Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hello again, failed chiffon

I had to stash away the idea of a batch of sugee cookies this week because I still have that tub of peanut cookies from last week lying around in the house. To help speed up consumption of my bakes, I'd better cook something which I can eat for breakfast, such as cakes or muffins.

I never had much luck, nor skills, with chiffon cakes. But I always love a challenge, and now with a new oven, I decided to give it a go. Pandan seems like the default flavour when chiffon comes to our mind, perhaps because of the famous Bengawan Solo pandan cake, so famous that I witnessed the Taiwanese and Hongkongers lugging boxes of these cakes at the airport.

The fragrance of the cake comes not only from the pandan leaves but also from coconut milk. But I'm never a fan of coconut milk and I'm already guilty of throwing away a 80% full carton of coconut milk 2 weeks ago. To save me the guilt, I decided to use a recipe which doesn't call for coconut milk, and only pandan juice. To make the pandan juice, I blended 10 pandan leaves in half a cup of water and strained the mixture. But the fragrance was too subtle. I should have bought pandan paste to add on.

I finally bought a bottle of cream of tartar for the egg whites. True enough, with cream of tartar, the egg whites were easier to whip. As with previous chiffon attempts, I stopped at the soft peak stage. I find it difficult to fold in stiff egg whites as there were lumps of stubborn whites in the batter. Or perhaps that was due to the absence of cream of tartar? Or perhaps because I stopped at soft peaks, the cake didn't turn out well? I wish I have an answer.

10 minutes into the baking time and a saw this large crack on the surface. And soon, the surface resembles the Grand Canyon.

As usual, the cake shrunk tremendously and the surface was hard, to my disappointment.

I can't seem to get the sides to brown nicely, whether it was my old oven or this new one. And like previous times, the bottom of the cake has a dense layer.

I had been craving for a chocolate muffin for days. Maybe because I had been watching Nigella Lawson's cooking show for the past 2 days and was reminded of my first bake: her chocolate chip muffins. Although I wasn't particularly happy with my first bake, I decided to give this recipe another go. The result looks nice, but didn't taste as good as I hoped for. It was chewy and dry. Maybe I had stirred it a little too long.


  1. spear i think its because your eggs white are either overbeaten or under beaten.. did you pull out your whisk from the beaten egg whites to test the stiffness?

  2. Hi Jess,
    Yeah, it's in soft peak stage. I know recipes say stiff peaks, but I find it hard to fold in stiff whites. There will be lumps of stubborn whites which refuse to blend it, or is it just me?
    What would you recommend? I love your orange chocolate marble chiffon. It looks so light and fluffy!

  3. spear beat it to the stiff peaks, i always use a hand whisk to blend the whites and yolks batter haha but take note not to over whisk, just fast and thorough strokes =) hope you will succeed in your next attempt!

  4. Hi,dun be discourage, practise make perfect. try Baking Mum's blog, her receipe for Pandan cake is good, her orange chiffon cake receipe is very good, sure success one. it had been tried and test by many first time baker, all succeeded. Cheers! Wish u success in your next attempt

  5. Thanks for your encouragement, Emily! I'm definitely going to try more chiffon cakes till I succeed. =)