Chiffon Troubles
Posted: 18 April 2009 02:38 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi, I just recently picked up the spatula and have become a baking enthusiast.  Right now I’ve been trying to perfect the chiffon cake in a layer cake pan rather then tube pan and there are some things I just can’t figure out.  First I’ve been looking at many many many chiffon recipes and noticed that the amount of liquid really changes.  One recipe will call for 1/4 c oil and 1/3 cup water while other recipes call for 1/2 c oil and 3/4 cup water (traditional recipes), otherwise everything else is the same except maybe the egg yolk to white ratio.  My question is does anyone know what each ingredient does for the chiffon cake?  Perhaps that’ll help me to figure out the science behind this cake. 

Second, I’ve been baking these cakes in 9"circle layer pan, and every time i try to invert it the cake just shrinks from the sides to much for it to hold in the pan.  What I’m trying to figure out is how to stop this shrinkage from happening.  There must be something I’m doing wrong cause if I did it in a tube pan its not suppose to pull from the sides right?  I’ve heard chiffon can be made in a 9” layer pan but no matter what I do I can’t get it to stop pulling from the sides to be able to invert it to cool.  Also I know some recipes say you don’t have to invert it but if you don’t shrinkage will always occur right?  Please help…any answers or clues will be much appreciated.  I really want to try and perfect this cake before moving on and i’ve already baked it a good 4-5 times as is.  Many thanks in advance for any info you can send my way.

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Posted: 19 April 2009 12:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I did search and i read some stuff about the cakes falling out of a regular tube pan, I figured I’d start one for people who are trying to bake on in layer cake pan.  I definitely don’t grease the pan, and as soon as I pull it out I invert it on a cake rack but after a couple minutes the cake shrinks from the sides of the pan and falls out onto the cake rack.  So I’m trying to figure out what I can do to stop that shrinkage.  I’ve been taking it out at different stages leaving it in longer and shorter times, i noticed the shorter i leave it in the less shrinkage occurs.  Also I was wondering if its the recipe itself, its a little different then the classical as it it has less sugar than flour and also less eggs and liquid.  The recipe is as followed:

1 1/4 c cake flour
3/4 c sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

At first I thought it looked like half a chiffon cake recipe which it sorta does if you use the ones where you start off with 2+ cups of flour.  Then I noticed this other recipe which is almost the same recipe is as followed:

8 eggs, separated
1/4 cup oil
1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon of lemon zest
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
1 and 3/4 cups of cake flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt

I heard people say the second recipe provided a cake that doesn’t shrink i have yet to try it but was wondering if it was because the amount of eggs in it.  But what throws me off is the liquid is the same amount in the first recipe.  Does that some how effect the recipe, having more eggs and sugar?  What confused me is this recipe looks almost the same in that the liquid is the same but the sugar and eggs are almost double.  So it makes me wonder if the first recipe is not structurally sound and thus the shrinkage.  I did do the first recipe like 4 times and it produce a nice light fluffy cake just that there is a tad shrinkage and the cake pulls from the sides of the pan so I can’t invert it to cool. 

‘ve been racking my brains trying to figure out what i can do to avoid that so I can invert my pan with out my cake falling out.  I was wondering if maybe upping the eggs to provide more structure to hold the final cake so it doesn’t shrink in as much.  Please any ideas will be appreciated I’m trying to understand the science behind the baking as well, so i been looking at different recipes trying to analyze the proportion of the ingredients but i just don’t know enough about how liquid and flour and sugar porportion makes a difference in the final cake, So i’m trying to learn that as well.

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Posted: 20 April 2009 03:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks for the info i know my library has those books in their collection so I’ll pick it up.  Annie, was wondering does it have any tips or hints about why the chiffon cake always falls from the cake pans?  I always thought I was over baking, now i’ve been pulling it out when the toothpick has maybe a few crumbs on it and the top is not actually brown.  The cake is extremely light and i noticed shrinkage is much less but still it falls from the pan, and the top and bottoms of the cake are often very wet (cooked but moist).  I read somewhere on another blog that the cake can fall out due to under baking it too.  So now I’m not sure what to do.  I guess next time I try it i can leave it in longer and wait for it to brown more.  How can you tell when a chiffon cake is done?  I mean as it is the texture and crumb is amazing just i can’t get the falling out of the inverted pan part and the shrinkage part to go away.  I’ve already made like 8 chiffon cakes, needless to say I have a freezer full for when i’m ready to frost them and start giving them away as presents to people lol.

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Posted: 20 April 2009 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks all for the help, I can’t complain too much the cakes come out looking nice, moist, and tender.  Just I guess its a pet peeve since I know it can be done but I just can’t do it myself.  I was wondering if you had to tweak the the formula to get it to work in a layer pan too, but I’m not knowledgeable enough to dp that just yet.  I guess I will have to wait til Rose’s new book.  If I’m not mistaken I think I live near Hector of this forum and he seems to be in the know when it comes to baking, maybe he’ll let me watch him one day and give me some pointers, I’ve been reading he makes beautiful chiffon cakes lol. 

Thanks Annie for looking in your books for me.  I also heard about lining and greasing the bottom of you pan, i always use parchment.  I was actually thinking what if I don’t line the bottom will the cake hold more and not fall lol.  I never went through with it because i figured if i can’t get it out of the pan nicely then being able to invert the cake to cool kinda makes it pointless if i gotta hack it up to get it out lol.  As of now though I think you’re right I should move on to a new cake to perfect.  Perhaps genoise next?

Out of curiosity Julie, what temperature do you normally use to take out different types of cakes, such as foam, butter, pound cake, etc?  I’d love to know so that when i start making certain cakes I can take it out using the internal temperature and then from there learn how to tell when its done by visual cues.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 06:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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FRESHKID - I’m very interested in knowing why the baking failure.  I know it can be done, so it leads me to think its a balance between the ingredients.  I wonder if i have too much liquid in the recipe.  Although the liquid to dry ratio may work for a regular angel food pan, perhaps because its in a layer pan it needs less “guts” so to say or it won’t stay in without the center tube.  I also thought I may be under baking it tad, it comes out of the oven cooked but very moist and not very browned.  But please let me know what could be the problem so I can try fix it.  I know I can just make it and leave it upright to cool in a layer pan and hope for minimum shrinkage, but I really wanna try see if i can get it to where i can invert it without it falling so any tips would be much appreciated.  Thanks!

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Posted: 01 May 2009 07:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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FreshKid, Yes, Please! I would love the recipe for the chiffon cake, I’d like to see the ratio of dry to liquid ingredients, hopefully I’ll learn something from it.  I’ll definitely make it, after all I’ve already made 7-8 chiffons trying to perfect this recipe, what’s one more.  I figured if i took my recipe lowered the liquid and or increased the flour it may have a better structure for the layer cake pans but i was also scared I’d be sacrificing moisture and not get as moist a cake at the cost of structure.  But perhaps in this situation I can’t have my cake and eat it too.  Thank you for the information you posted too, I love reading about the science behind baking as it helps me to make other stuff by applying the same principles.

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