I hope someone can offer me some advice on a chocolate chiffon cake recipe!
I want to make the mocha cake from Suas' "Advanced Bread and Pastry", and I'm having some serious issues with chiffon cake base. Let me also point out that I'm very new to pastry and cake mixing... I've baked my way through most of the bread part of the book, and now I'd like to dive into the (scary) world of pastries. I managed to mix a splendid coffee buttercream (which is now waiting in the fridge), but I'm running into trouble with the chiffon base. I've had three botched attempts so far. OK, since I'm completely new, let me give the details of what I'm doing. Please bear with me! The recipe is as follows for a 20 cm cake:
- Cake flour: 85 gr. (100%)
- Baking powder: 4 gr. (4.67%)
- Baking soda: 1 gr. (1.33%)
- Granulated sugar #1: 100 gr. (120%)
Liquid ingredients & chocolate emulsion:
- Water: 50 gr. (60%)
- Chopped semi-sweet chocolate: 65 gr. (74.67%)
- Egg yolks: 50 gr. (60%)
- Canola oil: 45 gr. (53.33%)
- Egg whites: 90 gr. (105.33%)
- Granulated sugar #2: 50 gr. (56%)
- Cream of tartar: 1 g. (0.93%)
OK. Here's what I do:
- I sift together the dry ingredients.
- Mix the meringue to medium peaks.
- Boil the water and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for 1 min., and then gently whisk together.
- Whisk in liquid ingredients (yolks and canola oil) into the chocolate emulsion.
- Whisk the dry ingredients into the chocolate emulsion.
- Fold the meringue into the chocolate batter. I do this in three turns, and fold until there are no white streaks.
- Pour into a 15 cm form, and bake for approx. 25-30 mins at 170C.
I don't have a 20 cm form, so I'm using a 15 cm one instead. I'm approximately filling this halfway up (a little less actually), and I discard the rest of the chiffon cake batter. The oven is well pre-heated to the specified temperature.
OK. So, for the first 15 mins or so of the bake, the cake is rising nicely, up to somewhere around 3/4 of the form. The middle of the cake is somewhat lower than the edges, so it's a bit soggy in the middle. Then, after about 15 mins, it almost looks like the top starts cracking, and there's a circular crack appearing. This becomes more and more distinct, and after approx. 20 mins, it's almost like the middle of the cake starts to cave in on itself; like the cake is not able to hold its own weight. I was surprised by this, since I'm only using a 15 cm form, and I supposed the edges would support it better than they do...
Anyway, I'm freaking a bit out about the caving in part, so I immediately remove the form from the oven, and flip it upside down to cool. After it's cooled for 90 mins., I turn it around, and it looks like this:
See the crack in the surface? The surface is also more greyish than dark brown. Out of the form, this is what I get:
It's extremely crumbly, and there's that greyish crust color running around the top. Now, according to Suas, this base is supposed to be cut in four layers. My base is very crumbly, as you can see from the photo below, where I've gently removed the grey top:
The whole thing is just very delicate and crumbly, and there's no way I'm able to get this in four whole pieces...
Now, as I mentioned, I'm completely new to serious pastry stuff. I've read the theory bits in Suas' book about cake mixing, meringues etc., but there are obviously pieces I'm missing. I've had three go's at this, all with the same result. I've varied the meringue mixing (going from medium to stiff to medium-soft), but the result has always been the same. I'm using a digital scale, so I'm pretty confident that I'm scaling the amounts correctly.
I'm really not sure where I should start looking? Would mixing the cake batter more improve the results? Should I bake it slightly shorter (until just before the crust starts cracking, for instance)? I hope someone can nudge me in the right direction! I still have that awesome coffee buttercream in the fridge, and I'd love to use it for this mocha cake...
Thanks so much in advance!
Edited by hansjoakim, 14 February 2009 - 09:28 AM.