baking therapy: chocolate chiffon cake

I recently purchased the Tartine Bakery cookbook and it is wonderful! The recipes are well written and clear, the photos are beautiful and now I get to learn the secrets behind of the tasty delights from Tartine that I love so much!

For our second Thanksgiving dinner with Jordan’s parents, my parents and their neighbors, I spearheaded the dessert course armed with my new cookbook. There are so many wonderful things to choose from, but I decide to go with something relatively easy.

Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Vanilla Pastry Cream

I’ll briefly describe the recipe. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. In another bowl mix egg yolks, water, and oil. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. Add lemon juice and zest. Fold these three mixtures together and pour into a springform pan. Bake for about an hour in a 325 degree oven. Let cool and then unmold.

You’ll end up with a four inch tall, very impressive looking cake. I was pretty proud when that puppy came out of the oven … and didn’t collapse.

The pastry cream is like making any sort of custard. Whole milk, salt, eggs, sugar, vanilla bean, and cornstarch plus heat. Also fairly easy, but requires a great deal of attention. There is no going back from burnt milk or curdled eggs!

Conclusions: The cake was good – chocolatey, moist, of the appropriate density. The vanilla bean pastry cream might just be my new favorite accompaniment. I can’t really think of anything that wouldn’t be good with it! A sprinkling of fresh berries would have made this dessert outstanding. Next time!

-Emily