February 18, 2013

Orange Chiffon Cake

After much success with the coffee version I have to say I'm on a bit of a chiffon cake kick.  I just can't seem to get enough of this delicious, light and fluffy cake.  So when I was visiting my parents this weekend and saw the gleaming, ripe oranges hanging from their backyard tree I instantly knew what the next chiffon flavor should be.

The only tweak I made to the Cook's Illustrated recipe was adding a tablespoon of orange zest to the glaze.  It was my humble attempt to replicate the icing that came with Pillsbury Orange Sweet Rolls, one of my favorite breakfast treats when I was a kid. 

Orange Chiffon Cake (from Cook's Illustrated)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
7 large eggs, 2 left whole, 5 separated
2 medium oranges, zested to yield 2 tablespoons zest
3/4 cup orange juice (from oranges above)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Orange Glaze, recipe below

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

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.

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. 

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. 

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.) 

Orange Glaze

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 - 5 tablespoons orange juice
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar 
1 tablespoon orange zest 

Beat butter, 4 tablespoons of the orange juice, sugar and zest in medium bowl until smooth. Let glaze stand 1 minute, then try spreading a little on cake. If cake threatens to tear, thin glaze with up to 1 tablespoon more liquid. A little at a time, spread glaze over cake top, letting excess dribble down sides. Let cake stand until glaze dries, about 30 minutes. If you like, spread dribbles to make a thin, smooth coat. 


  1. Anonymous2/19/2013

    Yum, this looks and sounds delicious!

  2. Does the cake pan need to be greased & floured? thanks!

    1. The key to the chiffon is to make sure to NOT grease and flour the pan. This is so the cake batter can cling to the sides of the tube pan and rise. Once baked it's quite easy to remove from the pan. Good luck!

  3. It's so gorgeous! I've been loving citrus lately and have dabbled with it a bit in baking recipes, but this recipe takes the cake for delicious citrus treats!


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