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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: 18 April 2009 09:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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There is a whole thread about this somewhere on the main blog, so you could try searching for it.

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Posted: 19 April 2009 12:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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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: 19 April 2009 01:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I can recommend two books that discuss in detail what each ingredient does in baking. The first book is Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking,” which covers a lot more than just baking, and is a fascinating read. The second book is Shirley Corriher’s “Bakewise.” I have not read “Bakewise,” but I do have her other book, “Cookwise,” and she really understands food chemisty. Good luck!

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Posted: 19 April 2009 02:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I just received my copy of BakeWise… it looks very promising!  (Loved CookWise)

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Posted: 19 April 2009 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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It’s a great book - Shirley goes into the science of the recipes.  Everything I’ve made from it so far has been outstanding.  My only two criticisms are that she does not give weights for liquids and there are not enough pictures.

Annie

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Posted: 19 April 2009 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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AnnieMacD - 19 April 2009 07:13 PM

It’s a great book - Shirley goes into the science of the recipes.  Everything I’ve made from it so far has been outstanding.  My only two criticisms are that she does not give weights for liquids and there are not enough pictures.

Annie


Ditto!

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Posted: 20 April 2009 03:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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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 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Dachie, Rose has posted on the forum that to take a regular chiffon recipe, intended to be baked in an ungreased tube pan and cooled upside down, and convert it to a layer cake, takes many, many adjustments to the recipe.  She has accomplished just this, and the recipe will be in her new book, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, due out in September.

In the meantime, chiffon makes terrific cupcakes, the main thing is to not overbake.  I take them out at an internal temp of about 188-190F, rather than the 200+ temps that many cakes are baked to, in order to minimize shrinking.  And yes, the crust is moist/sticky, so I cover nearly all of it with topping/frosting.

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Posted: 20 April 2009 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Julie - 20 April 2009 11:49 AM

Dachie, Rose has posted on the forum that to take a regular chiffon recipe, intended to be baked in an ungreased tube pan and cooled upside down, and convert it to a layer cake, takes many, many adjustments to the recipe.  She has accomplished just this, and the recipe will be in her new book, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, due out in September.


Julie is right. I remember reading this post from Rose.

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Posted: 20 April 2009 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Julie - 20 April 2009 11:49 AM

I take them out at an internal temp of about 188-190F, rather than the 200+ temps that many cakes are baked to, in order to minimize shrinking.  And yes, the crust is moist/sticky, so I cover nearly all of it with topping/frosting.

Julie, do you always check the temperature of a cake or is it just for the chiffon cupcakes?

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Posted: 20 April 2009 12:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Rozanne, I check internal temp for problematic cakes, or when baking a new category of cake or bread, or if for any other reason I’m feeling unsure of baking time.  For the chiffon cupcakes, they have such a narrow window between when they are done, yet not so done that they shrink too much, that it makes sense to watch them carefully.  For some reason I used to get a lot of surprises with Brioche, which led me to always check that with a thermometer.  For butter cakes and genoise I usually don’t need to check.

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Posted: 20 April 2009 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Dachie,  I looked up Shirley Cirriher’s book for you and she bakes both Angel Food Cakes and Chiffon Cakes in ungreased 10” Angel Food pans.  The only thing she does differently is rinses out the pan in hot water (does not dry it) for the AFC as this produces more steam.  She cools both cakes upside-down but, unfortunately, doesn’t mention the possibility of them falling out of the pan.

I also looked up “Understanding Baking” by Amendola & Rees.  They say that if the chiffon cake is to be layered, then grease the bottom of the pan, line and grease and flour.  They stress the bottom only as the cake needs the ungreased sides of the pan to climb up as it expands.  They also say that in this case the cake can be cooled right side up but the cake may lose a bit of height.

But listen to Julie, Rozanne & Patricia - they are the cake experts along with others.  Maybe you just need to wait until the new book comes out!

Best of luck.
Annie

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Posted: 20 April 2009 02:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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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 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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DACHIE:
  Good day to you & welcome to our culinary forum. You came to the right place with your cake problem. If you are still interested of the “WHY” of your baking failure cool hmm  post back & I will tell you all about it.
  Good luck to from Las Vegas, NV & enjoy the rest of the day.

  ~FRESHKID.

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Posted: 30 April 2009 04:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I look forward to hearing more from everyone about baking chiffon cakes in layer pans—I’m always fascinated by these sorts of “baking science” questions. If I come across a recipe out there anywhere, I’ll let you know.

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