Earl Grey Chiffon Cake
Prep 30min (+2hr cooling and overnight chilling time)Bake 45-50minMakes 8-10 serves
Created by Make Me a Baker student Jenny Wong for her graduation, this gorgeous cake is 'tea time' in a cake bringing together orange-scented chiffon cake and the subtle floral notes of French Earl Grey tea. And to make it complete, it's served with an Earl Grey tea-infused whipped cream and, of course a cup of freshly brewed French Earl Grey tea.
You will need a 21cm (base measurement) specialty angel food cake tin (basically a deep ring tin with a removable base and small 'feet' around the top rim) to make this recipe and they are available from specialty kitchenware stores. The key to achieving the classic feather-like texture of a chiffon cake is to make sure you leave it suspended in the inverted tin until cooled completely so that it doesn’t compress as it cools.
- 6 x T2 French Earl Grey tea bags
- 160ml ( ⅔ cup) boiling water
- 185g (1¼ cups) self-raising flour
- 30g (¼ cup) cornflour
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 x 59g eggs, at room temperature, separated
- 200g caster sugar, plus 110g (½ cup) extra
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract
- 100ml vegetable oil
- Icing sugar, to dust
- Dried edible flowers, to decorate (optional) (see Baker's Tips)
Earl Grey Whipped Cream
- 125ml (½ cup) full-cream milk
- 4 x T2 French Earl Grey tea bags
- 300ml thickened cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons finely grated orange zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons natural vanilla essence or extract
- To make the Earl Grey Whipped Cream, place the milk and tea bags in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot but not boiling. Remove form the heat and allow to cool. Transfer to a container or bowl, cover and place in the fridge to chill (preferably overnight).
- Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Place an ungreased 21cm (base measurement) angel food cake tin on an oven tray.
- Place the tea bags in a jug, pour the boiling water over and set aside to infuse until the water is warm.
- Sift the flour, cornflour, cream of tartar and salt onto a piece of baking paper twice.
- Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to whisk the egg yolks and 200g caster sugar on high speed until thick and pale. Whisk in the orange zest and vanilla.
- Squeeze the tea bags to extract as much flavour as possible into the warm tea-infused water and measure 125ml ( ½ cup) - it should be dark in colour and very fragrant.
- Combine the warm tea and oil. Add the oil mixture to the egg mixture and whisk on low speed until well combined, scraping the side and the base of the bowl if necessary. With the motor running on low speed, add the flour mixture all at once and whisk gently until just combined. Transfer the mixture to a separate large bowl and set aside. Clean and dry the whisk and mixing bowl.
- Use the electric mixer with the whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 110g caster sugar and whisk until thick and glossy and the sugar has dissolved. Add about a third of the egg whites to the yolk mixture and use a large metal spoon or spatula to fold through until well combined. Add the remaining egg white mixture and fold until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into the ungreased tin and gently smooth the surface with the back of a metal spoon. Bake in the lower third of the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until well risen, golden, and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Immediately turn the cake upside down on a wire rack and set aside, still in the tin so it is suspended, for 2 hours or until it is completely cool – don’t be tempted to remove it while still warm (see Baker's Tips).
- To finish the Earl Grey Whipped Cream, squeeze the tea bags to extract as much flavour as possible and then measure 60ml (1/4 cup) of the milk – it should be a pale Masala Chai colour and very fragrant. Use a balloon whisk the cream in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Add the orange zest and vanilla and then whisk in the chilled Earl Grey-infused milk until soft peaks form again. Cover and chill until serving.
- Carefully run a small palette knife around the side of the tin to release the cake. Invert the cake onto a serving plate or cake stand, and gently shake the tin to release the cake. Then use the palette knife to release the cake from the base of the tin and remove (see Baker's Tips). Serve dusted liberally with icing sugar and edible flowers (if using), and accompanied by the Earl Grey Whipped Cream.
- The key to the classic light-as-air texture of a chiffon cake is to suspend the baked cake in an inverted tin until it cools completely so that the crumb texture doesn’t compress as it cools. That is why it is so important that the tin isn't greased or lined so that the cake sticks to the tin and that it doesn't fall out of the tin during cooling. However, because of this, once cooled you will need to carefully release it by running a small palette knife between the cake and the tin. You won’t get a perfect looking crust, but this will be overlooked as the result will be a beautifully airy crumb texture that can’t be achieved without using this technique.
- This cake is best cut with a sharp knife using a sawing action.
- This cake will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container at room temperature but is best eaten on the day it is made.
- Jenny used sun-dried organic edible flowers from Percaya Farm