Wednesday, March 07, 2007

lemony lightness

I'll have to say that I impressed myself with this one. I was kind of worried when I unmolded it, and the bottom was a little gooey, but all fears were allayed after the first bite.

lemon chiffon cake
Cook's Illustrated does it again. This is an awesome cake. And surprisingly easy. I forgot the lemon juice, but it still worked out beautifully (and lemony). The texture is moist and extremely light. D, G, and I polished off about half of it before we realized it.

From Cook's Illustrated, May 1996
If the egg whites to be whipped are not at room temperature, set them in a pan placed in hot tap water and stir them until they are tepid. Coconut is very nice as a variation for this cake. Add 2/3 to 1 cup lightly packed sweetened flaked coconut, lightly chopped, to the batter before folding in the egg whites.
Serves 12

INGREDIENTS
-1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
-1 1/3 cups cake flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon table salt
-7 large eggs , 2 left whole, 5 separated
-2/3 cup water
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
-2 large lemons , zested, then juiced to yield 2 tablespoons strained juice

1. Adjust rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl (at least 4-quart size). Whisk in two whole eggs, five egg yolks (reserve whites), water, oil, lemon juice and zest and vanilla extract until batter is just smooth.

2. Pour reserved egg whites into large bowl; beat at medium speed with electric mixer until foamy, about 1 minute. Add cream of tartar, increase speed to medium-high, then beat whites until very thick and stiff, just short of dry, 9 to 10 minutes with hand-held mixer and 5 to 7 minutes in KitchenAid or other standing mixer. With large rubber spatula, fold whites into batter, smearing in any blobs of white that resist blending with flat side of spatula.

3. Pour batter into large tube pan (9-inch diameter, 16-cup capacity). Rap pan against countertop five times to rupture any large air pockets. If using two-piece pan, grasp on both sides with your hands while firmly pressing down on the tube with thumbs to keep batter from seeping underneath pan during this rapping process. Wipe off any batter that may have dripped or splashed onto inside walls of pan with paper towel.

4. Bake cake until wire cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Immediately turn cake upside down to cool. If pan does not have prongs around rim for elevating cake, invert pan over bottle or funnel, inserted through tube. Let cake hang until completely cold, about 2 hours.

5. To unmold, turn pan upright. Run frosting spatula or thin knife around pan's circumference between cake and pan wall, always pressing against the pan. Use cake tester to loosen cake from tube. For one-piece pan, bang it on counter several times, then invert over serving plate. For two-piece pan, grasp tube and lift cake out of pan. If glazing the cake, use a fork or a paring knife to gently scrape all the crust off the cake. Loosen cake from pan bottom with spatula or knife, then invert cake onto plate. (Can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature 2 days or refrigerated 4 days.)

[from Cook's Illustrated, May 1996]

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