Although I’ve learned to love all kinds of desserts over the years, my first love has always been a chiffon cake. I love its light, fluffy, and moist texture and the fact that it never, ever turns out too sweet. Craving a taste for one, I decided to make a personal favorite – orange and chocolate chiffon cake. The orange part of the cake provides a wonderful refreshing contrast to the chocolate and the combination tastes absolutely delicious. Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds? :D
Please note that this is not a butter or pound cake. The airy texture of a chiffon cake comes mainly from the whipped egg whites. To avoid deflating the batter too much, work fast but as gently as you can. Due to the last minute addition of the flavorings, the batter will unfortunately end up more deflated than it would otherwise be (it can’t be helped in this case). This will result in a slightly shorter cake but don’t worry, it will still yield an airy, moist, tender, “chiffony” cake. The beauty of a marble cake is that no two cakes ever turn out the same. So, experiment with how you alternate the batters – who knows what you’ll get. :D For step-by-step pictures of part of the recipe, refer to the Orange Chiffon Cake post.
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1¼ cups sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 extra-large eggs, separated
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (dutch process)
Grated zest of one orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350ºF.
Whisk flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, oil, and milk together.
With an electric mixer, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Then increase mixer speed to medium-high and whip the whites until soft mounds form. Gradually add the remaining ¾ cup sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
Whisk egg yolk mixture into flour mixture until smooth. Fold one-third of the whipped egg whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula until combined. Then carefully fold in the remaining egg whites.
Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl; add one-third of the batter and fold to combine. Fold the orange zest and vanilla into the remaining two-thirds of the batter.
Starting and finishing with the orange batter, pour or spoon alternating layers of orange and chocolate batters into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert cake pan and let cake cool completely. To remove the cake, run a small, thin-blade knife around the edge (including around the tube) and bottom of the cake and gently tap to loosen it. Serve.