Until about ten years ago, I didn’t realize what a great baker my mother was. It’s extraordinary when you discover a genetic connection you never knew existed until it’s revealed by means of a mutual talent and nostalgia.
One good memory was the scent of something baking in the oven.
I remember leaning, arms crossed in front of me, being magnetically adhered to the counter across from the stove with the oven light on, peering in; waiting for my mother’s beautifully crafted creation to arrive on my plate accompanied by a tall glass of milk.
In those days, I’d always open the oven door to check on the cake. When it slammed shut, I’d hear my mother’s footsteps immediately coming down the hall and she’d be yelling, “Don’t open the oven door, or the cake will drop!”
Now, I know that just a few seconds with the door open will dramatically drop the oven temperature and potentially ruin a great cake. Looking back, I’m pretty sure I ruined 3 or 4 (maybe more) of my mother’s cakes. Fast forward, and I’m the one chastising oven-openers. I’ve become aware, first hand, how much time, effort, cost, and love go into making a beautiful cake for all to enjoy.
If my mother was still here today, I’d call her up and say I’m sorry…
What you will need to bake a beautiful cake for people you love:
- ½ Cup Hershey’s Cocoa
- ¼ Cup hot water
- 1-½ Cup + 3 Tablespoons of Granulated sugar, divided
- ½ Cup + 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil, divided
- 2-¼ Cups Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- ¾ Cup Cold Water
- 7 egg Yolks
- 1 Cup of egg whites (about 8 eggs)
- ½ Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- ½ Tablespoon freshly grated orange peel
- Preheat the oven to 325°
- Mix hot water and cocoa in a medium bowl. Stir in 3 Tablespoons of sugar and 2 Tablespoons of oil and set aside
- In a separate bowl, stir together flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cold water, remaining ½ cup of oil and egg yolks and mix with a spoon until smooth
- In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed in mixer until stiff peaks form
- Pour egg yolk mixture in a thin stream over egg white mixture, gently folding just until blended
- Remove 2 Cups of this batter and add to the chocolate mixture. Gently mix until well blended.
- Add orange peel into remaining batter
- Spoon half the orange batter into un-greased 10-inch tube
- Drop half the chocolate batter on top by spoonfuls. Repeat layers of orange and chocolate batter. Gently swirl with a knife for marbled effect
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes
- Cool completely
- Drizzle orange “Glaze-of-Glory” (see recipe below) over the top of cake
What you will need to prepare the Orange “Glaze-of-Glory”:
- ⅓ cup butter
- 2 Cups powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons orange juice
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
- Melt butter in a saucepan over low heat.
- Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar, orange juice and orange peel. Blend until smooth.
Tips from the New England Innkeeper:
If the egg whites are over beaten, you will see it becoming foamy and some liquid collected at the bottom of the bowl. There is no way to salvage this. You have to discard and try again. The correct texture of the egg whites at stiff peak has a glossy look, it does not swirl about in the bowl.
In 1927,Harry Baker, (what a fitting name), is said to have invented the original chiffon cake. As word spread of this wonderful airy cake, he was continually asked for the recipe. But for two decades he carefully guarded his secret recipe, making his special cake only for the reigning royalty of the silver screen. Baker sold the cake to Hollywood stars and made it for the famous Brown Derby Restaurant.
The secret to Baker’s light and airy chiffon cake is that the egg whites are beaten separately from the yolks, and it uses vegetable oil instead of butter or conventional shortening.