January 10, 2011

Tangerine Chiffon Cake

6 eggs, separated
2 1/4 cups flour*
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup tangerine juice
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 2 tangerines

Preheat the oven to 325. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, 1 1/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the egg yolks, oil, tangerine juice and zest. Beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter using a spatula.

Pour the batter into the ungreased tube pan and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Immediately invert the pan onto a bottle cake-side down over a rack or baking sheet. Let the cake cool completely. Run a thin knife or spreader along the edges of the pan on all sides to release the cake.

If desired, drizzle with a glaze of confectioners sugar whisked together with tangerine juice.

*Look for a fine flour like White Lily for best results.

My thoughts:
I love tangerines this time of year! They really are at their juicy peak. Normally I am a chocolate or vanilla person when it comes to dessert but I can make an exception for this brightly flavored cake.

Chiffon cakes are sort of old fashioned and I've found many people are not familiar with them. It is a shame because they have a wonderfully light texture without the "chew" of angel food or being spongy. The secret is in folding in the egg whites (easier than it sounds, I promise) and using oil instead of butter. They are especially well suited to citrus pairings because the juice provides a lot of flavor which helps compensate for the lack of buttery richness. Because of the oil, the cakes stay remarkably fresh for several days unrefrigerated or a few months if frozen.