Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ultra Soft Zebra Almond Chiffon Cake

As a chiffon cake enthusiast, I'm proud to say that I have created and baked many many many yummy ultra soft chiffon cakes and they are ...

Banana Chiffon Cake
Honey Chiffon Cake
Cranberry Yogurt Chiffon Cake
Cocoa Chocolate Chiffon Cake
Milk Chiffon Cake
Pandan Chiffon Cake with milk
Orange Chiffon Cake
Like Bengawan Solo Ultimate Soft Pandan Chiffon Cake with coconut milk
Kinako / Roasted Soy Flour Chiffon Cake

Cranberry Egg White Chiffon Cake

Besides baking these ultra soft chiffon cakes, I have also created many interesting chiffon cakes with different various texture and flavours and they are ...
Pandan Gula Melaka Chiffon Cake with pockets of Gula Melaka syrup inside the cake
Ultra Silky Soft Spongy Coffee Chiffon Cake

And I have demonstrated "How to bake an Ultra Soft Pandan Chiffon Cake with Less Cracks?" at here.

So tell me... Am I a serious chiffon cake enthusiast or what? LOL!

Am I running out chiffon cake baking ideas? Nah! I'm the type of person that go hyper with ideas when I'm really into something.

So what's next? Like I always do, I'm sharing another ultra soft chiffon cake recipe...

And it is not just an ultra soft almond chiffon cake. It is an ultra soft almond chiffon cake with cocoa zebra strips. Cool, huh?

ultra soft almond zebra chiffon cake
My Ultra Soft, Spongy and Moist Almond Zebra Chiffon Cake

Why almond?
I first saw this idea from my blogging / Instagram friend, Honey Bee Sweet. Knowing that almond meal is a great ingredient to create moister and flavoursome cakes, I believe that Bee's almond chiffon cake is soft as cotton. However, after examining her recipe very closely, I have decided to re-create a recipe on my own. And mine has NO baking powder, NO cream of tartar, NO almond butter, LESS oil and has a hint of cocoa powder.

Why no baking powder and cream of tartar?
Based on the ultra soft chiffon cakes that I have baked and mentioned earlier, I'm a believer in this chiffon cake theory that the chiffon cakes that are baked with NO cream of tartar, baking powder or any cake raising agents are actually the BEST being the most moist, tender and cottony soft!!!

Although cream of tartar and baking powder will make chiffon cakes looking well-risen, tall, fluffy, impressive, structurally stable and easier to bake and handle, these cake-rising ingredients tend to make the cakes structurally stiffer and kill their ultimate softness. Agree? Based on all that I have baked, I won't agree to any disagree. LOL!

Why no almond butter?
Due to the fact that almond butter is not a common ingredients and can take extra time to make my own, the lazy me have decided to eliminate this ingredient totally.

Why less oil?

Less oil means the cake is less oily mah! Isn't this better? LOL!

I always prefer not to over-load our food with excessive amount of oil or fat and sugar as I believe that these extreme additions are not absolutely necessary to make food taste really good. Being a health conscious baking mum, I'm after the cut-off amount to create the best well-balance taste and texture in my food and this amount of oil added has worked the best for me.

Why zebra strips?
I know my husband and son too well... If I bake a plain almond chiffon cake for them, they will say that the cake is BORING! LOL! So, I have added cocoa zebra strips into this almond chiffon cake. And, I must say that this cake looks really impressive and tastes extra yummy.

Why highly recommended?
This cake is ultra soft, spongy, moist and delicious with a subtle French-macaron-like aftertaste. So tell me why should I recommend this recipe? LOL!

ultra soft almond zebra chiffon cake
Very happy that I have baked this lovely cake!
ultra soft almond zebra chiffon cake
... because it is pretty ultimate soft, moist and spongy.

Any baking tips?

Like all the ultra soft chiffon cakes that I have baked and mentioned earlier, there is NO cream of tartar, baking powder or any cake raising agents added in this cake. Thus, the success of this chiffon cake is highly depending on the egg white mixture used and it will work well if you can follow my recipe to the tee.

I don't want to be too loli loh soh (meaning naggy in Singlish) again... For more chiffon cake baking tips, please refer to the ones mentioned at here.

Want to see how I baked this cake? I have a quick and concise 1-minute baking video to show you.

Want more ultra soft or interesting chiffon cakes in the near future? Yes that I do have lots to share 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 the recipe that is very modified and simplified from Honey Bee Sweet and mine has no baking powder, no cream of tartar, no almond butter, less oil and has zebra strips with a hint of cocoa powder.

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

For the egg yolks mixture:
100g egg yolk (about 6)
50g neutral tasting vegetable oil
100g unsweetened almond milk or soy milk - please do not use milk because milk is thicker with more fat and protein so that the cake has an ultra light and spongy texture with a nice nutty flavour.
75g cake flour with 8% protein
1/2 tsp salt
75g almond meal

For the egg white mixture:
210g egg whites (about 6)
120g caster sugar

For the zebra strips:
10g cocoa powder or omit if you want to bake a plain almond chiffon cake

Preheat oven to 160°C/320ºF.

For the egg yolk mixture:
Using a hand whisk, whisk egg yolks and oil in a large mixing bowl until mixture turns slightly pale and combined. Then, whisk in almond or soy milk until combined.

Use a FINE sieve to sift cake flour and salt into the egg yolk mixture. Then, use the same sieve to sift almond meal into the egg yolk mixture. Use a spoon to press the almond meal through the sieve if necessary. Discard any large almond pieces that is trapped in the sieve which is about 5g or less. Whisk to combine. Set aside.

For the egg white mixture:
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. While beating, add sugar gradually. Increase beating speed to another higher speed and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. The meringue should be very smooth with tiny bubbles. 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.

Divide batter into two portions. Sift cocoa powder into one portion and use a whisk or spatula to mix gently to incorporate. Transfer plain and cocoa batter into two separate large piping bags with just a simple large hole at the end.

Pipe both plain and cocoa batter alternatively into an un-greased 20 cm chiffon tube pan, at around the internal circle of the pan only until all of the batter are piped into the pan. The alternate batter will slowly move outwards to form a zebra pattern as you pipe.

Give the pan a gentle tap and use a skewer to draw lines that are either inwards or outwards from the internal circle of the pan, on the batter surface only to remove any large air bubbles.

Bake at 160°C for 50 mins or until it is thoroughly baked. IMPORTANT: This cake has to be baked for at least 50 mins in total.

Note: My Ariston oven is typically warmer than most ovens and based on my optimisation at here, I have baked this chiffon cake for a total of 70 mins, 10 mins at 160°C / 320ºF and 60 mins at 130°C / 265ºF to minimise the cracks forming on my cake. If baking a flawless crackless chiffon cake is too complicated for you, just use this recommended general setting and it will work well for most chiffon cake baking. 

After baking, drop the cake from a 20-30 cm height immediately onto your tabletop to minimise shrinkage. Then, invert the cake immediately to cool on a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before removing it from the pan. Important: 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. The cake is fragile and so it is easier to slice with a serrated knife. Enjoy!

Store any uneaten in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days and it will stay soft, moist and spongy even after 3 days of bake!

Happy Baking
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  1. hey zoe!
    Thanks for all the links.. time to browse!
    Would you mind explaining what are the major differences between chiffon, sponge, cotton and ogura cakes? I've been looking at various blogs and recipes, but can't quite figure it out

    1. Thanks for browsing! I know the differences between these cakes but it can be complicated to explain in words... Can I don't do it? :p