Fluffy, moist and gorgeously high, this Honey Chiffon Cake is as impressive as it is delicious.
I believe that if something wants to live in my kitchen, it had better be able to multipurpose itself. Like Alton Brown says, the only single purpose item in my kitchen is my fire extinguisher, and, thankfully, that’s one tool I’ve never had to use (knock on wood).
Everything else, however, is fair game. I don’t need one of those weird, ground beef smusher thingys that have started popping up all over the place because I have a potato masher that works very well instead and it can also be used to mash potatoes, sweet or otherwise.
Then there’s my angel food cake pan. Sure, I’ll use it to bake up a bundt or pound cake in a heart beat, but it looked long and hard for that pan so I protect it dearly.
You see, my pan is one of the old ones. I don’t know how old it is because I picked it up at a thrift store. What I do know about it is that it’s aluminum and doesn’t have a molecule of non-stick coating on it.
While I do hold strongly that avoiding non-stick pans is a good thing due to the problems with Perfluorinated compounds, in this case, it’s important to avoid them when making a chiffon or angel food cake because the batter needs a chance to ‘crawl’ up the side of the pan as it rises.
If a non-stick pan is used, the cake has nothing to hold on to, so it’ll drop and end up a flat, heavy mess. So, go ahead and hit the thrift stores, yard sales, eBay and Craig’s List. Find yourself a good, aluminum angel food cake pan. Then protect it with your life.
And make this cake.
This recipe is pulled from a cookbook called The Feast Goes On, which was created by six women in a cooking club in Sydney. The cookbook is a compilation of traditional Jewish family heirloom recipes gathered from cooks all over Australia.
In all honesty, I think any chiffon or angel food cake is a tough one for a beginner baker to try because there are so many factors that can keep the cake from rising. In addition to the whole aluminium pan thing, there’s also the amount of egg white beating (they have to reach stiff peaks), vibration factor (I’ve let my oven slam shut by mistake and seen the whole cake deflate), etc.
That being said, this is a fantastic recipe for someone who’s had some baking experience and is looking for a good honey cake. As long as the egg whites are beaten well and a good pan is used, the cake will turn out perfectly if the instructions are followed.
As far as differences in what the directions say and what happened in my kitchen, even though I was told to bake my cake for 45-50 minutes, mine took 55 before the toothpick came out clean. Additionally, the amount of lemon glaze didn’t do a very good job of covering my cake so I made another batch. So, what you see on my cake is a double recipe of lemon glaze.
If you’re the kind of person that likes to hold the plastic bear over your mouth and just squeeze the honey in, this is the cake for you. I am that kind of person and I love this cake. I also loved the lemon glaze. It did a perfect job of pulling the cake back from the brink of being too sweet, giving a perfect balance sweet and tangy. It was delicious.
Hubby and Sophie were a yin/yang complement to each other. He enjoyed the glaze more than the cake (too much honey flavor for him) and she thought the glaze was okay as long as it was surrounded by plenty of cake, but didn’t think much of it on its own. Either way, we all wolfed down our slices.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
I’d double the glaze recipe.
- ¾ cup honey
- ½ cup strong black tea, warm
- 1½ cups self-rising flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs, separated
- ¾ cup light olive oil
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, stir together the honey and tea; let cool. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking soda. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer at medium-high speed, beat half of the granulated sugar with the egg yolks until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, beating until thickened, then beat in the honey-tea mixture and the dry ingredients in alternating batches.
- In another medium bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. While beating, gradually add the remaining granulated sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter until no streaks of white remain. Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch angel food cake pan. Smooth the top and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is dark golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Immediately invert the cake pan onto a wire rack and let the cake cool completely.
- Meanwhile, stir the confectioners’ sugar with the lemon juice, adding 1 teaspoon at a time, to form a thick glaze. Once the cake has cooled, run a thin knife around the edge to release it from the pan. Lift out the cake by the central tube. Run a knife between the bottom of the cake and the pan, then transfer the cake to a serving plate. Drizzle with the lemon glaze and serve.
I was a little surprised at the beautiful caramel color that the honey gave the cake when I cut into it, which is why I include a photo of the cut cake. If you make it, it’s good to know that that’s what it’s supposed to look like.