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Strawberries & cream miniature chiffon cake

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Ingredients

Instructions

  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom of the tin cans or the cake tin with parchment paper rounds, unless you have a 6-inch tin with a removable bottom (see Notes). In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, 6 tbsp sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the yolks, oil, milk, vanilla, and almond extract until pale yellow. Set aside.
  2. Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a small bowl. Using an electric beater, beat the egg whites on medium-high speed until they reach soft peaks. With the beater still running, gradually add the one remaining tablespoon of sugar and continue to whip the whites until firm and glossy.
  3. Give the yolk mixture another few whisks to emulsify it, then add it to the cake flour mixture and whisk until just smooth, 20-30 seconds. Very gently fold the egg whites into the mixture in batches, adding the next batch before the first has been fully incorporated to avoid overmixing. With the last addition, fold until just incorporated.
  4. Pour the batter into the two tin cans, filling each about halfway. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes, then increase the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 5-10 more minutes, for a total of 40-45 minutes. When done, the cake should be dark golden brown on top and should bounce back when pressed. (Note: The smaller tin can might finish baking a few minutes earlier than the large one — simply remove quickly from the oven and let the larger can finish baking.)
  5. Invert the tins and let the cakes cool upside down for about 30 minutes to an hour. Remove the cake by running a knife around the tin, angling the knife towards the tin to try and get the full crust on the cake.
  6. For the strawberries: Meanwhile, combine the strawberries and sugar in a bowl and let sit in the refrigerator to macerate for at least 30 minutes. Strawberries will release syrup and turn a brighter red.
  7. When cake is fully cool, torte them into layers and set aside while you prepare the whipped cream.
  8. For the whipped cream: In a small bowl, combine gelatin and cold water and let stand until thick, about 5 minutes. Microwave in 5-second increments or heat over a water bath until gelatin dissolves. This will only take about 10 seconds total in the microwave.
  9. Remove from heat and let it cool briefly, 2-3 minutes, until just warm but not set. Pour one tablespoon of room temperature cream into the gelatin mixture, whisking continuously, to temper the gelatin and avoid lumps.
  10. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream to soft peaks. Reduce the speed to low, add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until incorporated. Keeping the mixer on low, add the gelatin in a slow stream to the whipping cream, beating continuously. Return the mixer to high speed and beat until stiff peaks form. Note that this whipped cream will need to be used within 20 or so minutes of beating — because it’s stabilized, it tends to become more difficult to spread after that.
  11. Frost cake as desired (I used Sara Tso from Matchbox Kitchen’s excellent naked cake tutorial here) and enjoy immediately, as naked cakes have a tendency to dry out a bit quicker. (I did find that these froze pretty well, frosting and all, though!)

Notes

Be sure to separate the eggs carefully; even a small amount of yolk in the whites will prevent them from beating up properly.

Using parchment to line the tin cans will cause the bottom to sink slightly when you invert the cakes to cool. I thought it was negligible for the tin cans, especially when compared to how hard it was to get the cakes out without the liners, but it may be more noticeable for a 6-inch tin, in which case it might be better to use a tin with a removable bottom.

In the several trials I did for this cake, the leavener proved to be the hardest for me to get right. I was looking for a very close crumb and ended up with one that was still slightly more open than I was aiming for. If you don’t mind this and want a tall cake, keep it at 1/4 tsp baking powder as written. If you’d like a tighter crumb, decrease to 1/8 tsp baking powder.