Hi all (and I’m hoping Rose will read this and be able to offier some insight too) - here’s a challenge for the scientific bakers of this forum!!
I have a favourite deep, dark and moist chiffon cake recipe which is baked in a tube pan and cooled upside down per the practice with chiffon cakes. I want convert it into a square or rectangular cake, filled and topped with a frosting with a pudding-like consistency.
The problem is, although the texture of the chiffon cake is ideal, without the centre tube of an angel food cake pan to cling to, its structure is not strong enough to cool upright or even upside down in a square pan. When I tried cooling the cake upside down in its square pan, it sank in the middle. Also, when filled, the bottom layer of the cake gets compressed from the weight of the frosting which is heavy.
At the moment the recipe is a traditional chiffon recipe - contains oil, some baking powder as well as some baking soda, egg yolks and egg whites, separated with the whites beaten with some of the sugar. For those who are wondering, here are the proportions:
300 grams golden caster sugar
140 grams all-purpose flour
80 grams unsweetened cocoa
10 grams baking powder
5 grams baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
112-116 grams yolks
250 grams whites (both work out to about 7 eggs, separated)
5/8 cup vegetable oil
7/8 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
This recipe originates from Spago and together with the original recipe was indeed an indication of its tendency to sink in the middle although at Spago’s apparently they bake it in a standard round pan and use layers of this cake as components in various other creations. (And indeed it is a great tasting chiffon!!) I had tinkered with it quite a bit to obtain a stronger structure and moister texture from the original, which was a bit dry. But it is only successful in a tube pan, as mentioned.
I’m wondering, to strengthen the structure of the cake so that it can be baked in a square pan, should I increase the amount of yolks and decrease the baking powder? And/or decrease or omit the baking soda (since always use dutched cocoa)? I’m seeking to preserve the lovely springy texture of the chiffon - a chocolate SPONGE texture is definitely NOT what I want - too dry. And this cake does not lend itself to being moistened by syrup, so no genoise-style either.
Ideally the cake should be able to be cooled upright (cooling upside-down in a square or normal round pan, even if loose-bottomed, is a major challenge without the cake falling out) and be able to maintain its shape and not get compressed at the bottom by the filling and frosting. Since it will be split, filled and frosted, it doesn’t have to be as high as a regular chiffon cake, so the main question is how to improve structure and cool it without it sinking, and allow it to take the weight of the frosting.
Sorry if I’m sounding a bit repetitive! This has been confounding me. I know the sensible thing should be to get past it and perhaps find another recipe… but you know what happens when you get something in your head and then lose sleep over it… PLUS this is the family’s favourite bakery cake, I’ve finally got both components (cake and frosting) figured out separately, just need to get them together!!