Its pumpkin season y’all! Technically, it’s pumpkin season all year round for me because I love pumpkin. In like everything. Cookies, my oatmeal, cake, bread pudding, in savoury dishes (it’s really good as a side dish with brown rice!). Honestly, it’s just a very versatile ingredient to work with. This pumpkin chiffon cake uses the canned pumpkin you can get in stores. Nope, you don’t have to buy your own and steam it and cut it and mash it! Although that could probably work here too. Now incorporating pumpkin into a chiffon cake- let me backtrack. Incorporating anything into chiffon cake is going to be tough because there are so few ingredients that give the cake its synonymous texture and taste.
A bit more about chiffon cakes. This type of cake is not your average “butter, flour, sugar” cake that need be creamed or reverse creamed. Rather, its a light and airy sponge cake that literally melts in your mouth. Well, not exactly, but you get the point. It’s pillowy in texture and has an airiness to it that comes from the extensive beating of egg whites. This is my go-to choice of cake and when making birthday or other occasion cakes, I always use some kind of version of a chiffon cake.
Except this time I wanted to use the mini Kugelhopf mold purchased in Taiwan. For your information, the mold is about 7 inches in diameter at its widest and about 5 inches at the top. A cute little thing it is, too. It can fit about 5 cups of batter in it so I had to add 5 eggs instead of the usual 4 for my regular chiffon cake (which will be out on the blog soon, I promise!). It’s pretty difficult to achieve the texture of a chiffon cake when you are using flavors such as banana or pumpkin. The latter has an interesting texture and since regular chiffon cakes only need about 60g of smooth liquid, the thick pumpkin had to integrate itself into the recipe somehow. But it was up to me to decide just how to do that!
Pumpkin and chocolate go hand and hand and I find that sprinkling a touch of cocoa powder on top of the cake gave it a nice finishing touch. Let me know what you think of the combination! Chiffon cakes do take a bit of practice, but you’ll get it in no time with my instructions!
Tips & Tricks
- ***READ ME!: Separate your eggs right out of fridge. Otherwise, it will be hard to separate your yolks and whites.
- Make sure your mixing bowl is free of grease, liquid, or anything at that. Or else, the egg whites won’t mix properly.
- Only beat you egg whites just until stiff peaks are reached. If you tilt the bowl over and nothing comes out and there are stiff peaks coming from your whisk, the stage has been reached. If you go over or under, again, the texture will be very off.
- When making chiffon cakes, I always use the cooked flour method. What this is means is that I heat the oil until it is almost boiling, then add my flour. This method cooks the flour and makes the cake crumb tighter after baking.
- Chiffon cakes are naturally less sweet than your regular cake, so feel free to add more sugar (a few teaspoon deviations are fine); but do not add too much. This can mess with the rise of the cake in the oven
- Timing is important for this recipe. Do not under bake this! Or you will not achieve that chiffon cake texture. Also, since we use pumpkin here, the texture will naturally be a little different, anyways.
- Make sure you butter and flour your Kugelhopf pan. If you do not have this, a 7 or 8 inch (by 2.5 inch) round cake pan would work as well. I have tested it.
- This cake, as all other chiffon cakes should, is baked in a Bain Marie. Take another, larger pan and fill it 1-2 inches with boiling water. I just microwave tap water and pour it into this larger pan just before I put the cake into this pan and into the oven.
- 5 yolks, 5 whites
- 57g vegetable oil
- 110g cake flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp pumpkin spice powder
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp baking powder (optional, should not need this if eggs are whipped properly)
- 32g milk
- 50g pumpkin puree
- 60g white sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (to stabilize egg whites)
- 20g brown sugar
- butter or oil spray, to grease
- Pre heat your oven to 350 F.
- Grease and flour a 5 cup mold.
- Separate 5 large eggs (mine weigh 60g each).
- Place whites into clean mixing bowl and egg yolks into another.
- Heat up the vegetable oil on medium heat over the stove and when it starts to bubble a little, add all your sifted flour, spices, and baking powder.
- The mixture will have a weird texture, but this is normal. Add your egg yolks. Whisk vigorously while doing so that the yolks do not get cooked.
- Add the milk and pumpkin mixture. Add the brown sugar. The batter now should be at a “ribbon” stage. It should not drip off the whisk but should fall quite slowly back into the bowl when the whisk is lifted and should be quite viscous as well.
- Beat your egg whites on medium speed (4) until frothy. Add Cream of tartar. Continue beating until foamy. Add half of the white sugar. Continue beating for one more minute on 4 and add the rest of the sugar. Using your utmost instincts here, beat the egg whites until they are at a stiff peak stage. Here’s a video for reference. This is the most important stage but with practice, you will learn to see where a stiff peak stage lays in your mixing process.
- Pour into a greased and floured mold (5 cups in volume, I used a Kugelhopf mold). Tap a couple of times to rid air bubbles. Use a chopstick or skewer to go into the poured batter and rid any air bubbles.
- Bake in a Bain Marie at 350 F for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 318 F and bake for another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, lower the temperature to 285 F and bake for another 30 minutes.
- Take the cake out of the oven and out from the Bain Marie and tap 3 times on the counter to rid any unwanted hot air/steam inside the cake. This could potentially cause the chiffon cake to collapse.
- The chiffon cake will shrink a little and since there is no parchment paper to ease the unmolding process, we must wait for the cake to cool completely.
- Sprinkle some cocoa on top and enjoy!
-Emily xx (Happy Fall! I love the desserts of this season)