An overwhelming desire for the taste of orange and chocolate led me down the slippery slope of recipe development, creating a deep, dark and delicious Chocolate Orange Chiffon Cake that thrilled neighbors and crushed that craving.
The neighbors love it when I bake. I then scurry around and distribute goodies lest they cling to my thighs. (Judging by how my underwear fits, I may have left this cake in the Gypsy Kitchen a little too long.)
My hunger for citrus has been at a fever pitch; last week I found myself surrounded by oranges, kumquats, pomelo, Meyer lemons and several limes. (I think I may have scurvy!) The holiday season denied me one of my favourite candy treats (Terry’s Chocolate Orange) so I had to bake now, didn’t I?
Oh sure, I could have just eaten an orange and a piece of chocolate… but where’s the fun in THAT?!
Keep the cake moistened with kumquat syrup and topped with colourful bits of candied kumquat (featured earlier this week on Food Gypsy). I often use a simple syrup on a cake before icing, it helps keep it moist longer. In this case, the juicy orange flavour of kumquats helped intensify the citrus undertones, but this cake is so moist and rich it hardly needs help.
Finished it with a chocolate ganache and that’s when this Chocolate Orange Chiffon Cake took on a life of its own. The planned ‘thin drizzle’ of ganache became great, goopy globs of rich chocolate. Instead of a refined, delicate effect it became one big, chocolate meltdown.
Sometimes you just have to roll with it… let the chocolate flow and learn something new. What I learned was this: finishing with a warm ganache in front of an open window, in temperatures of -18*C is not such a good idea. Noted.
Didn’t affect the taste one little bit… tangy, citrus backed flavour, grounded in rich, semi-sweet chocolate; a feel good combination.
It must be, because now I feel GREAT, shame about my waist though. Here one day, gone the next. Meh, it’ll be back.
Chocolate Orange Chiffon Cake Recipe
(Adapted from Mennonite Girls Can Cook)
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 60 – 70 minutes
1 1/2 cups orange juice, heated
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups cake or pastry flour
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
zest of two medium oranges (about a 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
7 large eggs, separated
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
- In a small saucepan, heat orange juice to a low simmer. Mix cocoa powder and hot orange juice together in a medium bowl, dissolving cocoa completely. Stir well, and allow to cool to room temperature (about 10 minutes).
- In a large bowl combine flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking soda and salt, add orange zest and toss to mix. Add cocoa orange juice mixture to dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Do not beat.
- In a large bowl beat egg whites together with cream of tartar to form soft peaks. Add remaining 1/4 cup of sugar to egg whites and beat until stiff.
- In a medium bowl add vanilla and oil to egg yolks, lightly beat with a fork or whisk. Add egg mixture to cocoa mixture, blend until just smooth, beating this batter will make it tough, so just mix until blended. Add egg whites to cocoa batter, one quarter at a time, using a spatula and fold gently into the whites until everything is blended and bubbly.
- Pour into an ungreased tube pan and bake at 350º for 60-70 minutes. (Ungreased! This cake has enough oil that it should not stick, and it needs the ungreased sides so that it can ‘grip’ and rise.)
Invert pan and allow to cool. Remove to cake plate, you can plate either bottom (flat) side up or top (domed) side up. Your choice.
This is a cake that freezes well and keeps for up to a month. You know, if you were planning your desserts that far in advance.
Chocolate Ganache Recipe
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
1 cup heavy cream
4 ounces good quality milk chocolate, chopped into small pieces
5 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
2 tsp vanilla extract
- In a heavy sauce pan heat cream until just bubbling. Make sure you stay with it so it does not scorch or boil over, it only takes a couple minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in chocolate until completely melted. Add extract.
- Cool slightly until ganache begins to thicken, stirring occasionally.
Pour still warm, (thick) ganache over cake. May the drizzle be with you.