Thursday, December 11, 2008
Umbria Day and Orange Chiffon Cake
Dec 10 from now on will be known to us as Umbria Day. That was the day my other half and I brought home Umbria, a black Labrador pup from the Guide Dog School of Switzerland at Allschwil, about 1.3 hours' drive from here. She will stay with us for 12 to 15 months and I will be her 'dogmum' or Puppy Walker.
As she has been only two days in our flat, she doesn't like being alone in the living-room. If she's snoozing (often against my foot) and I tiptoe away into the kitchen to make tea, soon enough she would pad quietly into the kitchen looking up 'smiling' at me with a few wags of her funny tapered tail. Taking her outside is no mean feat - putting on her collar and leash, making her stay seated while I put on my coat and shoes, pressing the lift buttons while carrying her in my arms (that prevents accidental peeing) and opening the heavy front door of the apartment building.
Juggling taking care of the pup's needs and my usual baking and cooking is dicey. Imagine my having to take her out to wee (she's sniffing around for a spot - red alert!) when a chiffon cake is about to be ready in the oven. Dicey doesn't even begin to describe the narrow juggling of time, activity and their coordination.
Baking and cooking will have to take a backseat for at least a couple of weeks.
Nevertheless, as Umbria is the runt of her litter, here's a mini-chiffon cake recipe which I've adjusted to suit my tastes. You can use a Gugglhupf pan or a detachable chiffon pan.
Orange Chiffon Cake
3 eggs, whites separated from yolks
1/3 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup mixture of vegetable oil and half-melted butter (more butter means more flavour while veg oil makes a lighter cake but has less flavour)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence or 1 tsp vanilla sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour, preferably sifted
1 tbs cornflour
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
small pat of softened butter, for painting cake pan with
grated rind (avoiding white pith) of 2 oranges
3 tbs half-fat yoghurt
80ml orange juice
bits of sugared orange rind (optional; storebought)
1. Heat oven to 175 degrees C. Whisk egg whites with cream of tartar till almost stiff.
2. Whisk oil/butter with sugar for 2 minutes at medium-high speed. Add yolks and vanilla and whisk for 1 minute.
3. Mix flours with baking soda, baking powder and salt.
4. Alternate adding the flour mix, the orange juice and yoghurt. Fold grated orange rind gently in till just combined.
5. Fold whisked egg whites into the mixture carefully. Pour batter into buttered cake form. Strew orange rind bits on top (if using).
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Insert a skewer or thin knife in the middle of dough to see if it comes out clean. Invert cake pan on a wire rack so cake retains maximum height. Carefully remove cake from pan only when cool.
(This cake gives 4 servings. Double the recipe if you're making a big cake and increase time in the oven to 40-50 minutes.)