Fun with Flour #2
Continuation of Fun with Flour #1 (and cousin to Fun with Sourdough):
I started Fun with Flour while testing what I can do with my new flour, and Fun with Sourdough about baking with the new flour and wild yeast. but these threads are for everybody! Please post your own flour creations! Or even just flour dreams. I love flour.
I love cake. Just cake. I mean, frostings and fillings are okay, but I tend to eat the cake first, and then, if I want "dessert" I'll eat the goop. It's not that I dislike frosting, I just don't really want it in the same mouthful as cake. Moreover, I'm not a big fan of whipped cream and hate it when cream makes the cake soggy. And pastry cream (custard), which is delicious, deserves paté au choux (eclair, profiterole, et al.) or puff or tart. I don't think either the pastry cream or the cake enhance the other. OTOH, see the exception below.
It took all my willpower not to cut the cake at bedtime, when I depanned and covered it. I settled for scraping crumbs from the pan. It took great force of adultness to have a properly nutritious breakfast, ignoring the siren call of cake. I did it! And didn't even realize when I got up to put my dish in the sink rather than lingering. ... Until I realized I was alone with the cake and could now have a piece!
The object of affection, er., obsession, is an orange chiffon cake. Nothing special. I wanted to see how my Organic Unbleached Artisan Baker's Craft flour from General Milling (GM AC) would do in cake, and while I was at it, I figured why not make an egg rising cake where the weight of the flour would really show. I did the dip/level volume measure. No sifting. Just followed the recipe as written. Well, except that I only had two oranges and needed the juice of three. I just filled out my measuring cup with Simply Orange (OJ), and I didn't measure the zest, just used all I had.
Mind you, this ain't my first rodeo. I don't bake cakes often, because, if you hadn't noticed, I love cake. But I've made countless chiffon cakes starting in childhood. Orange is my favorite. :)
I didn't want to use one of my grandmother's plates for the cake, and realized that my mother's plate had too much shape to it after I put the cake on it (my plates have rims and aren't suitable for cakes). The gold tray was just the first big flat thing I put my hand on. The dome from the Wilton carrier fits perfectly. Eerily so. More perfectly than just standard measurements could explain.
Notice that the dome doesn't actually hide the cake!
A cake worthy of seeing its reflection in the tray. Ignore, please, the shaggy sides. That's normal. A chiffon cake has fat, but otherwise is like an angel food cake in that it needs to climb the pan. People trim them--a lot of people don't even like the flavor of the crust, poor things. I don't really care about pretty cake, and, really, some caramelization (i.e., toastiness) is very tasty, indeed. :D
So, the reward for eating a good breakfast was a generous slice of my lovely orange chiffon cake, with a small dollop of crème fraîche. Yes, it's true, I don't like whipped cream on cake, but sour cream on a chiffon cake is a different story. Not frosted on the cake making it soggy, but just as a little counterpoint. But I wasn't opening my sour cream for self-indulgence. OTOH, the crème fraîche was just lounging around the fridge for no good reason.
I was so pleasantly surprised! In the making, I was thinking the cake was going to be too heavy and too sweet. I don't actually love sugary cake, the kind where the sensation on your tongue is "sugar". This is just pleasantly sweet. (This is about flavor--this is white flour and white sugar, plus orange juice--have no illusions that this isn't a glucosefest.) The crumb is very spongy, as a sponge cake should be. There's no toughness from the stronger flour (11.5% protein) (this ain't my first rodeo!). It might have benefitted by sifting. It didn't suffer without it. I can tell the difference from Gold Medal bleached AP (10.5% protein), but that's looking for it. The basic sensation is, ummm, cake. Swansdown is another story. I have plenty enough Swansdown (cake flour), and for a light, flyaway cake, I would have used it. For a cake to cake AP comparison with Gold Medal, however, passing grade. It really is good cake. It doesn't need the cream. That's just for a bit of decadence--I mean, cake for breakfast deserves to go all the way.