Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mini Chocolate Chiffon Cakes

The 2014 FIFA World Cup™ has finally come to an end. Have you guessed this year's champion team correctly? Anyway I was so amused by the anti-betting advertisement promoted by Singapore's NCPG which created quite a big "hooha" after Germany emerged as one of the final teams, and now that Germany has finally won. I wonder how the scriptwriter feels about it. Haha! Well back to reality, much of my time will be freed up and life shall resume back to "normal" without these football matches to catch at the regular timing of the day. And since there's a current baking event theme on chiffon cakes, I am so going to maximise the use of my mini angel food cake pan!

Mini Chocolate Chiffon Cakes
I have decided to bake a chocolate version of chiffon cake since two of my friends here have each given me a box of cocoa powder. I didn't know the difference in cocoa powder until I noticed recipes specifying "Dutch-processed" cocoa powder in their list of ingredients. As usual, a quick google search generated a whole list of information on the differences between Dutch-processed cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder, where the latter is more commonly found in supermarkets and is what I realised I have in my kitchen too. Personally, I like the post on Baking 101 tips by Joy the Baker as it provides an easy yet informative understanding on the differences between the two types of cocoa powder. Since natural cocoa powder is all I have (in abundance), I have decided to go ahead with the substitution even though this recipe I took referenced from called for Dutch-processed cocoa powder. It was one of the webpages I have bookmarked when I was trying to learn and understand the techniques of baking the "perfect" chiffon cake. I find it pretty useful as the baker gave quite a detailed explanation on the basics of baking chiffon cake and troubleshoots the common problems faced. And I'm indeed very happy with the results of the mini version of my chocolate chiffon cakes. I hope you like it too! ^_^

Mini Chocolate Chiffon Cakes
Recipe referenced and modified from: Jo the tart queen
Yields 8

Ingredients Required

Group A
5 large egg yolks, at room temperature
120 grams castor sugar
85 ml corn oil (or any neutral-flavour oil)
130 ml fresh whole milk
30 grams Dutch-processed cocoa powder
160 grams cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder (optional)

Group B
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
90 grams castor sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)

For decorations (optional)
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Bakeware Used

Two 4-cavity mini angel food pans

Preparation Steps
  1. Preheat oven to 355 degrees F (or 180 degrees C).
  2. Sift and combine cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar using an electric mixer (or a hand balloon whisk) until thick consistency and pale in colour.
  4. Add oil and whisk until incorporated. Then, add milk and whisk until well combined.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients into the yolk batter in 3 batches until evenly incorporated. Set aside.
  6. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk egg whites using an electric mixer (with clean whisk attachments) until foamy.
  7. Add cream of tartar (optional) and continue whisking until egg whites reaches soft peaks form.
  8. Gradually add sugar and continue whisking until meringue reaches a glossy, firm peaks form - just slightly short of stiff peaks form (the meringue should look glossy and when the whisk is lifted, the peak will hold out but the tip will fall back slightly). Unlike stiff peaks where the meringue will hold up straight without collapsing when the whisk is lifted.
  9. Fold 1/4 of the meringue to the yolk batter to lighten the yolk batter. This will help lighten the yolk batter so that it will be of a more similar consistency to the meringue which will help fold the meringue through easily and more evenly.
  10. Repeat and gently fold the meringue into the yolk batter in three additions until the yolk batter and meringue are well combined. 
  11. Distribute batter evenly into each cavity (do not grease). Use a butter knife to run through the batter to release any large air bubbles and smooth out the top. 
  12. Bake by placing pan on the lower rack of the preheated oven for 17 to 20 minutes (baking time varies across different ovens), or until toothpick inserted comes out almost clean with very slight crumbs. Do not over-bake.
  13. Once baked, remove the pan from the oven and cool with the pan upside down at an elevated level for better air circulation. This allows the cake to cool more evenly and efficiently. Only attempt to un-mould the cake when it has been cooled completely.
  14. To un-mould, run a sharp knife around the sides and bottom of the pan. Press the knife against the pan in a swift motion and allow the cake to gently slide out to avoid tearing the cake.
  15. To decorate with chocolate drizzle, transfer the slightly cooled melted chocolate chips into a piping bag and pipe over the top of the cake in a zig-zag fashion.
About 3/4 cup to 1 cup of batter goes into each cavity. The cakes initially rose above the rim of the mould while baking in the oven, and later levelled after they have been removed from the oven to cool.

The Dream Baker's Experiment
  1. I used large eggs weighing approximately 58 to 59 grams each (with shell on).
  2. I used granulated sugar, vegetable oil and 2% reduced fat milk instead.
  3. I've learned that Dutch-processed cocoa powder and natural cocoa powder are different mainly in terms of their acidity. I used natural unsweetened cocoa powder instead since the ratio of cocoa powder to the other ingredients is a small fraction and it didn't have any significant impact on the cake.
  4. The original source recipe states that the baking powder which is used to help ensure the lift of the cake during baking works just fine without. Still, I added the baking powder after comparing with most of the other recipes and I didn't want to take chance.
  5. The original source recipe suggest the option of adding a pinch of cream of tartar to help stabilise the meringue. I added 1/4 teaspoon to give the meringue a little help. Again I didn't want to take chance.
  6. The original source recipe yield a 23-cm (9.5-inch) chiffon cake which takes about 1 hour 5 minutes to bake in the preheated oven. The same amount of batter is just evenly distributed to yield 8 standard mini cake rings.
  7. I baked these mini chiffon cakes for approximately 19 minutes. The surface of the cake were slightly wet after 15 minutes into the baking time. The toothpick inserted came out with very slight crumbs at the 18th minute and I left the pan in the oven for an additional minute before taking it out of the oven.
These mini chocolate chiffon cakes were very soft and fluffy. They were very tasty on its own.
But I've decided to add a little decoration to these "plain-looking" cakes.

 And I've concluded that I have plenty of rooms for improvement in my piping skills. @_@
Still, they are very tasty!

I am sharing this post with Bake-Along #64: Theme - Chiffon Cake jointly organised by Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids, Joyce of Kitchen Flavours and Lena of Frozen Wings.

And for the first time, I am also sharing this post with CookBlogShare event hosted by Lucy of Supergolden Bakes. This blog event literally allows everyone to share any and every recipes!  

Dare to dream.
The Dream Baker


  1. Yeah... Heard about Singapore's NCPG having a spot-on world cup prediction right from the start... LOL!

    I used to bake with regular cocoa powder but love love love Dutch processed cocoa powder now... With its minimal amount, I don't think it will make a lot of different in chocolate chiffon cake baking but I think it does make a lot of difference in other chocolate-related baking :D


    1. I suppose the NCPG's advertisement has become a talking point across the globe. Haha!

      I work with chocolate chips more often than cocoa powder, considering I'm still an amateur in baking. Hee. I haven't noticed the difference in cocoa powder in recipes until recently when I was trying to compare the recipes for this chocolate chiffon cakes. But I also realised that many recipes don't attempt to specify Dutch-processed or Natural cocoa powder. Like you say, I went ahead with the substitution when I learned that a small fraction shouldn't have a great impact on the results of the cake. And I'm glad it turned out well. Another baking knowledge acquired!

      Thank you Zoe!

  2. Hi Kerene,
    Your mini chiffon cake looks wonderful. Mini cakes are fun to eat, you can have the whole cake all to yourself! It's nice to see you baking along with us. Hope you can join us again for our future bakes!
    Have a great week!

    1. Hi Joyce, thank you for your kind compliments! I was contemplating for a long time if I should buy and try baking with the big chiffon tube pan since everyone loves chiffon cake. It was until I saw this mini tube pan and I bought it immediately without further thoughts. Haha! Cos' I also preferred baking in small and individualised portions. Hee! Anyway, it's my pleasure to be able to bake along and I'm enjoying it. :) You have a great week ahead too! Thank you!

  3. i recently tried beating the egg whites without cream of tartar after reading from peng's kitchen. Her tip is use cold egg whites and it works too, just with sugar. Thanks for linking another lovely mini chiffon cake with us!

    1. Hi Lena, I've tried beating the egg whites without cream of tartar and with only sugar in my Lemon Cranberry Chiffon Cakes recipe and it does work. But I suspect the stability of the egg white was maintained during the baking because of the presence of other acidic factor (lemon juice) in the recipe. I get very mixed views on beating the egg whites though. Many cite using egg whites at room temperature and cold egg whites doesn't whip well. Personally beating with cold egg whites is something I've not tried. Anyway, I guess it all boils down to the freshness of the eggs and the temperature of the baking environment (even the weather of the day too). Thank you for sharing your tip! It's always good to note a possible baking alternative. And it's my pleasure to link up! :))