Thursday, October 29, 2009

Almond Shamah Chiffon

I'm late, and as I baked this one in the evening after work yesterday, the energy and brainpower to take lots of photos and notes were lacking. I have next to no experience with chiffon cakes, so the detailed instructions in Heavenly Cakes were welcome. I make a half recipe, using my two 6" x 2" cake pans--those are going to get a real workout during the bake-along as I try not to overload all my family and friends with cake.

All went well at first: toasting the almonds, grinding them with a little flour in the Cuisinart, beating the egg yolks and adding the nut & flour mixture to it, beating egg whites, and folding it all together. The cakes rose beautifully, and I took them out when a toothpick came out clean. I didn't notice the cakes starting to pull away from the pans, though, so perhaps what happened next was the result of a slight under-baking.

I ran my metal spatula around the pan pressing against the pan...I thought. But even as I did that, I could see that the cake was sticking to the spatula and that the delicate cake was almost ripping up. What emerged from the pan was pretty sad, with large gouges all around the edge. It happened on the second layer too, when I know I was careful about not pressing against the cake, so I conclude there was something else going on. Underbaking? Too much baking spray with flour in the pans? I don't know.


But you know, these things happen, and I moved the alcohol and whipped cream. <g>

Brushing the denuded layers with the Amaretto syrup went fairly smoothly, except for the layer that broke in half as I tried to turn it over. (The two pieces were easily shoved back together.) Then it was on to the whipped cream, flavored and sweetened with raspberry jam. Warned by other bloggers, I cut back a lot on the amount of jam, but still got comments from my taste-testers that it was too sweet. Rather than attempt frosting swirls, I put some dots of leftover raspberry jam around the top. That would have looked even nicer if I'd worked on getting the spacing more even...

My verdict: I like the cake, though it's not a style that's my favorite. It is just on the edge of being soggy--it's not, but the heavy application of syrup really does soak the cake, at least after it sat overnight and spread throughout the layers. The flavor is very delicate and nice, with the Amaretto predominating. Perhaps if I'd stuck with the full amount of jam the raspberry flavor might have been more prominant.

Comments from others:

the nephew: It's weird. But it's still really good.

older niece: Good.

my brother: Good, but the whipped cream is a little too much--a thinner coating would be better.

younger niece: she liked it, but agreed on the too much whipped cream comment.

sister-in-law, who's very sugar sensitive and severely limits her sweets: tried a bite, then served herself a small piece.

I did explain that the problems getting the cakes out of the pan led to some areas of the cake having really think whipped cream--it might still have been too much for some tastes, though.

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