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Monday, October 26, 2009

HCB: Almond Shamah Chiffon





This cake is pretty easy to make. Sure, there are a lot of steps, but it's not that hard. First you have to blanch the almonds, then toast them. Wait until they cool and then grind them (I love my food processor). Mix the ground almonds with the dry ingredients.

Then, whip the yolks for 5 minutes until thick and ribbony (it takes 9 yolks to get the prescribed weight), add to it oil, water, almond extract, and vanilla extract - beat again to mix everything together. Then sprinkle the dry ingredients mixture on top. Since I only have 1 mixer bowl and 1 whip, I have to wash and dry them really well before proceeding to whip the egg whites (I don't like to do this).

Next, whip the egg whites. Pretty standard steps, whip on low until foamy, add cream of tartar, whip until soft peaks, then gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form. I have to say that cream of tartar does help stabilize the egg whites - can't tell you how many times I "broke" whipped egg whites in the past (easy to do in high altitude) and have to start over. Doesn't seem to have this problem now with cream of tartar in the mix!

After the egg whites achieved stiff peak, mix 1/3 of it into the flour/almond/egg yolks mixture until incorporated (this is called "sacrifice" in chef terms). Then fold in the remaining egg whites in 2 addition. I use a big spatula and my arm got tired at the end since it's a heavy batter. Then divide the batter into 2 pans (I actually weigh them to make sure I distribute them evenly). Into the oven it goes.

The cake smells so good coming out of the oven. I let it cool. Then using a serrated knife, trim off the top of the cakes. Apply the syrup (water and sugar boiled, cool to room temperature, and combined with amaretto disarono liquor). Since the cake become really fragile after being syruped, I syrup the bottom layer first, then proceeded to make the raspberry jam whipped cream before I continue with the syruping. I did this because I want to apply the whipped cream between the layers - so I don't have to move the cake after syruping.

For the whipped cream, I bought raspberry preserve and it has seeds on them. So I push the whole thing through a strainer to get rid of the seeds. I was hesitating about this, I though it was gonna be a pain to do, but it's actually not bad (can you tell that I'm in a baking mood, all these steps and I was still a cheerful bird!). I whip the cream in the pre-chilled mixer bowl & whisks - slowly increasing the speed until it's stiff peak, then incorporate the strained raspberry preserve. The result is this creamy heavenly raspberry whipped cream with a hint of pink color.

Continuing on with the recipe, I put a huge dollop of the cream between the layers, syruped the top layer of the cake, then apply the rest of the cream all over the cake. I started off using an offset spatula, this works pretty well for the top of the cake. For the sides, I use the bench scraper. It is sooooo much easier using bench scraper (whoever invented bench scraper should get some sort of award, if that person hasn't already!).

Now full disclosure: I was going to skip this week's cake selection. I'm not sure I like chiffon and this cake sounded too plain. Again, I was wrong. This cake is so moist and so yummy. I think I am changing my opinion on white cakes!

Lesson to be learnt: NEVER doubt Rose, if the recipe is lucky enough to make it to her book, it must be worth it, and this cake is anything but!!!

8 comments:

  1. That's how I did the syruping/icing step too. It didn't seem to be following the recipe exactly, but I didn't want the layers to get too wet that I'd have a hard time moving them. I love your almond heart!

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  2. Hi Jenn! Yes, the cake is delicious! Your cake is lovely! I love your almond heart too! How did you whip your cream so stiff and smooth!

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  3. Thanks Faithy! I basically followed Rose's instructions exactly. Do you have stand mixer?

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  4. Love the presentation...very "zen".

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  5. Great job on this cake. I am so sorry I didn't have the time to make it this week (had a big wedding cake to do and ran out of time).
    About the macarons, I think you may have overbaked them if they are crunchy throughout. They should be crunchy on the outside and chewey in the middle. Try them again and bake them a little less.

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  6. Very nice presentation! You make it sound so easy.

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  7. Great job Jenn... I love how you decorated your cake! Great write-up too!!

    I was super busy this weekend so decided at the last minutes not to make this cake, but now that I've had a chance to read everyone's comments, I decided to go ahead and make it late. My layers are cooling now... I'll blog about it a day or two.

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