Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Un-Birthday Cake Part 1

Target fixation.

It's this thing that causes you to take a million photos without a memory card in, and create beautiful, detailed garments and delicious cakes. It's a blessing and a curse, a double-edged sword.

Anyways, in my Mom's words: "Chiffon cakes are tricky."

I disagree. This recipe for Lemon Chiffon cake seemed straightforward, and with an eye to my back I began to measure flour, and whip egg whites.

As usual my mind wandered, of course, but this time I made myself stay on topic; to truly focus on what I was doing.

Why this unusual change in outlook? Well, for one, I'm on my best behavior. My aunt's new un-boyfriend is coming tomorrow for our un-birthday breakfast for my Uncle M---. He's turning some anciently old number, and didn't want an actual birthday party, but he wanted a cake. I wanted to make my best for his birthday, and I wanted to sweeten the shock of our crazy family for poor W-----, my aunt's un-boyfriend.

But I'd be lying if I said this was the only reason for my extra tunnel-vision. A quarter of this cake is going to M---'s family after the movie tomorrow and I want to make a good pre-impression on them. Just think of it as rolling out the welcome mat before I jump off a cliff.

Goodness, am I that cynical? I'm sure meeting his family won't be like jumping off a cliff, for god's sake. I'm sure they're nice, normal people who brush their teeth and take showers! They can't be heathens. They can't live in a cave, right?

Back to the cynicism. Gosh I'm feeling dark today! They've obviously done a great job raising Ma-- and his fraternal twin brother Mi---. The name thing is confusing enough, plus they both have identical curly red hair and freckles all over their faces. They're both about the same height, just Ma-- has terrible posture, while Mi--- sits up straight; making Ma-- appear much shorter than his twin.

And I digress. Back to the cake.

This recipe was another great find on, so check out her version. I doubled it to fit a standard 14'' tube pan, but hers was originally adapted for a 7'' pan.

Also, props to my darling sister and her sensitive nose (mine's stuffed to heck right now) for detecting my cake's doneness.

Without further ado...

Un-Birthday Lemon Chiffon Cake
Adapted from 17 and Baking, which was adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar, divided
6 large eggs, separated and at room temperature
1/2 cup. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
4 tbsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp. cream of tarter

Preheat oven to 325.

In a medium bowl sift together cake flour, baking soda, salt and 1 1/2 c. sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk the 6 egg yolks, vegetable oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla and water. Whisk in the dry ingredients.

In an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tarter and continue to beat at high speed until soft peaks form, approximately 1 minute. Add the 2 tbsp. sugar and beat approximately another 3 minutes until stiff peaks form.

Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the batter, and whisk to combine. Add the remaining 2/3 of the egg whites and fold with a rubber spatula until combined. Pour into an un-greased 14'' tube pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown on the top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.


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