This is a chocolate chiffon cake with an amazingly delicate texture. It evolved from one of my favorite cakes, The Renée Fleming Golden Chiffon. Inspired to make a chocolate version one day when walking along the Hudson River, I rushed home to try it at once. The fabulous caramel whipped cream, which has just a hint of chocolate, holds at room temperature for up to six hours.
Plan Ahead The cake can be made 1 day ahead before composing. Make the ganache at least 3 hours ahead.
|unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder|
|canola or safflower oil, at room temperature|
|whites (about 3)|
|pure vanilla extract||.||.|
|unbleached all-purpose flour (see Note)|
|fine sea salt||.|
|cream of tartar||.|
One 9 by 3 inch springform pan (the pan must not be less than 2¾ inches high), only the sides coated with shortening, encircled with 2 cake strips overlapped to cover the sides completely. Cut a 33 by 3 inch band of parchment. Wrap and press it against the inside wall of the pan. Use some extra shortening to coat the overlapping end to hold it in place (if the bottom of the springform pan has a lip, the parchment may extend about ¼ inch above the pan, which is fine) | A flat bottom rose nail (used for cake decorating) 2½ inches long (minimum) | A wire rack, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, elevated about 4 inches or higher above the work surface by setting it on top of 3 or 4 cans, coffee mugs, or glasses of equal height | Optional: a small pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch open star pastry tube
Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, mix the flour,
If you don’t have a second mixer bowl, scrape this mixture into a large bowl and thoroughly wash, rinse, and dry the mixer bowl and whisk beater to remove any trace of oil.
Sift the remaining sugar (
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Use the parchment to pour the remaining sugar in a steady stream into the meringue. Continue beating until glossy and stiff peaks form when the beater is raised, about 1 minute.
Using a large balloon wire whisk, slotted skimmer, or large silicone spatula, gently fold the meringue into the batter in three parts, folding until partially blended in between and then folding until completely incorporated after the last addition. If using the whisk, you will need to shake out the meringue that gathers in the center as you fold.
Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the pan. Run a small offset spatula in circles through the batter to prevent air pockets and smooth the surface. Insert the rose nail, base side down, into the center of the batter so that it sits on the bottom of the pan. (The batter should fill a
Let the cake sit on a heatproof counter or an uncoated wire rack for about 1 minute, just until the center is no longer domed. Immediately set the coated wire rack on top of the cake and invert the cake and rack onto the prepared supports. Let it cool for about 1½ hours, or until the outside of the pan is cool to the touch.
Remove the cake strips and the sides of the springform pan. The parchment will be wrinkled. Slide a thin bladed knife or long metal spatula between the cake and the bottom of the pan, pressing firmly against the bottom of the pan to release the bottom of the cake. If the bottom of the pan has a lip, first use a small offset spatula to go under the edges. Invert the cake and lift off the pan bottom. Remove the rose nail and reinvert the cake onto a serving plate. Use a damp sponge or dish towel to moisten the parchment. Wait for 1 minute and then carefully peel off the parchment strip.
Slide a few wide strips of parchment under the cake to keep the rim of the plate clean. Frost the sides with the ganache, bringing it up a little higher than the top to create a border to contain the caramel whipped cream. Alternatively, bring the ganache just to the top, scrape the remaining ganache into the pastry bag, and then pipe half shells around the edges to create a border.
Lightly whisk the caramel whipped cream to restore the smooth texture, and spoon dollops of it on top of the cake. Use a small metal spatula to create opulent swirls. The whipped cream will keep at cool room temperature for up to 6 hours. If desired, decorate with chocolate curls. Slowly slide the parchment strips out from under the cake before serving.
(Without the whipped cream) airtight: room temperature, 2 days; refrigerated, 5 days; frozen, 2 months.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.