The texture of this Blood Orange chiffon cake has to be seen or tasted to be believed. One of those rare cakes that improves with age, this is best made the day or two before so keep this recipe up your sleeve for when you're busy. Dear Reader, if you love light, ethereal cakes, this my loves is definitely a pushy recipe! I called her Rashida.
I have made chiffon cakes before but I have to say that this is possibly my favourite. It's the texture that really gets me. While it may look boring for those that love layered frosting laden cakes (and I count myself among you) the texture of this heavenly light cake can't be beaten. What I liked about it is that it wasn't dry at all.
Some sponge or chiffon cakes can be dry but this one isn't whatsoever. This also has the unique quality of keeping well for a few days. And perhaps it goes without saying but if you don't have blood oranges, this cake is superb with regular oranges or mandarins or any citrus fruit. I know that I'm somewhat obsessed with blood oranges at the moment and keep pumping out recipes but the season is short and they are so pretty so I can't help myself.
Speaking of obsessions, when I was in Thailand recently we rented a scooter to drive around the island of Koh Yao Noi. We would get off and explore the island whenever we came across something that took our interest and although I was technically on holidays, I loved it so much that I decided to write another blog post on it so I started taking photos and Instagramming interesting things. It's a little tricky balancing a phone and camera on the back of a scooter but we got it down to a routine.
Or so I thought.
We pulled up to a street market. The food smelled wonderful luring us to stop. I alighted the back of the scooter and took the backpack off me. I looked at the zip on the front pocket that held my phone and it was gaping open. And all the blood drained from my face. Now this island is one of the safest islands ever and I knew that I hadn't been pick pocketed. If anything I hadn't done the zipper up and my phone had fallen out.
I went into full meltdown mode. Mr NQN opened up all the other compartments (omg there so many zippers on a backpack!) and couldn't find it. And I thought of all the photos and videos that I had lost (I have so many they're not all backed up to the cloud) and everything was on my phone. I was close to tears. The street vendor near us looked on sympathetically-in the space of 2 minutes I had gone from smiling to inconsolable. Then I unzippped one last compartment that Mr NQN had looked at and there it was. My phone. I clutched it like it was a long lost child (yes I know, it's weird, it's just a phone but it's an extension of my life). And took it as a warning to never let it out of my sight ever again.
I know I'm way too reliant on it. And when we had a seven hour layover in Bangkok on the way home I realised that my battery was draining rapidly. I was on 35% and I needed power when I got home to order an Uber. So I put it in airplane mode. Which started a discussion with Mr NQN.
He kept playing with his phone getting closer and closer to draining his battery while I tried to save mine. His attitude was that if it dies, it dies whereas I would be beside myself if I didn't have this little lifeline available to me. And I will also be similarly sad when blood oranges go out of season!
So tell me Dear Reader, what would you do? Would you go on airplane mode or use your battery? Have you ever lost your phone? Are you reliant or obsessed with your phone? Are you as obsessed with blood orange as I seem to be?
Blood Orange Chiffon Cake
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
- 6 egg whites, at room temperature (make sure there is no yolk in the whites)
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 90g/3.2ozs. caster or superfine sugar
- 6 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 75g/2.7ozs. caster or superfine sugar
- 75ml/2.7flozs oil (flavourless like grapeseed or rice bran)
- 75ml/2.7flozs blood orange juice
- Finely grated zest of 2 blood oranges
- 120g/4ozs. cake flour*
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons blood orange juice
- 1.5 cups icing sugar, sifted
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 170C/340F and have a 23cm/9inch chiffon cake tin ready (must not be a non stick tin). It's important that the whisk and bowl are very clean.
Step 2 - Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until you get soft peaks. Add the 90g/3.2ozs of sugar in a stream and whisk until firm peaks form. Scoop out and set aside in another bowl. Using the same bowl (mainly because I can't be bothered washing it) whisk the egg yolks and second lot of sugar for 3 minutes. Add the oil and whisk until combined. Then add the juice and zest and whisk until smooth.
Step 3 - Fold in the flour until combined and add in a third of the egg whites incorporating the whites well and then adding the remainder of whites in two lots. Spoon into the baking tin leaving about 2cm or 3/4 an inch gap from the top. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cool completely in the tin.
Step 4 - Use a palette knife gently ease the cake from the tin. Place on a serving plate. Mix the icing sugar and juice together-start with 2 tablespoons of juice and make it thick enough to drip. Top with blood orange slices and cherry blossoms-I oven dried some just to preserve them (see this post on how to oven dry oranges).