Chocolate Chiffon Cake Wreck
Posted: 21 October 2008 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Is it possible to beat too much air into egg whites, without seeing signs of overbeating?

Here’s the thing, just made my first chiffon cake, Rose’s chocolate from TCB. I weighed everything, inlcuding water, yolks, whites, and followed the recipe exactly, no substitutions.  Yet, it seemed like there was too much batter.  The batter filled the pan about 1” higher than specified, and not surprisingly the cake baked up very high, with the sides coming up past the top of the pan and bulging out a little.  The cake took about 10 minutes longer to bake than specified.

And the problem was, that about ten minutes into the cooling process, the cake separated from its crust and fell out onto the counter (with the bottle still in the middle- once I got over the shock, it was quite a funny sight).  It was a regular angel food pan, not a nonstick, and the crust was left behind, still clinging to the pan. 

So what went wrong?  The texture of the cake was tender, no large holes, springy, really quite a good texture.  The flavor, for my taste, was too light, though I did like the part that landed on the counter and was denser/more flavorful.  The only thing I could think of was too much air in the whites.  Is that possible?  In the past, I have had problems from not beating whites all the way to stiff peaks, so this time I was determined to correct that tendency.  I did beat them for a long time, and they definitely formed stiff peaks, but there were no signs of overbeating, i.e., they didn’t break up into clumps. 

It would explain the light flavor (diluted by air) and the falling out of the pan (not enough contact area with the pan for the weight of the cake, because part of the cake rose above the pan).  What do you guys think?

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Posted: 21 October 2008 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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OH no!

some of the chiffon pros will be by. i just wanted to commiserate with you. i hate when a first time project doesn’t turn out!!!!!

jen

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Posted: 21 October 2008 03:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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hi julie, it has happened to me!  try watch Rose’s video posted on flour and angel food.

measure the volume in cups of your pan

when cooling, room MUST be draft free

use orangina bottle or a 750 ml pellegrino

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Posted: 21 October 2008 10:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Julie, check the thread in Equipment Q & A for Angel Food Cake and you will see you are not alone. In spite of many, many attempts, watching Rose’s video and being so careful with measurements and technique, it still happens to me every time and I do not have a solution. If you ever solve the problem at your end, I would love to know. Sorry I can’t help but at least you know you’re not a voice in the wilderness!

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Posted: 21 October 2008 11:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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In my experience, the cake will fall out of the pan if a large air hole in the batter wasn’t removed before baking - running a knife through the batter after you put it in the pan will help to minimize the risk - Hope that helps.  Also, Bundt and tube pans vary greatly in size… you can measure the volume of your pan by filling it with water and seeing how many cups it takes to reach the brim.  If your pan isn’t water tight, put a large plastic bag in the pan and pour the water into the bag.

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Posted: 22 October 2008 12:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Jen, thanks, you’re all heart!

Geejay, you have the same problem too? Sorry to hear that but thanks for commiserating!

Patrincia, I don’t think there was a large air hole, I did run a knife through before baking and didn’t find any big holes as we sliced it.  The pan did look like a normal angel food tube pan, but if I try again I will definitely pour water in it to check the volume.  And if my batter comes up higher in the pan than specified, I’ll make a few cupcakes!

Hector, I know you’ve made lots of successful chiffons, because I’ve seen pics of all those tasty-looking Kahlua ones!  Do you know what is was that made your chiffon fall?  How did you fix it?  Is the Pellegrino bottle required?  I used an empty wine bottle.  And I did try to pick a draft-free place, a little corner in the kitchen, no windows open or anything like that.  Hmmm, maybe I should try a different place.

Well, I’m thinking of trying again, but aside from checking the pan volume, I’m stumped as to what to do differently.

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Posted: 22 October 2008 04:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Julie, my dozen chiffons and my Mom’s hundred ones has never fall, so I wouldn’t know much from experience expect Rose’s explanation on avoiding a draft.  A wine bottle would work.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Julie, I have had this problem with chiffon and angel cakes numerous times.  From what I’ve learned elsewhere (other baking sites and cookbooks), this particular problem may be due to the following:

improper folding technique (folding whites into batter too vigorously or underfolding)
under or over baking cake, more so over baking
filling pan too high with batter (shouldn’t be more than 2/3rds full, maybe a little less)
improper beating of egg whites -  again, under or overbeating)

These are the reasons I’ve found for problems such as cake falling out of the pan upon inverting.  It is most frustrating, especially if you’ve followed everything to the letter of a recipe, to have this happen after all your hard work. Maybe there is something to the draft theory, although my kitchen is not drafty.  I’m inclined to think this problem has more to do with technique and experience than anything else.  My latest chocolate angel cake came out very well.  When I finished spooning the batter into my pan, I took an offset spatula and gently nudged it away from the center and out to the sides.  The cake cooled perfectly and was one of my few successes.  Don’t give up, and check out videos on beating egg whites and proper folding of whites into batter!  I don’t know what’s involved in Rose’s recipe as I don’t have her Cake Bible (I thought I was getting it for a holiday gift but alas, I didn’t and will have to buy my own) but maybe a simpler recipe might be the way to go.  Good luck with your next cake!!

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Posted: 03 February 2009 04:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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JULIE:
Good afternoon my learned friend. I have read your post asking “IS IT POSSIBLE TO BEAT TOO MUCH AIR INTO EGG WHITES”????.
  Very very good question….very intelligent of you to ask that very ???. The answer is YES!!!!...It is possible. I strongly believe that is one of the reasons you sustained a baking failure.
  Further you asked at your very last paragraph ‘WHAT DO YOU GUYS THINK”. I think there appears a ingredient error by the book publisher. I do not know if you followed the recipe exactly or not. Oh yes my friend only if you plan to do this recipe there is a secret trick to not beat excessive air into egg whites. I keep that chiffon cake trick in my secret trick bag that I have in my attic of my 1 story house.
  Anyway good luck & enjoy the rest of the day young lady.

  ~FRESHKID. cool hmm

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Posted: 12 February 2009 01:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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JULIE

You may have done everything perfectly.
10 egg whites will probably result in too much foam if beating conditions are excellent and a gentle folding technique is employed..
Try a compromise: Use 7 egg whites, beat to stiff peaks, gently fold foam and observe if the batter produced fills the 10” round tube pan 2/3rds full. I can get my pan to bake out perfectly rounded just above the top of the pan with just 6 egg whites (most recipes call for 5-7 egg whites).

I watched Rose’s video (links below)—the peaks weren’t exactly stiff peaks and it seemed that the foam was rather roughly incorporated into the batter. I suspect this type of incorporation results in the loss of probably 3 egg whites worth of foam. Another item noticed in the video is the cake didn’t even come completely to the top of the pan despite the 10 egg whites indicative of too much/rough folding.

There is nothing mysterious about this cake, however, technique is critical.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzLItjk5ELw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd1C820dDD4

Stiff peaks video—http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzzQme2rafI
Folding technique—http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ4sJ-4WguU

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