Chocolate Cocoa Chiffon Cake

 

Here’s the recipe for super soft, fluffy and moist Chocolate Cooca chiffon cake! Something classic, traditional, and can be whipped up within 1 hour. Because it’s a chiffon cake it’s very very fluffy almost like eating a cloud. After some researching over the years this was the recipe I was the most happy with the results. It contains only cocoa powder, its not weighed down by cocoa solids, and if you use good quality cocoa the fragrance really comes through really nicely.

If you’re ever looking for a chiffon cake that tastes like the Awfully Chocolate chocolate cake, this recipe is probably the closest in flavor and texture I’ve tried so far. I haven’t tried baking this in a non-chiffon cake pan before but I might next time, and pair it with a chocolate fudge frosting (note to self: might try it with this pudding-based chocolate fudge frosting next time!)

Some tips and modifications:

  • Dutch-process vs natural cocoa powder? Yes there is a difference! And yes I completely understand if you only have one of the other on hand. Some recipes have more leeway for substitutions (eg pudding), however for cakes and baked goods it’s not a direct substitution mainly due to the difference in acidity and the leavening. In general, Dutch processed are darker, smoother, with more earthy and mellow tones, mainly because it’s more alkaline than natural cocoa powder. Because of its pH it is usually leavened with baking powder (which has a neutral pH), as opposed of natural cocoa powder (acidic by nature) + baking soda (which is alkaline) that produces the carbon dioxide bubbles that make cakes fluffy. (That’s the base of my usual Hershey’s chocolate cake).
  • What happens if you don’t have Dutch Processed? This chocolate chiffon cake was designed for Dutch Processed cocoa powder. I only had natural cocoa powder when I made this cake, hence the substitution would be to add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 25g of natural cocoa powder (to neutralize the pH). Some people theorize it further by explaining that this will reduce the acidity of natural cocoa powder, which makes egg proteins in the chiffon cake set faster (hence making it dry and less fluffy). I haven’t experimented with either, but long story short… go for the Dutch-processed cocoa! It worked 😛
  • Sweetness level: As the blogger explained also, the sweetness of the cake is just right – do not make modifications or reduce the sugar, as this will affect the texture. You can trust her! She’s raised in Singapore and also knows how much we tend not to like desserts that are too sweet.
  • Egg white meringue: Beating the egg whites correctly is key to this recipe! If you haven’t done it before, watch some youtube videos to know that the correct texture should be like. Don’t rush this step, and I also agree with not using too high of beating speeds for egg white meringue – this creates big bubbles and a less stable structure. The big bubbles is what may cause the cake to not rise evenly, create pockets in the batter, it’s harder to combine overbeaten egg whites with the egg yolk/chocolate base, and sometimes even causes the batter to split.
  • Troubleshooting tip: what happens if egg whites are overbeaten? Depends on how severe, if it’s already become dry and stiff… might be too late but if it’s just a matter on the bubbles being too big, just lower the speed and whip slowly, let the mixer gently get rid of the giant bubbles.
  • Sifting: yes please sift. Please weigh ingredients too 😛
  • To beat the egg yolk or not? There are recipes that advocate either! I beat the egg yolks until ribbon stage, doubled in size, and pale yellow, which was slightly different from the recipe she wrote, but mainly because I had a mixer and wanted to maximize fluffiness. Kitchen Tigress advocates it in her chiffon cake recipes. For this recipe, the author mixed the egg yolks + chocolate directly, and her cake looked great, so it might not be necessary. I don’t have a direct answer for that now – I might have to experiment a bit – but for now I’d say if you have a mixer, no harm spending another 5 min to whisking the egg yolks. If you don’t, rather use your arm strength to beat the egg whites than the egg yolk.
  • Temperature: another important tip! Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature. It makes life easier for you when you combine the ingredients!
  • Pan size: don’t change it also! If you only have a single pan size, check out this recipe by the Domestic Goddess Wannabe instead, which nicely adjusts the proportions for you.
  • Unmolding:  I always let it cool upside down 😛 It’s not going to fall out of the pan because we don’t like the cake tin with baking powder.
  • Bake time: 1 hour worked at 170 deg C!

If you have questions please let me know and I might add on to the list of the tips! Those are the relevant ones I can think of off the top of my head for now but am happy to explore more 🙂 Hope you enjoy this super light and fluffy chocolate chiffon cake recipe and happy baking!

 

Cocoa Chocolate Chiffon Cake
Makes 1 8-inch chiffon cake
Cocoa Chocolate Chiffon Cake adapted from Bake for Happy Kids

240g egg whites (about 7-8)
120g caster sugar
90g egg yolks (about 6-7)
45g vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
180g milk (Meiji)
80g all purpose flour
20g cornflour (I used tapioca flour)
25g Dutch processed cocoa powder
(substitute: 25g natural cocoa powder with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda)
1/4 tsp salt

 

To make Cocoa Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Preheat oven to 170°C/330ºF.

Make the meringue: Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites in the lowest speed for around 10 mins to stabilise the mixture. Mixture will be creamy and foamy. Increase beating speed to medium, until it forms soft peaks. While beating, add sugar gradually and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. This meringue should be stable and smooth too with tiny bubbles. Do not over-beat the mixture (which will look separated and dry).

Make egg yolk mixture: Combine egg yolks, oil and milk in a large mixing bowl, and beat until fluffy and egg yolks are pale and doubled in size. Sift in all purpose flour, corn flour, cocoa powder, salt and whisk gently until the batter is smooth and combined.

Combine the mixture: Using a hand whisk or a spatula, gently fold in the egg whites to the egg yolks mixture in 3-4 batches. I like to use a whisk for the first batch of egg white, but make sure the subsequent portions are folded in very gently. Try not to have any streaks of egg white after folding! Stop when the streaks just disappear.

Pour batter into an un-greased 20 cm chiffon tube pan. Give the pan a gentle tap and use a skewer to draw a zigzag to remove air bubbles only on the surface in the batter. Bake for at least 60 mins in total or until it is thoroughly baked. To avoid the top of the cake from browning too quickly, cover the top of the cake very loosely with a piece of foil after 40 mins of baking and continue to bake for at least 60 mins in total.

Remove from oven and invert the cake immediately to cool on a wire rack. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before removing it from the pan. Enjoy!

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