Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ultra Moist and Soft Dried Cranberry Yogurt Chiffon Cake

Gosh! It's December already! And I can't believe that we are counting down to Christmas!

With many unfavourable situations that are happening around me recently, I must admit that I'm not very much into Christmas mood this year. *sign* Nonetheless, I keep telling myself that I have to be positive and keep moving. Why grief if I can celebrate Christmas being happy??? Hmmm...

To make myself happy, I like to work my way towards Christmas with lots of baking! Even though baking can be tiring and hectic, it has been a therapeutic activity for me especially when I discover wonderful recipes.

So once again... Here, I proudly present... My ultra moist and soft dried cranberry yogurt chiffon cake for my pre-Christmas celebration. Are you going to bake this cake for your Christmas celebration too?

ultra moist soft cranberry yogurt chiffon cake
Ultra Moist and Soft Dried Cranberry Yogurt Chiffon Cake

"If it's Christmas it must be cranberries..." - Nigella Lawson in her book, Feast.

To follow up my ultra chiffon cake series and for Christmas, I love to bake a cranberry chiffon cake.

A chiffon cake that can distributed dried cranberries throughout the cake evenly. Yup... NO sinking cranberries!!!
A chiffon cake that is soft and moist.
A chiffon cake that guilt-free with low fat and reduced sugar and yet it has to be tasty!

Is this chiffon cake searching mission super challenging? Hmmm... Not really!!! LOL!!!

Recalling a cheesecake-like chiffon cake recipe at here, I know that the same recipe is going to work for the cranberry version. However, I need to enhance the recipe further by...

1. Not adding any cream of tartar, lemon juice and vinegar to beat the egg whites.

Why? The addition of an acidic ingredient such as cream of tartar, white vinegar or lemon juice will stabilise the meringue and make it structurally sturdier. Like I said before at here... Despite the fact that the addition of cream of tartar or other acidic ingredients and baking powder will make chiffon cakes looking tall, fluffy, impressive, structurally stable and easier to bake and handle, these cake-stabilising ingredients tend to make the cakes structurally stiffer and kill their ultimate softness!

2. adding 1/4 cup (60ml) milk into the egg yolks mixture to bump up its softness.

Happy that I'm totally right with these modifications!!! And I'm amazed that these two modifications had transformed a cheesecake-like bouncy chiffon cake with tangy milky taste into a moister chiffon cake with softer tender texture and sweet milky taste and yet with absolutely NO sinking cranberries! In fact, this chiffon cake is so soft and tender that it can't even balance well and stand straight after cutting and removing its second slice off the cake.

ultra moist soft cranberry yogurt chiffon cake
Moist. Soft. Sweet. Milky... So yummy!
Now, this is beginning to look a lot like Christmas :)

As usual, I would like to emphasize these important points before proceeding onto the recipe...

1) Please be aware that NO chemical agents is added to stabilise this cake. Hence, it is important to follow the egg-whites-beating instructions to the tee. Please please please do not rush or take any short-cut to skip any steps.

2) Yes that the cake will rise crazily and crack during baking. Yes too that this well-risen tall cake will shrink to the height of the chiffon pan after cooling but its texture will remain very soft, tender and cottony! To minimise the cake from shrinking, I suggest that you can drop the cake from a 20-30 cm height immediately onto your tabletop immediately after baking. Ironically, I didn't do this step! Honestly speaking, I don't mind this shrinking cake as the shrinking won't stop me from loving it any less... ke ke!

3) Due to high amount of moisture in this cake, it needs to be baked for at least 60 mins in total and this step is important!!! To avoid the top of the cake from browning too quickly, cover the top of the cake very loosely with a piece of foil after 40 mins of baking and continue to bake for at least 60 mins in total.

4) "I need tender loving care!" Not me... I mean the cake. LOL! Please do not unmould the cake by pressing it!!! To unmould, please use a blunt thin plastic spatula or knife to run along the cake's edges and gently push the cake out from the pan. Plus, please use a serrated knife to slice the cake. Plus plus plus... please forgive me for being extra naggy. Slice your cake only when it is completely cooled because any warmthness or vapour in this tender cake will cause it to collapse easily during slicing.

5) The sweetness of this cake is just right. If you think that the cake is still too sweet, you can use dried cranberries with 50% reduced sugar just like what I have used to bake mine.

6) This recipe makes one tall and perfect 8-inch (20 cm) chiffon cake. Please do not ask me to calculate the amount of ingredients required to bake your chiffon cake in different sizes. To do so, you can either i) prepare the same amount of batter and bake a smaller cake using your larger pan or ii) prepare the same amount of batter and use partial the amount to bake a smaller cake cake using your smaller pan or iii) buy a 20cm chiffon cake pan!!! gum xia - meaning Thanks in Hokkien :)

7) Last but not the least, please use the exact weight of the ingredients and make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.

Like this ultra soft chiffon cake and want to bake more? I will have many newly-derived ultra soft chiffon cake recipes to share in the near future and so please stay tune! To get the latest updates, you can follow me at either my Facebook at here or here or my Instagram @zoebakeforhappykids.

Here's my one-minute video showing how I baked this easy, moist, soft and tender cranberry yogurt chiffon cake and I hope that you will like the cake too :)

Here's the recipe.

IMPORTANT: Please use the exact weight and make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature.

Makes one tall and perfect 8-inch (20 cm) chiffon cake

100g dried cranberries - I used the 50% sugar reduced ones
adequate cake flour to coat

115g egg yolks (about 7-8)
45g neutral tasting vegetable oil
60g milk
150g plain yogurt, with 4% fat
120g cake flour with 8% protein
1/4 tsp salt

240g egg whites (about 7-8)
100g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 170°C/330ºF.

For A:
Coat dried cranberries in adequate cake flour. Sift to remove any excess un-coated flour. Set aside.

For B:
Using a hand whisk, whisk egg yolks and oil in a large mixing bowl briskly until mixture turns slightly pale.

Combine milk and yogurt in another bowl. Add yogurt mixture into the yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Sift in cake flour and salt and whisk again until mixture is combined. Set aside.

For C:
Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites in the lowest speed for at least 10 mins to stabilise the mixture. Increase beating speed to the next higher speed, medium low (not medium or high to avoid large bubbles forming). While beating, add sugar gradually and continue to beat until stiff peaks form and this step will take about 10-15 min. Be patient! Please do not beat the meringue with any higher speed as it is critical that this cake batter shouldn't not contain large bubbles so that the dried crnaberries can be well distributed. Do not over-beat the mixture.

Using a hand whisk or a spatula, gently fold in the egg whites to the egg yolks mixture in 3-4 batches. It is ok to mix the 1st batch of egg white more vigorously into the egg yolk mixture but the subsequent portions must be folded in very gently. Make sure that most of the white is not visible after folding.

To prevent the dried cranberries from sinking to the bottom of the pan, pour a small portion of batter into an un-greased 20 cm chiffon tube pan that is adequate enough to fill the base of the pan.

Stir the flour-coated dried cranberries very gently into the remaining batter and pour all batter into the pan. Give the pan a gentle tap and bake at 170ºC for 20 mins. Reduce temperature to 160ºC and bake for an additional 40 mins or until the cake is firm enough to touch. If the top of the cake is browning too quickly, cover with a foil loosely at the last 25 mins of baking. It is important to bake the cake for at least 60 mins in total.

After baking, drop the cake from a 20-30 cm height immediately onto your tabletop to minimise shrinkage - optional. Then invert the cake immediately and allow it to cool completely in the pan before removing and slicing it. The cake is fragile and need to be sliced with a serrated knife. Enjoy!

Store any uneaten in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. 

Happy Baking
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  1. Zoe, can I crown you the Queen of Chiffon Cakes? LOL! This chiffon cake with cranberries is very Christmassey :) I haven't been baking lately. No mood :( Hope to get my baking mojo back soon.

  2. Hi can I bake in a round pan? I've seen chiffon cakes sold in bakeries without the hole in the middle. Is it possible? Yvonne.

    1. Hi Yvonne,

      You have to use a tube pan to bake with this recipe. Otherwise, the middle of your cake will sink. Yes that you can use a round pan to bake chiffon cakes but NOT with this recipe. Cheers!


  3. Zoe, your chiffon cake looks so moist and fluffy! I could eat many pieces!

  4. Looks so delicious! This cake has inspired the baker in me :)