrived.

Hello baking.

Hello Vanilla-Flecked Chiffon Cake with Cacao Nib Whipped Cream.

Hello, October!

Ciao!

Vanilla-Flecked Chiffon Cake with Cacao Nib Whipped Cream

Adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle.

For the cake:

  • 2-1/2 cups cake flour (measure the cake flour, sift it and then measure it again)
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (if you don’t have vanilla bean, you can use 1 tbsp. vanilla extract)
  • 6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • icing sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. and place a rack in the centre of the oven.
  2. In a bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (cake flour, 1-1/4 cups of the sugar, baking powder and salt).
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, place the egg yolks, water, vegetable oil and lemon zest. With a paring knife or a small spoon, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pods and add them to the bowl. (If using vanilla extract instead, add it now.)
  4. Mix at medium speed until well-combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. On low speed, add the four mixture a bit at a time until the batter is just mixed. Don’t overmix the batter.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites (with a whisk or with a whisk attachment) and the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. If using a mixer, increase the speed to high and beat the whites until they’re stiff.
  7. Using a rubber spatula, quickly mix 1/4 of the whites into the batter. Then carefully fold the remaining whites into the batter.
  8. Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan (10 inches) with a removable bottom.
  9. Bake the cake for 50 minutes to an hour. Test the cake’s doneness by inserting a cake tester in the centre. If it comes out clean, your cake is done!
  10. If the tube pan you’re using has little feet, then turn the cake over and let cool upside down.
  11. If your tube pan doesn’t have feet, try inverting and fitting the tube over the neck of a bottle. Let it stand this way until cooled.
  12. Once cooled, carefully unmold your cake by slide a knife around the sides of the cake. Once the cake is out of the pan, slide a knife under the base and around the tube to remove the centre piece of the pan.
  13. To serve, dust the cake with icing sugar and add a dollop of cacao nib whipped cream.

For the cacao nib whipped cream:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (optional)
  1. Heat the cream and cacao nibs until the cream is just about to boil.
  2. Add the vanilla sugar, stir well and let sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Pour the mixture into a bowl through a sieve to remove the cacao nibs. Discard the nibs.
  4. Refrigerate the mixture until you’re ready to use it (at least a few hours).
  5. With an electric mixer, beat the cream until it’s thickened and soft peaks form.
  6. Serve the whipped cream with your cake.

Note:  This cake easily serves 12. Don’t discard the vanilla bean halves. Place them in a jar covered with sugar and you can begin making vanilla sugar. You can buy cacao nibs from www.scharffenberger.com.

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