When they were younger, the girls loved Goldilocks mocha-vanilla chiffon cake. You know, the one sold by the slice? That and the chicken pie were the only Goldilocks items we bought. Well, until the crust of the chicken pie became bread-like rather than flaky and the filling became more potatoes than chicken. After that, the mocha-vanilla chiffon cake became the only Goldilocks item we bought and buying it became more and more rare until we just stopped. Yesterday, Alex was reminiscing about the chiffon cake and I said I’d make one just like it. “With a little butter icing between the mocha and vanilla layers?” I asked her. No, she said. No icing.
It turned out we didn’t have powdered coffee for the mocha layer so I made a choco-vanilla marble chiffon cake instead. I offered to pour some ganache over the cake before cutting it but no one was interested. Speedy and Alex (Sam is still out partying) just wanted to sink their teeth into the soft moistness and that was that. Who was I to complain? No ganache meant less work for me. Besides, there is no logic in hiding a perfectly textured and flavored cake in ganache or any kind of frosting for that matter. And this fine-crumbed choco-vanilla marble chiffon cake is just one of those perfect wonders.
Now, a few things about chiffon-type cakes. Unlike most cakes which you cool slightly in the pan then invert on a rack, a chiffon cake must cool completely in the pan…
…upside down. This minimizes deflating. Think of it as letting the cake stretch upward as it cools. Make sure though that the cake can breathe. In short, don’t invert the pan on a plate because steam build-up will just ruin the cake.
If using a silicone pan, like I do, don’t worry that the cake will fall off when inverted. You have to pull the sides of the pan outward and the tube inward to release the cake. Do that after the cake has cooled and you’re ready to slice it.
Based on a recipe from Martha Stewart.
- 1 and 1/8 cups cake flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar), divided
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup palm oil
- 4 large large eggs separated
- 1/3 cup milk (I used skim milk)
- 1 whole vanilla bean split and scraped, or 1 tsp. of vanilla extract (not necessary if using vanilla sugar)
- 2 tablespoons sifted cocoa powder
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Sift together the flour, half of the sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a mixing bowl, stir together the oil, egg yolks, milk (and vanilla, if using).
Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture; mix until smooth.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating, adding the remaining sugar little by little, until stiff.
Add about a quarter cup of the egg whites to the flour-oil mixture. Whisk lightly. Add the remaining egg whites and fold in until blended.
Pour a third of the batter into another mixing bowl. Stir the cocoa powder into the batter in the second bowl.
Pour the batter, alternating between the vanilla and cocoa batters, into a tube pan. Run a knife around the batter to create the marbling.
Bake until a skewer inserted down the middle comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.
Cool the cake in the pan with the pan upside down. Loosen the cake and serve.