“Labors of love….”
“I’m sorry, Mama,” said my son. He and I were in the car, and I was not feeling well. He was not apologizing because I didn’t feel well. He was sorry because he felt badly that I was driving him even though I was not well.
Mothers do this all the time, placing our children’s needs before our own. Most of us don’t think twice. I assured my son that he didn’t need to feel badly about anything. If I was truly unable to drive him, I would not have, but for me, being able to do things for my children brings me joy.
Recently, we celebrated a birthday in the family, and I made a chiffon cake, which was requested. I realized that I hadn’t made a chiffon cake in many, many years because it is more work than a regular cake, and I certainly hadn’t made one to accommodate food allergies.
The first thing you’ll see when you google chiffon cakes is that the recipes vary. There are what they call “easy” recipes which use very few eggs and take less time and then there are the more “complicated” recipes which I read were the better way to go. Because the cake was another “labor of love” for someone I care about very much, it was a no-brainer. Complicated it was.
As it was, chiffon cakes are not complicated, just time-consuming. Most recipes want you to bring the eggs to room temperature first, and then the eggs require several steps: separating the whites from the yolks, whipping the whites, and folding them into the batter. At the end, the chiffon cake also requires complete cooling time in an upside down position which had several recipes concocting elaborate sets with soda bottles to hold up the cake pan!
It seemed I needed to find a way to make things less complicated, so I did.
First, I simply took the eggs out as my first step and immediately separated the yolks from the whites, and I put the whites on the counter to sit while I assembled the other ingredients and got out my pan. It’s important to note that you need a tube pan for chiffon cake, and if you have a tube pan like mine where the center tube is wide and longer than the edges of the pan, you can simply turn your pan upside down on the tube to cool at the end with no elaborate strategy needed.
For substitutes, I swapped olive oil for the vegetable or canola oil used in most recipes, and I used monk fruit sugar in place of sugar, reducing the amount by 1/3. For the all purpose flour, I used King Arthur’s whole grain gluten free blend. Because I was using a gluten free flour, I wanted to make sure my eggs were well-whipped and airy, so I increased the cream of tartar to 1 tsp from the usual 1/4 tsp, and I increased the baking powder to 1 tbsp. By the time I had measured out all the other ingredients, I felt enough time had elapsed that I could whip the whites, and I was correct.
The resulting cake was light and airy and tasty, and I’m thinking I may even make it again!
Orange Chiffon Cake
9 large eggs (will use 9 whites but only 7 yolks)
2 1/4 cups gluten free flour blend
1 cup monk fruit sugar blend (divided into 1/4 cup, 1/4 cup, and 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried orange peel
3/4 cup unsweetened orange juice
1/2 cup extra light olive oil
1 tsp cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and put out a tube pan. You do not grease the pan for a chiffon cake.
- Separate the yolks from the whites. You will use only seven yolks for the cake. (I put the extra two yolks in a bowl and added other eggs to them the next time I made a fritatta.) Let the nine egg whites sit in a bowl to be whipped, and put the seven yolks into a large bowl.
- Mix together, the flour, 1/2 cup of the monk fruit sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange peel. Set aside.
- To the bowl with the egg yolks, add 1/4 cup of the monk fruit sugar, orange juice, and olive oil and blend well. Set aside.
- To the egg whites, add the cream of tartar and last 1/4 cup of the monk fruit sugar, and whip until the egg whites are crayon white, doubled in size, thick and airy and when you pull the whisk up, the whites form a sturdy upside down peak.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend well.
- Using a curved spatula, gently fold the egg whites in a little at a time to the batter until all the egg whites have been incorporated. This will take time. Best not to hurry the process. Just slowly fold the whites in while you think about how lovely it will be when everyone enjoys the cake. *grin*
- Using the spatula carefully put the batter into the tube pan and once all the batter is in, gently tap the pan to let the batter settle.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes. The cake will be puffed and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.
- Put the tube pan upside down. If your pan is like mine, you can just set it on the center tube. If not, you want air to be able to circulate so place at least two items opposite one another so you can balance the pan upside down with space between the pan and the counter.
- Allow the cake to cool completely. This may take several hours, depending on how warm or cool your kitchen is.
- Once completely cooled, go around the edges between the cake and the pan with a butter knife to release the cake from the pan. Be sure to do the same between the cake and middle tube. When the cake releases, you will note that the cake is crummy around the sides where it stuck to the pan and tube. I use clean fingers to gently rub the excess crumbs off the sides of the cake so it will be neater.
- Serve the cake as is with whipped cream or ice cream or frost with your favorite frosting.