(In which Mr. P comes over all glamorous.)
I have spoken at length about my love of chiffon cakes. Something I absolutely adore about them is that they are really, truly old fashioned. As well as being unheard of in the UK.
When you find a recipe for one in old American cook books (so I'm told - no old cook books here!), the cakes are often described as 'elegant'. Clearly, after the war, and rationing, for housewives to be considered elegant again when entertaining their dinner guests was a big deal. It explains why, along with the hefty clout of Betty Crocker and General Mills marketing powers, the chiffon rose to fame, before swiftly falling from grace some time later. (I've always loved a fallen angel.)
I do actually agree with those old recipe books. There is something very sophisticated about a real chiffon baked in a tube pan. The shape, the smooth sides and airy texture are all very 1950s trophy wife, very gingham print apron and heels.
Another reason I love them.
Today's lamingtons have taken inspiration from all this and are therefore my elegant, deconstructed lamingtons. They take the classic lamington make up of cake (flavoured with coconut and vanilla here), chocolate icing (sour cream ganache for me - not trad., but horrendously yummy) and coconut, but the composition is very different. It is chic. Beautiful without screaming 'look-at-me!!'. An instant classic.
At least that's what I think. How about you?
Use my adapted recipe for coconut vanilla chiffon if you make these; no tube pan required. I'm repeating the recipe below.
Deconstructed Chiffon Cake Lamingtons
You will need:
115g plain flour
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
60ml vegetable oil
5 egg whites
4 egg yolks
90ml coconut milk
40g dessicated coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
200g plain chocolate (not more than 60% cocoa solids, or it will be bitter)
100g sour cream (at room temperature!!)
a large handful of coconut chips
- Heat the oven to 160°C. Have ready a deep 23cm springform cake tin. Do not grease or line it. If you have a 'not nonstick' (for want of a better description) one, so much the better.
- In a large bowl, mix everything except for the eggs whites and cream of tartar together using a wire whisk, or wooden spoon. Beat everything well until you have a thick, smooth mixture. Obviously, 'everything' does not include the chocolate, sour cream or coconut chips; they are for garnish later.
- Beat the egg whites until foamy, then add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Fold this meringue into the coconut and flour mixture, and transfer to the cake tin.
- Bake for 35 minutes, until the cake is well risen and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Immediately invert the cake, till in its tin, on a wire rack and leave to cool. When it has completely cooled (give it a good hour or so), run a knife round the edge of the pan and un-clip the tin. Remove the base (you'll need to use your knife here too - chiffon cake sticks to the pan!), turn the cake the right way up and slice the cake into cubes. You can eat the cut off round edges as a baker's treat.
- Make the ganache just before serving. Melt and cool the chocolate and allow to cool slightly before stiring in the sour cream. Instant, delicious ganache. Yum.
- Top each cube with a generous spoonful of ganache and sprinkle with the sweetened coconut chips. Devour. Elegantly.