Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Rosie Makes A Birthday Cake For Mr. Hawthorne.

It's Mr. Hawthorne's birthday and I'm making him a cake,
specifically a Ricciarelli Chiffon Cake.
Everybody gets to pick out their own cake
for their birthday.
First, he was considering
 the Angel Food Cake with Tropical Fruit Compote
which he saw Anne Burrell make the other day on Food Network.
When I mentioned it required 12 egg whites,
neither one of us wanted 12 leftover egg yolks,
so he told me to pick out a cake and surprise him.
 I picked out Ricciarelli Chiffon Cake.
It uses 8 egg whites and 5 yolks
and I can deal with 3 yolks leftover.

Ricciarelli are Italian almond paste cookies
and I just so happen to have a can of almond paste in my pantry.
After reading the recipe for ricciarelli,
I must try these.
Perhaps another addition to my Christmas Rosiethon.

 Ricciarelli Chiffon Cake
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
8 oz almond paste
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
8 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar

Heat oven to 350°.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt.
The directions said to "cream" the almond paste.
Almond paste, by itself, does not cream.
It crumbles.
Beat in the yolks, one at a time.
Then beat in 1/2 cup sugar, the oil, water, and extracts.
Cream until smooth.
Set aside.
Whip egg whites until foamy,
then add 1/2 cup sugar and whip until they form stiff peaks.
Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture over the whites and fold in gently.
Repeat two more times with remaining flour.
Gently, but quickly, fold 1/3 of the egg white mixture 
into the almond paste mixture.
Repeat 2 more times.
Pour batter into an ungreased tube pan.
Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Invert the pan over the neck of a bottle or mug or bowl to cool.

The reason for the ungreased pan
is that you need the cake to stick to the pan
so that it doesn't fall out when you cool it upside down.
The reason you cool it upside down
is to minimize sinkage and maximize poof.
Whenever you separate eggs,
never get a speck of yolk in your whites.
Yolks are fat and fat keeps egg whites from whipping up properly.
And I wouldn't recommend
whipping egg whites when it's raining.
Egg whites don't like humidity.
 This is almond paste.
 I've never used it before.
You can easily make your own if you like.
 As I said, the almond paste does not cream by itself.

 Last egg going in.
Keep beating and scraping sides and bottom
until completely smooth.

 Mix in 1/2 cup sugar, scraping.

 Oil in.

See how smooth the batter is?
That's what you want.

 Almond extract.

  On the left is the almond batter.
In the middle is the flour, baking powder, and salt mixture.
On the right, I'm beating the whites.
  When soft peaks form in the whites,
gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar,
until stiff peaks form.

A soft peak droops over like soft ice cream.
A stiff peak is erect.

 In three batches,
gently fold  the sifted flour mixture into the whites.

 Add the whites, again in three additions, to the almond batter.

Houston, I think we have a problem.
The recipe said to beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
I think this is too stiff.
I believe I should have stopped beating at soft peaks.
 Gently, but quickly, fold in the whites.
Pour into tube pan.
Tap a few times to release any air bubbles.

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes,
until toothpick comes out clean.
The house smells amazing.

 Here it is right out of the oven.
 Balance on top of a bowl
and cool completely.


Invert it off the tube pan.

And right side up.

 Dust with powdered sugar.

  Happy Birthday, Mr. Hawthorne!

That's a little chocolate roll next to the slice of cake.
I melted about 4 ounces bittersweet
and 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
with a tablespoon of Crisco,
and then spread the chocolate thinly on a sheet pan.
Put it in the freezer for a few minutes.
When it's workable,
just shave the chocolate into rolls with a thin cookie spatula.

Love the almond flavor.
and the cake was extremely moist.
It was not as "chiffoney" as I would have liked,
but like I said, I don't think I should have whupped to stiff peaks.
A softer peak would have been better I think.

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