Orange Glow Chiffon Cake- Help!
Posted: 16 September 2008 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi guys!

I made the orange chiffon cake this afternoon. It rose and baked beautifully, and when a cake skewer inserted into the middle of the cake came out with crumbs clinging, i took it out, inverted it and left it for two hours to cool.

When i unmoulded the cake, i noticed that while the top three quarters of the cake was springy and spongey, the bottom layer was hard, almost like cheese rind.

Has anyone had this happen before? Should i have cooked the cake for a longer time or am i doing something wrong when mixing the batter?

Also, is it okay that i cook the cake using the convention fan oven function or should i switch it to the function with the top and bottom heating element? Oh and i also read somewhere that you should place the chiffon cake tin on the bottom of the oven instead of on a baking tray so that the heat regulates around the middle of the pan- any truth to that?

Sorry for the truckload of questions guys! I would really appreciate any help at all.

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Posted: 16 September 2008 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I have a few questions for you. What kind of flour did you use? What kind of oil? At what point did you stop beating the egg whites?

I have always had success with this recipe. I often use the convection function when I bake, making sure to lower the temperature by 25 degrees Farenheit when the convection fan is going. I have never baked any cake on the actual bottom of the oven—I would be worried that the bottom would burn, being in direct contact with such a hot floor.

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Posted: 16 September 2008 08:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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My guess would be that you didn’t beat the whites to stiff peaks (provided you followed the recipe exactly).  Curious to hear the answers to Christine’s questions…

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Posted: 16 September 2008 09:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I used cake flour and canola oil. And i was so afraid that i was gonna overbeat my whites that i stopped beating them when they were between soft and stiff peaks- figured i was better off underbeating than overbeating them.

Thanks for the quick replies, guys smile

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Posted: 16 September 2008 09:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I haven’t baked this in quite a while, but if you did put the tin on the bottom of the oven, that would account for the texture at the bottom being different than the rest of the cake.  The very first kitchen I worked out of (a very very long time ago) had deck ovens (aka pizza ovens) that were about a hundred years old.  I’d never used such an oven before so without thinking, I put my cake pan right on the oven floor.  Stupid move!  I got rubbery cake bottoms and threw them out (the solution was to flip over a sheet pan, creating a cushion or air pocket.  Worked perfectly after that.  I’ve also never admitted this in public before!

Beating egg whites is an art smile and it may be that you didn’t beat long enough and the settling at the bottom (rubbery, tough) was because the cake couldn’t support the weight of the top and so sunk.

Sometimes, flavorless oils also contain silicate which can inhibit foaming; but I don’t think this is as much an issue as the consistency of the whites.  There are other factors that come to mind - measuring the ingredients, temp of the oven but I think it is the egg whites….

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Posted: 17 September 2008 06:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Haha there’s nothing like learning a lesson the hard way to remember it for life eh?

Yeah i suspect it might be the egg whites too but thanks for that. I’ll definitely keep that in mind the next time i try this cake out.

Despite all that happened with the cake, i sliced the bottom off and salvaged the rest for tea. It was sooo good!

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Posted: 18 September 2008 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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slicing the bottom off works for me.  YES, I attribute your bottoms to using a sheet under the pan, and not whipping whites to stiff.

I bake my chiffons on the bottom rack of the oven, not on the oven floor.  The point is to keep you chiffon baking in the center of the oven as much as possible, chiffon pans been so tall, you need to use a rack or two lower than your standard rack for layer cakes.

Add creme of tartar to whites, and whip until your heart stops.  There is no danger of over beating your whites when you use creme of tartar.

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Posted: 18 September 2008 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I did bake the cake on the lowest shelf of the oven. Any higher and i find that the top cracks while baking.

All right, it looks like i have to go out and get some cream of tartar then- i’ve been using a tiny amount of vinegar in place of it- and give this another go.

Thanks so much for the advice, Hector!

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Posted: 18 September 2008 03:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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cracked tops is a chiffon characteristic =)

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Posted: 18 September 2008 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Sounds like the problem might be with the egg whites, as others have pointed out. Just as an aside, In “Cake Bible,” the recipe says you should not use oil that contains silicates.  That might be another thing to double-check (although I don’t know what effect silicates would actually have on the finished cake).

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Posted: 18 September 2008 05:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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hectorwong - 18 September 2008 10:41 AM

Add creme of tartar to whites, and whip until your heart stops.  There is no danger of over beating your whites when you use creme of tartar.

i didn’t know that. i just thought i was very clever at knowing the exact time to shut off the mixer! lol

jen

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Posted: 23 September 2008 01:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Hi guys,

I went out to get a bottle of cream of tartar and gave the chiffon cake another shot this morning. It worked! My egg whites were so stiff i tipped the bowl over and it stayed in place! I’m soooo pleased with how my cake turned out- it was pillowy soft, moist and oh so good- and forever indebted to Hector for the push to go out to get that little bottle of magic.

Thank you so much for all your help, guys! smile

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Posted: 23 September 2008 12:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Congratulations!  So glad it worked out for you.

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