16 August 2013

Burnt Sugar Chiffon Cake

I have been on the quest for a passable Burnt Sugar Cake for a couple of years now because it's one of my grandmother's favorites.  I totally wanna give myself a high five because I finally succeeded in making a moist, delicious Burnt Sugar Cake.  It's hard to go wrong with a chiffon cake -- by nature they are light, fluffy, and moist.  Chiffon cakes are a more modern invention than Burnt Sugar cakes.  Chiffon cake was invented in 1927 and burnt sugar cake has been around since at least 1914.

Chiffon cake is a strange concoction.  It uses oil instead of butter.  It uses both egg whites and baking powder or baking soda for aeration since it's harder to work air into oil than into butter.  It is also pretty much the only "new" type of cake in the last century.  It was such a big hit that the inventor actually kept the recipe a secret for 20 years before selling it to General Mills.  Chiffon cakes are typically covered in sauces or frostings since the lower fat content and lack of better can make them seem dry, but I'm a big fan of the texture so I tend to leave off the toppings.  I did drizzle this with a little chocolate and caramel, but mainly for appearances sake.

Burnt Sugar Cake, a.k.a. Burnt Leather Cake, is essentially a caramel cake so the name is a little misleading.  You shouldn't actually burn anything in the cooking process.  It's also just barely caramel colored, so so freak out if your cake isn't caramel colored.  The caramel color and flavor are subtle.  This is not an in-your-face cake.  I love that about it.  It is a little time consuming with making of the burnt sugar syrup and the extra step of beating the egg whites, but it's totally worth it.

Burnt Sugar Chiffon Cake
makes one 10 cup bundt or tube cake

Print me, Please!!!

for the burnt sugar syrup:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup boiling water

for the cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 egg yolks
6 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
8 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

To make the burnt sugar syrup: melt the sugar in a heavy saucepan or skillet over low heat until the sugar is melted, clear, and golden brown; remove from heat.  Add the boiling water.  Return the mixture to the heat and stir until the lumps dissolve and mixture is completely clear.  Cool; set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325°.  Butter and flour a 10 cup tube or bundt pan; set aside.
Stir together the flour, 1 1/4 cups sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla, almond extract, and the burnt sugar syrup; beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar, increasing speed to high gradually over the first minute, until stiff peaks just form.  Fold the egg whites into the batter in three additions.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until golden brown and springy to the touch.  Invert the pan onto a wire rack.  Cool completely before removing the cake from the pan.

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