Cherry-Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Cherry-Chocolate Chiffon Cake by Cakewalker

For each passing day the late spring sun tracks a little higher in the sky. The warmth emanating from it intensifies, and feels closer like the sensation of being swaddled in a bath towel straight from the dryer. And all I can think about is the bounty to come while Mother Nature sets the stage for summer. When northern California’s cherries come in, it’s a sure signal that preparations are underway for this time of transition. The region’s crop is right on time this year, and but by all accounts, the offering is sweet and juicy!

California Bing Cherries - CakewalkerBing cherries make up about half of the crop in the golden state’s cherry production. This variety is the favorite sweet cherry of Californians, and they’ve made their way into farmers markets and stores for Memorial Day celebrations. Not only are cherries gorgeous to look at, but the sweet tang it delivers packs nutritious health benefits too. Considered to be a powerful source of age-fighting antioxidants, cherries also deliver fiber, vitamins and minerals to your diet.

Basic Chocolate Ganache IngredientsThere have been a lot of write-ups about chiffon cake; a delightfully simple cake from a by-gone era, which as clothing does, is back in fashion again. This light and airy cake sits high as a bouffant hairdo, with its light, angel food cake texture—but with an incredibly moist and tender crumb akin to a heavier, rich butter cake. The recipe that swept the nation was developed by a Los Angeles salesman who then sold it to General Mills. After about a year of refining, the company released the recipe into the mainstream in 1948. The rest is, as they say ‘all the rage’.

So while the sun is definitely in preheat mode for the dog days of summer, there’s still time to enjoy these ruby-colored baubles in the west. But do not delay for too long—June’s warm-up begins the end of this cooler climate fruit’s availability.

Cakewalker Chocolate-Cherry Chiffon Cake

How wonderful to bring a seasonal fruit star and a perennial cake favorite together in a single jaw-dropping dessert! If your kitchen equipment is lacking one, tube pans aren’t too expensive and you might be able to find one at a flea market or thrift store for pennies on the dollar. 

Cherry-Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: One 10-inch tube cake. Serves 10-12

Cherry-Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Who can resist the combination of cherry and chocolate? You’re certain to find the feather-light texture, and moist crumb of this Cherry-Chocolate Chiffon Cake recipe to be most exquisite.

Ingredients

    Cake:
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 7 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
  • 3/4 pure cherry juice
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Create a well in the middle of the mixture. In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks to combine; pour them into the well. Add the oil, cherry juice and vanilla to the well of the flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer on low until combined. Scrape the bowl and continue beating on high speed for about 5 minutes until the mixture is completely smooth. Fold in the minced cherries. (This step can be mixed with a hand mixer. For the next step, if you don't have a stand mixer or an extra pair of beaters, you'll need to thoroughly wash the beaters ensuring they are oil/grease free before proceeding.)
  • If available, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment add the egg whites and cream of tartar (or use a clean bowl and clean beaters with hand mixer). Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently add the egg whites to the batter in thirds using great care to slowly fold the whites in using a spatula with each addition. The whites lighten the batter—folding them in with more than a gentle hand may deflate the air volume of the egg whites and potentially thwart the cake's rising power in the baking process. The cake should rise over the top of the pan by a couple of inches but it will recede slightly as it cools.
  • Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 65-70 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The top will be browned and spring back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and immediately invert the cake over a wine bottle or other glass beverage bottle until completely cooled.
  • Remove the cake from the pan. Run a thin knife or metal icing spatula around the outer edge. If using a two-piece pan, gently tap the cake free from the outer piece. Gently run the same instrument along the outside of the center cone and then under the cake between the bottom plate. Carefully turn the cake out onto a rack.
  • Prepare the ganache by bringing the whipping cream to simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth; cool slightly. See a video demonstration here.
  • Position the cake and rack over a clean rimmed baking sheet. Pour the ganache over the top. Working quickly and as you go, use on offset spatula to spread a thin coat of ganache over the top and outer sides of the cake. Re-pour the runoff ganache collected from the sheet pan and repeat until a thin, even coating is achieved on the top and around the outside of the cake. Allow the ganache to set undisturbed for several hours, or refrigerate to set the chocolate. Garnish with whipped cream rosettes and fresh whole cherries.

Notes

Chiffon cakes are best suited for lighter toppings. Avoid heavy frostings and instead opt for a drizzle of glaze, a dusting of powdered sugar or cocoa, or simply sliced thin and served with fresh whipped cream and fresh seasonal fruit. I chose a chocolate ganache in a thin application for delicious flavor and eye appeal without weighing down the cake's delicate structure. I found a pure cherry juice at Trader Joe's; health food stores might be another source. It's important to be certain the equipment used (bowl, beaters or wire whip) in whipping egg whites for volume to be completely free from oil or grease. Wipe down the pieces used for this purpose with a paper towel dampened in vinegar or lemon juice. Allow the equipment to air dry prior to use. Word for the wise: I inverted my cake from the oven onto a bottle of stout beer...the heat transfer caused the beer to fizzle a bit. If you don't want to lose a good wine (or beer), use an empty bottle weighted with water inside for added stability. Cheers!

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