Orange Chiffon Cake ~ Recipe from 1948
I lost my Nana 3 weeks ago. After a 4 year battle with cancer, cancer finally won. When you know where you are going, death doesn’t have to be a sad or scary thing but rather a celebration. I use the word celebration because I know my Nana is no longer suffering. In fact, I bet she is up in heaven horseback riding this very moment… she loved horses. Cancer may have taken her flesh but it couldn’t take her soul. No. that belonged to Jesus. I fully believe that she took her last breath here on earth and her very next breath in heaven, in the presence of our Saviour.
My Pap has been going through some of Nana’s things and came across her cookbooks that she had gathered over the years. Along with the cookbooks came a manilla envelope filled with old, old, hand written recipes. He passed them all to me. I am so honored. So I will be cooking my way through them, one by one, for the next year and sharing them with you all.
The first recipe that really caught my eye was a recipe for orange chiffon cake. The index card that it was written on is so old and discoloured that I couldn’t help but to make this recipe first. Oh, and did I mention the date on the card? 1948!! It’s funny how a little slip of paper can have such huge history behind it. My sweet Aunt Kat (Nana’s sister) told me that this cake was a recipe that my great, great, grandma used to make. Aunt Kat also told me that Gladys ( My great, great grandma) made this cake for the actor Cliff Robertson and he ate 5 pieces!! I wasn’t sure who cliff Roberston was so I had to look him up, but I was sure that it wouldn’t be difficult to eat 5 pieces of this cake. It is seriously amazing! It is kind of a cross between an angel food cake and a bundt cake. It has a vibrant orange flavor and a light and fluffy texture. And to ice the cake, a thick glaze that is entangled with orange zest.
I made this cake a few times already. I am going to explain to you what I have found to be the easiest way to make it. The first thing I did was split the ingredient list into 3 groups, they are as follows: Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and egg whites.
1.) First I took the dry ingredient group and mixed them together in a bowl.
Group 1: Dry Ingredients
2 1/4 Cup flour
1 1/2 Cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2.) Next, in a separate bowl, I added all the wet ingredients
Group 2: Wet Ingredients
3 oranges ( zest and juice all 3. Make sure there are no seeds in the juice!)
1/2 Cup oil
7 egg yolks ( put the whites in a separate bowl, you will be using them)
3/4 cup of water or juice ( Now, let me explain this to you. What you want to do first is zest all 3 oranges and set the zest aside. Next juice the oranges. If you can get 3/4 of a cup from the oranges that’s great, use it! But if not and you fall just under 3/4 cup of juice then fill your measuring cup the rest of the way up with water. That’s how I usually have to do it.)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Now combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix well with a whisk.
3.) In a third bowl ( I use my kitchen aid mixer) add the egg whites
Group 3: egg whites
7 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
Beat egg whites and cream of tarter on high for 4 minutes, until stiff and fluffy.
gently fold in the zest from all three oranges, which is about 2 teaspoons of zest.
Gently fold the egg white mixture in with the batter.
How to bake it:
Pour into a greased angel food cake pan or chiffon pan. Take the middle oven rack out, and place the other oven rack 2 up from the bottom. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and bake for 55 minutes. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Gently take a knife around the cake, then turn out onto a tea cloth. Let cake finish cooling. Once the cake is completely cool, ice the cake.