Friday, April 4, 2008

Chocolate Orange Marble Chiffon Cake (COMCC).

I must have been browsing the internet one day looking at recipes, and I came across this one. You can find it here. I guess when I find a recipe that goes over well, I put it in my repertoire, and I keep making it. It think this was maybe the fifth time I've made this one. I can remember for the life of me the first time I made it or why. And it certainly has gotten easier to make since the first time.

My mom is in town for her annual Collegium Esculapian conference, and she brought with her a suitcase of oranges. It was also her birthday last week, so I thought it would be a good cake to make. And, I told my roommate that I would make it again some time because there wasn't any left over when I made it my sister's birthday.

Now, the last time I made this cake, my roommate asked why it was called chiffon cake. Here is the run down on different cakes and tortes.

Chiffon cake is a very light cake made with vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and flavorings. Unlike butter, the traditional fat used in cake making, it is difficult to beat air into oil, so chiffon cakes, like angel cakes and other foam cakes, achieve a fluffy texture by beating egg whites until stiff, and folding them into the cake batter before baking. The high oil and egg content creates a very moist cake, and as oil is liquid even at cooler temperatures, chiffon cakes do not tend to harden or dry out as traditional butter cakes might. This makes them much better-suited than many cakes to filling or frosting with ingredients that need to be refrigerated or frozen, such as pastry cream or ice cream. Chiffon cakes also tend to be lower in saturated fat than butter cakes, making them potentially more healthy than their butter-heavy counterparts. The lack of butter, however, means that chiffon cakes lack much of the rich flavor of butter cakes, and they are hence typically served accompanied with flavorful sauces or other accompaniments, such as chocolate or fruit fillings.

Angel Food Cake is similar to the chiffon cake but contains no oil, butter, or other fatty ingredient.

A basic sponge cake is made by beating the eggs with sugar until they are light and creamy, then carefully sieving and folding in the flour (depending on the recipe, the flour may be mixed with a small amount of baking powder, though some recipes use only the air incorporated into the egg mixture, relying on the denaturing of the egg proteins and the thermal expansion of the air to provide leavening). Sometimes, the yolks are beaten with the sugar first while the whites are beaten separately to a meringue-like foam, to be gently folded in later. The mixture is then poured into the chosen cake tin and baked. As can be seen, both methods take great care to incorporate air in the beating, whisking and sieving stages. This makes a very light product, but it is easy to lose the air by removing the cake before it has finished in the oven.
     Before the mixture has cooled, after cooking, it is still flexible. This allows the creation of rolled cakes such as the Swiss roll, or the Bûche de Noël. This basic recipe is also used for many treats and puddings, such as madeleines, ladyfingers and trifles, as well as some versions of strawberry shortcake. In addition, the sponge cake technique is used in angel food cake (where only egg whites are used) and some recipes for Belgian waffles (where the egg whites are separated from the yolk and folded into the batter at the end of preparation).

Butter cake is a cake in which one of the main ingredients is butter. These cakes are considered one of the quintessential cakes in American baking. They find their origins in the English pound cake, which traditionally used equal parts of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs to produce a heavy, rich cake. The invention of baking powder and other chemical leavening agents during the 19th century substantially increased the flexibility of this traditional pound cake by introducing the possibility of creating lighter, fluffier cakes using these traditional combinations of ingredients, and it is this transformation that brought about the modern butter cake.
     Butter cakes are traditionally made using a creaming method, in which the butter and sugar are first beaten until fluffy to incorporate air into the butter. Eggs are then added gradually, creating an emulsion, followed by alternating portions of wet and dry ingredients. Butter cakes are often considered to be unsurpassed in their richness and moistness when stored at room temperature, but they tend to stiffen, dry out, and lose flavor when refrigerated, making them unsuitable for filling or frosting in advance with ingredients that must be refrigerated, such as cream cheese frosting and pastry cream.

Tortes contain very few ingredients; unsalted butter, chocolate, eggs, and sugar. There is a large proportion of eggs that provide the leavening. It is a type of European-style cake that contains little or no flour, although sometimes containing ground nuts or breadcrumbs.

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