The picture of the chocolate chiffon in Kim's cookbook is beautiful, with huge white and dark chocolate curls scattered over the chantilly cream frosting. The chiffon cake looked tender and moist and I was hoping that this would be the holy grail of chiffon recipes. I had previously halted my quest for the perfect chiffon recipe. I had completed some heavy research and testing of various chiffon recipes and arrived at the conclusion that the America Test Kitchen's chiffon cake was the best thus far.
However, Kim's illustrations were enticing and I was curious to see if it could be better than the ATK recipe.
here's my feeble attempt at creating the dramatic swirls. note how crumbs get caught so easily
I knew before I even started that the "chantilly cream" frosting would be a challenge. I mean geez, I've tried to frost a cake with whipped cream before and it's not so easy. Crumbs get into the frosting and it tends to droop. It also doesn't hold up very well in warm weather either. Kim's frosting technique has these dramatic large propeller-like swirls on the sides of the cake.
*update: thank you for the comments on creating a crumb coat everyone! Your advice is much appreciated! However, it is always my practice to apply a crumb coat before frosting. I DID do a crumb coat on this chocolate chiffon, but because the stiff whipped cream has a high water content and is so soft, it does not set in the refrigerator like a buttercream does. A buttercream will harden in the refrigerator but a chantilly cream doesn't. As a result, when you bring it out of the refrigerator, the cake has absorbed the moistness from the thin layer of whipped cream and the surface is still soft. When you apply the rest of the chantilly cream frosting, the cake crumbs will still tend to lift off the cake layers, but I suppose not as much as if you didn't apply any crumb coat at all.
I gave it my best shot, but I looked at the amount of whipped cream in my mixing bowl and realized there was no way I could do it. I didn't have enough of the frosting to create the dramatic swirls. I had a feeling that in his professional kitchen, he probably made a huge batch and had more prepared whipped cream to play with. I could only make little swirls and when I made it all the way around the cake sides and back to where I started, I couldn't figure out how to finish it neatly. I ended up muddling it. Oh well, it's all good if you camouflage it with chocolate shavings. doesn't that look moist?
After tasting this chiffon, I was surprised by how moist and yet dry it was. I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but it's true! The crumb appeared tender but it tasted kind of like a sponge in texture and flavour. I was disappointed with the faint chocolate flavour. As well as not having a deep enough chocolate flavour, it also left a funny flat aftertaste in my mouth. Perhaps it required some vanilla extract or more cocoa powder. I don't know. It needed something.
looks can be deceiving: all fluff and no depth
The chiffon was okay but not the best I have made. Besides all this I'm left with extra egg yolks. It's such a bother when a recipe requires more whites than yolks. Now I have to figure out what to do with the yolks. The ATK chiffon utilizes 7 whole eggs. I like that. It also fits a standard chiffon tube pan (and not the two mini 6 inch pans that Kim requires in his recipe).
the chantilly cream frosting saves this cake
Without the chantilly cream frosting, I don't think this chocolate chiffon would be too enjoyable to eat. Though I scarfed down my first piece of cake in mere seconds, I don't think I'll be making this one again. I'll stick to the ATK chiffon recipe and all its wonderful variations.
Oh, man! I winced when I read that chantilly cream touched your lens. My obsessive-compulsive soul would just die.
Sorry the cake didn't come out as well as you would have liked.. I do notice that chiffon cake does not carry chocolate flavor very well. In any case, it does look good (propellers!) and I'm glad the chantilly cream saved it :)
To avoid crumbs, I think you should crumb coat it with a thin layer (almost so that you can see the cake underneath). Then refrigerate over night. This helps hold the crumbs in place. Then you can frost.
I know!! It's such a pain and drives me nuts when you can see specks on a cake. But it came out beautiful!!
Well, it looks beautiful! I am always disappointed when the cake doesn't thrill me enough. Great photos though!
Yes, I agree, chiffon doesn't carry chocolate well...it's the nature of the beast. Perhaps I'll have a mini quest in search of a chocolately chiffon with real flavour.
Yes, as a matter of fact I always crumb coat with a thin layer before I do anything else. I did that with this chiffon but it simply didn't work because the cream was too soft and took everything with it as I tried to frost on top of the crumb coat. Too bad. Thanks for the encouraging comments though!
Yeah, appearances can be deceiving! Thanks for the comment!
Tha does look moist. I agree about doing the crumb coat like a pp suggested.
I think the icing looks just perfect, I don't see any crumbs. The cake looks very pretty!
Glad to hear you prefer the ATK. It tends to be my default for most every baking recipe and I feel sometimes I may be missing out. Looks delicious though!
That cake looks good!
You can't really crumb coat a cake with whipped cream because of it won't harden in the fridge to allow you a second coat without getting an crumbs in. But....here is my trick: don't be shy and go big, put a lot of whipped cream and with secure movements create those swirls. Tell that whipped cream who is the boss!
i think this cake looks wonderful. I wish I had a slice!
Oh... my god! That looks so flippen good!
You could use the extra yolks to make a lovely homemade custard to serve with pie, or use as cake filling, or as a base to make ice cream... or simply serve with a scrummy jam sponge pudding.
or make lemon curd... yum yum
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