05
Dec
09

Chiffon Carrot Cake

It’s food time! This is a slightly experimental recipe I made out of a basic carrot cake recipe when I discovered I had neither baking powder nor an appropriate cake pan. The reason it’s slightly experimental is that it didn’t come out completely like I wanted, and I haven’t had a chance to implement the subsequent changes I made to the recipe, such as a little more flour, a little less oil, and a little more cooking time.


Chiffon Carrot Cake

Equipment:

  • 3 mixing bowls (2 large)
  • rubber spatula
  • mixer or egg beater
  • 9″ tube pan
  • grater
  • cheese cloth and strainer
  • small bowl

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. carrots
  • dry ingredients:
    • 12 oz. all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
    • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
    • 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • wet ingredients:
    • 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger
    • 5 egg yolks
    • 10 oz. white sugar
    • 6 oz. plain yogurt (preferably Greek style)
    • 6 oz. vegetable oil
    • 2 tbsp. sesame oil (believe me, it’s worth it)
  • meringue:
    • 5 egg whites
    • 5/8 tsp. cream of tartar
    • 2 oz. dark brown sugar

Procedure:

  • preheat oven to 325°F
  • grate carrots and strain through cheesecloth to remove as much liquid as you can.
    • Reserve both gratings and juice
  • mix dry ingredients and grated carrot in large mixing bowl and set aside
  • beat egg yolks in a medium to large mixing bowl until frothy, then slowly add sugar and beat until white and thick.
  • Slowly beat in the other wet ingredients until thoroughly combined, then set aside.
  • beat egg whites with cream of tartar in large mixing bowl, then slowly add brown sugar and beat to stiff peaks
  • pour wet ingredients over dry and stir quickly with wooden spoon or rubber spatula, no more than ten seconds (ie: the muffin method)
  • stir 1/3 of the meringue into the batter to loosen it up, then fold in half of the remainder until mostly integrated, and finally fold in the rest of the meringue.
  • immediately pour into tube pan, shake lightly to even out and remove large bubbles, and put in oven
  • bake for one hour
    • allow to cool before icing or glazing

Either ice with cream cheese icing (I’m sure you’ve got a recipe somewhere; it’s fairly basic) or glaze as I did: make a simple syrup (high concentration: 1 part water to 2 parts sugar), slowly whisk the syrup into some yogurt (leftovers from the cake recipe, perhaps?), then simmer the yogurt syrup until napé (meaning it coats the back of a metal spoon thickly enough to leave a trail if you swipe it with your finger). If you’d like, you can add some flavorings to the glaze (I used a bit of cinnamon) and add a little glycerin if you want it to be shiny. I’m afraid I didn’t use precise measurements when making the glaze, so you’ll have to look up suggestions elsewhere if you don’t know how to do it yourself.

Reasons for some things:

  • Draining the carrots: I didn’t do this and I wound up with what looked like a biscuit dough before adding the liquid ingredients. It’s a good idea.
  • large amounts of spices: I used less and I could barely taste them. If you’re less into spicy things than I am, just use less; it won’t throw off the recipe at all.
  • Leavenings in a chiffon cake?: I’ve noticed most chiffon cake recipes have some leavenings as a precaution. They aren’t necessary (I didn’t have any when I made the first draft cake), but they help, so use ’em if you’ve got ’em.
  • Baking soda and baking powder: The sum of the ingredients ought to be slightly acidic, so I added some extra base (baking powder) rather than a whole leavener. I didn’t calibrate it at all, though, partly because that requires more experimentation than I feel like dealing with, and partly because it isn’t necessary: it’s just a precaution in a chiffon cake.
  • yogurt: it was in the carrot cake recipe I started with (Alton Brown’s from Good Eats if you must know), so I kept it. Gives it a nice rich texture.
  • sesame oil: It was a whim, based largely on my experience with spices in Indian cooking. I knew it was the right idea as soon as I smelled the batter.
  • Greek yogurt: it’s what I had on hand. It’s thicker than French yogurt (the style most Americans are used to), so changing this will change the texture, and I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. If anyone wants to try it, go ahead and tell me how it turns out.
  • 5/8 tsp. cream of tartar: Cream of tartar is best used in meringues in a ratio of 1/8 tsp. per white.
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