Tuesday, October 5, 2010

ABC - Orange Chiffon Tweed Cake with Milk 'n' Honey Sabayon

I couldn't wait to make this month's Avid Baker's Challenge: Orange Chiffon Tweed Cake with Milk 'n' Honey Sabayon. In all honesty, I was more excited about the chiffon cake than the sauce, since I've only made chiffon cake once before and I definitely needed more practice :o) If at first you don't succeed, try again. Boy, am I glad I did. This cake was awesome! The recipe can be found in Flo Braker's "Baking for all Occasions".

I love the height of this cake. It rose perfectly! Keep reading to see how pretty it looks on the inside.
If you're a Flo Braker fan, or you enjoy baking, and you have easy access to her book, "Baking for all Occasions", feel free to join our monthly baking group. Just email me at HanaasKitchen [at] live [dot] com.

To increase my chance of success in making this chiffon cake, I decided to read up on it a bit, so I grabbed two of Rose Levy Beranbaum's books: The Cake Bible and Rose's Heavenly Cakes. One thing that caught my attention immediately is how similar the recipes were for the Orange Chiffon Cake by both authors. Anyway, I decided to make a couple changes to Flo's recipe and instructions (sorry Flo!). I added some cream of tartar to the egg whites as a little insurance. Rose's chiffon cake recipes also let you mix everything but the egg whites and a little bit of sugar in one bowl, which simplifies the recipe a lot. So that's what I did. I combined the cake flour, most of the sugar (I reserved 4 Tbsp for the egg whites), baking powder, salt, egg yolks, oil, orange juice (store bought), and orange zest from 2 large navel oranges. I also added some vanilla. Beat together in a bowl until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites, the cream of tartar and the reserved sugar until stiff (but not dry) peaks form.

Instead of grating 3 oz of chocolate and having it fly all over my kitchen, I used my food processor to finely chop the chocolate instead. I used all milk chocolate (37% cocoa solids) instead the suggested combination of semi-sweet and milk chocolate.

Using a large whisk, gently fold the meringue and the chopped chocolate into the flour/yolk mixture. Pour the batter into an ungreased (yes ungreased!) tube pan, preferably with a removable bottom like an Angel Food cake pan.

The recipe says to bake the cake in a 350F oven which I did. But halfway through, I found that the cake was browning too much and so I lowered the temperature to 320F. Rose bakes her chiffon cakes at 325F for 55 minutes. My cake baked a total of 45 minutes. Immediately upon removal from the oven, invert it over a long-necked bottle. Let it "hang out" for about 3 hours until completely cooled.

Since the Milk 'n' Honey Sabayon was only cooked over a double boiler, I was afraid it would taste and smell eggy. So I made a cooked Milk 'n' Honey pastry cream instead. Unfortunately, I was playing around so much with the recipe, that I don't have exact ingredients to share with you. All I remember is that I started with half the egg yolks (3) and half the Orange Blossom Honey (2 oz), the full amount of milk and orange juice, and then I made a slurry of 2 Tbsp of corn starch. After that, I kept on adding small amounts of milk, until I got the consistency I was looking for. I strained it, and into the fridge it went.

The next day, I whipped 1/4 cup of cream with a dash of sugar, and folded it into the pastry cream to lighten it. I think next time I'd add some orange zest to the pastry cream.

When I cut into the cake, I was pleasantly surprised. It looked "tweedy" indeed :o) You could see the specks of chocolate, and the orange zest. Very pretty.

The cake had a pleasant orange aroma and didn't smell eggy at all. I took one bite (sans pastry cream) and immediately started doing my happy dance :o).

The cake was lighter than air, moist (which I didn't expect from a chiffon cake), with a big orange punch. The chocolate flavor is very subtle. I could only taste it towards the end of my bite. I'm thinking the chocolate is there for the visual effect, not to be a dominant flavor.

Cake + pastry cream = yummy in my tummy!
Last but not least, a big welcome to our newest ABC members: Billie, Lola, Margot, and Karen. With that, I present to you our current ABC blog roll:
(I will be updating the links to the actual post as they become available)

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Hubby and I loved this cake. He liked it with and without the pastry cream. I thought the cake was moist enough and could be eaten as-is. Hubby's rating 9 out of 10. This cake is definitely going to be made again and I might try variations too, like subbing lemon zest for the orange.
  • A little over half of this cake went to work with me today because it was too dangerous to have it sitting on the counter (it's so light you'll think it has NO calories, ha ha). Everybody loved it!
  • I mixed everything but the egg whites, a little bit of sugar and chocolate in one bowl and beat it until smooth.
  • To make sure the egg whites whip up like they're supposed to, I added 3/4 tsp of cream of tartar to them.
  • I like vanilla in baked goods, so I added a couple splashes of that to the batter (about 2 tsp).
  • Have all your ingredients at room temperature, especially the eggs.
  • Instead of grating chocolate, I like to finely chop my chocolate in the food processor. I tried this once and loved it. It's a snap and you have very easy cleanup afterwards!
  • Check the cake halfway through baking. If it's browning too quickly, lower your oven temperature by 25-30 degrees F.


  1. i too grate the chocolate in the food processor..to lazy to grate it by hand..lol!

    Lovely Chiffon you have there and the pastry cream looks yummy too! Like you, everyone in my family loves it too..it's just simply delicious!

  2. What a beautiful tall cake! Congratulations on two years blogging.

  3. I agree the height of the cake is amazing!

  4. It turned out beautiful, Hanaa! Bit nervous to tackle this one. I'll use your cream of tarter tip. All of a sudden the heat wave is over and it's been cloudy. If it rains I'm sunk.

  5. Looks so lovely...nice and tall and very delicious. The process photos were such fun, thanks for doing those.

  6. What a great cake! It looks so tall too.

  7. Your cake turned out beautifully! Just perfect and I love your plating, very pretty. I am glad to hear you enjoyed the cake. I can see baking the full recipe for the cake but the sauce, well, we are still not talking.

  8. Your cake is spectacular! Look how high it rose! I would have been scared to invert it on the neck of a bottle for fear it would break. Using the food processor to grate the chocolate is a great idea. I usually shave it off the bar with my chef's knife and it does migrate...all over the place.

  9. Thank you so much. I was a little apprehensive about making this cake since my 1st chiffon cake was a disaster (it tasted OK but it was lopsided). This one turned out really nice, thankfully :o)

  10. My favorite cake from Rose's Book was the Tweed Cake! I can't wait to make this..and I am drooling now over yours.
    Sadly, I am an airhead and wrote down that next Tuesday was my due date for this...LATE AGAIN!!! Sorry.

  11. This was a wonderful cake for me to start the ABC! You're not kidding about it being light as air, way too easy to keep eating. Your process photos are great and they cake turned out just lovely.

    It's funny, I used a zester for my chocolate because the food processor creates a lot of dishes, but the processor would have been much quicker.

  12. Oh nice one!! So tall! Looks really lovely. I didn't make the sauce either but I think this cake is a perfect vehicle for a little something on the side.

  13. Hanna, First, thank you for the welcome to ABC. I will do a make up on this cake after reading your post. I think I will try lemon. I love it almost as much as chocolate. What a beautiful presentation and good tips. Thanks.

  14. la texture de ce gâteau doit être divine!!!
    bonne soirée

  15. This one was a good one, glad that you guys convince me to not pass it by. And totally going to try to make the sabayon into ice cream - Vicki mentioned that its totally doable...

    But, first pumpkin ice cream for next month!

  16. Hi Hanaa,
    I have been away for a while, but need to bake 3 cakes for a barbecue and decided to use my fancy molds. I remembered you had talked about cardamom and orange zest use in your whipped cream cake so I came over here to ask you. And here is this FAB cake! I can't wait to make it, but am making the simple cakes like poppyseed etc. It is very hot here. However, can you tell me what you used of cardamom and orange zest in the whipped cream cake? It sounds very mysterious.
    Thanks a lot. Love your new digs. Lovely colors.

  17. That cake looks fabulous!! I would have never thought of using a food processor. I also read your chocolate tomato cake post, it looks stunning. The slight spacing actually worked in your favor, it adds such a nice visual interest!

  18. @Baking Sorceress' Apprentice: for the whipped cream cake, I wouldn't use the cardamom and orange zest together in one cake. I would use one or the other, or make two cakes. For 1 recipe of Rose's whipped cream cake, I'd use 1.5 tsp of freshly ground cardamom seeds by removing them from their green pods first. A coffee grinder works perfectly for grinding up the seeds. For the orange zest, I'd use the zest of two large navel oranges (use your microplane grater for this). I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any other questions and how the cakes turn out. Have fun baking!

  19. WOW Hanna! What a beautiful cake!!! I love that you explain the recipe with a lot of pictures. It's great! And, I love the idea to use the food processor to grate the chocolate. It's really more fast :)

  20. Hanaa, I hope the last lecture was interesting and you are now relaxing. Thank you for your wonderful comments on my FFwD post. Loved the tart =).

  21. I made this cake about a month ago for a friend and stole a slice for myself. I highly recommend trying it with the Milk and Honey Sabayon. It was amazing how the sauce transformed the cake into something completely different then it was on its own, and on its own it is an amazing cake.


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