Today is the 20th of the month so it must be the Cake Slice Baker's time. This month's cake, winning by a narrow margin, was the Maple Pecan Chiffon Cake with Brown Butter Icing. Such a big mouthful for such a light cake. It is hard to believe that we only have a couple of cakes to go before we reveal our next book.
I am notorious for leaving the baking of my cake for the group to the last minute each month. It was all planned for me to have a relaxing baking day on Sunday, but that went out the window on Friday night when I found out that my youngest daughter had been asked to join a paddling crew on Sunday for the Duke's Ocean Fest. What we thought was going to be a morning race turned into an all-day event. And I may have been fried to a crisp in the process, which is so unlike me since I am usually so good about applying sunscreen. Regardless, it was a great day and her all-girl team certainly gave the boys and mixed teams a run for their money. And the cake did not get baked, only I did.
So Monday morning I got the girls off to school, went out for my usual five mile walk/run, and came back ready to get baking. I don't know what made me grab my carton of cream out of the fridge to check if it was ok (the expiry date was Sept 7), but I did and it was definitely not going in this recipe. So off I went to Costco again to replace it. This seems to be a recurring theme with my Cake Slice Baker's cakes at the moment. I really must try to kick that habit.
I have heard people say that chiffon cakes can be difficult and fussy, but I have never found this to be the case. This cake was very easy to put together and came out exactly as described. The instructions to place parchment paper on the bottom seemed a little strange to me but I was determined to follow the recipe as stated. I removed the middle tube, traced a circle and cut it out, then folded it in half and cut a semi-circle from the straight side to make it fit perfectly in the pan. The mixed cake seemed light and fluffy, and baked beautifully in the oven for exactly 50 minutes. Unfortunately my angel food cake pan does not have feet so I could not flip it upside down in the traditional way. Last time I made this type of cake I turned it upside down and stuck a wine bottle in the tube part to support it. Naturally I thought this would work again but I guess I don't have the same wine now and the bottle was too big. Now it was time to panic because I did not want the cake to sink. It was quite comical to see me running around the kitchen pulling out every bottle I had to see if it would fit. Thank goodness I finally found one. So learn from my mistake and, if you do not have a pan with feet, find a suitable bottle to use before the cake is in the pan.
The cake itself was quite good, with a nutty flavor and a light texture. The icing was another story. Whilst the flavor was quite good, the mixture kept looking like it was going to separate, especially when it was out on the counter. Nobody wants a cake that looks like it is melting off of the plate. Now in fairness it was a hot day here today, but I really wish I had just gone with a light glaze instead. I did cut the measurements for the icing in half since with a few of the previous cakes I had left-over frosting, and I did use all of this one. I am not sure if cutting it in half threw off the balance of ingredients, but the butter appeared to blend in and then once I iced the cake it look like it was separating. It did not make for very attractive photos, so sorry about that.
I can't wait to see all of the cakes from my fellow bakers. Please join me in visiting their blogs by clicking on the individual photos shown below. Also, don't forget that the Cake Slice Baker's have a Facebook page, where you not only get to see each months' creations, but also great tips and other treats that we have been baking.
Maple Pecan Chiffon Cake with Brown Butter Icing
Ingredients ~ Cake
- 2¼ cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 8 egg whites, at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup toasted finely chopped pecans
Ingredients ~ Brown Butter Icing
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- ½ cup heavy cream (plus a little more to thin icing as required)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- pinch of fine sea salt
Preparation ~ Cake
- Prepare an angel food cake pan with feet by lining the bottom with parchment paper, ungreased.
- Adjust a rack to the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325℉.
- In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the brown sugar and whisk the mixture by hand to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yolks, oil, maple syrup, water, and 1 tablespoon vanilla.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry mixture and briskly stir with a rubber spatula until just smooth. Do not overmix.
- In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.
- Turn the mixer down to medium speed and gradually add the granulated sugar in a steady stream. Kick the mixer up to high speed and whip until the whites just hold firm (not stiff!) glossy peaks.
- Fold a third of the whites into the batter using as few strokes as possible. Add the remaining whites, folding only until evenly incorporated. Lightly fold in the pecans during the last few strokes.
- Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top springs back when touched or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs attached, 50 to 55 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool upside down by inverting the cake pan onto its legs. To remove the cooled cake from the pan, slide a long thin knife or spatula along the sides to loosen and knock the pan sharply on a hard surface until the cake drops out.
- Frost the top and sides with brown butter icing. To cut the cake, use an angel food cake cutter or a serrated knife and a sawing (rather than a slicing) motion. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Preparation ~ Brown Butter Icing
- Put the confectioners' sugar in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Using a pan with a light-colored bottom will help you keep track of the color. Let the color of the butter darken from lemony to golden brown (swirl the pan occasionally to ensure even heating). Once the butter is dark brown and you begin to smell a nutty aroma, remove the pan from the heat.
- You can either pour the butter off carefully to leave behind the milk solids that have collected on the bottom of the pan, or you can keep and use the butter solids. Either way, pour the butter into the bowl containing the confectioners’ sugar and add the cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Whisk until smooth.
- As the butter cools, the icing will become firmer. If using the icing as a glaze, use it immediately. If you plan to use the icing as a frosting, allow it to cool to a good spreading consistency.
Recipe by Julie Richardson from Vintage Cakes.