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Modestly Chocolate Chiffon Cake
6 eggs, graded “large” separated, plus 2 additional egg whites from eggs graded “large”
2-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, divided
3-1/2 tsp. baking powder
Large pinch of salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light vegetable oil, such as corn or safflower
2 tsp. vanilla
Grated zest 2 oranges AND 2 lemons
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely grated
At least an hour before you want to bake, remove eggs from the fridge. Separate them, placing the whites (including the two additional whites) into the large bowl of an electric mixer and the yolks into any small bowl. Cover both bowls lightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand until whites are at room temperature or very slightly warmer.
When ready to bake, adjust oven rack so it is one-third of the way up from the bottom of the oven. Assemble a two-piece, absolutely clean, 10 by 4 inch tall tube pan; do not grease or line the pan. Have ready a clean, empty, sturdy glass bottle with a relatively tall neck; an empty wine or liqueur bottle (750 ml size) will do just fine. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Into a large bowl, sift the flour, 3/4 cup of the sugar (reserve remainder), baking powder, and salt. All at once, add the water, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. With sturdy, hand-held mixer or whisk, beat at low speed to moisten dry ingredients, then increase speed to medium and beat until batter is smooth (batter will be on the thin side). With a spoon or spatula, stir in the citrus rind until evenly distributed. Set aside.
With whisk beater fitted to electric stand mixer, beat whites at high speed until foamy and slightly increased in volume. Sprinkle on cream of tartar. Beat in at low speed, then increase speed to high again and beat until traces of beater marks are visible in whites. Add reserved 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar in 6 additions, beating in each addition at low speed until incorporated, then returning speed to high for 10 to 15 seconds. Beat this meringue until it is just before stiff peak stage. Remove bowl from mixer.
Pour about one-sixth of yolk batter into meringue. Using a large spatula, fold in not too thoroughly. Continue to add egg yolk batter to meringue in about 5 more additions, folding each in not too thoroughly. With last addition of batter, add grated chocolate. Fold this mixture until all batter is incorporated into meringue (check the bottom of the bowl to be sure, as sometimes the yolk batter likes to hide down there) and chocolate flecks are evenly distributed. Pour into tube pan and gently and quickly spread level.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 52 minutes. Cake should rise slightly above edge of pan and may develop deep cracks in top surface; top will not brown deeply. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into center emerges with only a few moist crumbs still clinging to it; do not overbake. Remove to cooling rack.
Working quickly and WEARING POT HOLDERS, take a deep breath, then turn the cake upside down so that the neck of the sturdy bottle fits into the tube of the pan. Be sure not to press the bottom of the pan! The cake pan may be tilted on the neck of the bottle—OK. The top of the cake should be at least 10 inches or so off your work surface. Allow cake to cool undisturbed.
When cake is at room temperature, turn right side up, then very gently loosen from sides and tube of pan. Carefully push cake up through pan; the cake will emerge right side up and still attached to the tube portion of the pan. Gently loosen cake from bottom of tube portion, then turn upside down onto large serving plate. Cake may be served immediately or stored airtight at room temperature for up to three days (freeze for longer storage). To cut, use a large, very sharp, serrated knife and a sawing motion to cut cake into slices.
About 16 servings
© Stephanie Zonis, 2002