April 15, 2014

ube chiffon birthday cake

Birthdays when I was growing up in Manila were simple occasions made special with the presence of close family members and my mother's chiffon cakes. Traditionally for many Filipinos, birthdays are not complete without pancit (stir-fried noodles with meat and vegetables), cake and ice cream. Having them on the table equals instant party and celebration. Perhaps I crave cakes particularly chiffon cakes because my mother used to bake them all the time so I've grown to love them. I'm also a fan of airy and fluffy cakes and not so much of the dense and heavy pound cakes.

For my birthday this year, it took me awhile to finally decide on what kind of cake to make as I had a few ideas in mind. Feeling a bit sentimental, I finally decided to revive our family's traditional birthday chiffon cake. However, instead of the usual flavors like pineapple or orange, I chose to do this ube chiffon cake. In Manila, ube can easily be bought at any local market. Although frozen ube is available here at the nearby Filipino store,  I used my favorite ube flavoring instead. I also substituted coconut milk for the evaporated milk in our basic chiffon cake recipe. The frosting was the classic white mountain frosting from the Betty Crocker website.

Interested in the ube chiffon cake recipe? Next page please, thanks!
UBE CHIFFON BIRTHDAY CAKE (for a 9"x13" cake pan or standard 10" tube pan)

2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (divided)
1/2 cup corn, canola or vegetable oil
3/4 cup coconut milk
1-2 teaspoons ube flavoring
7-8 eggs (separated)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Line the tube pan with wax or parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a big mixing bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, salt and 3/4 cup of the sugar. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the oil, coconut milk, ube flavoring and eggyolks. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, beat the eggwhites (must be at room temperature) with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff but not dry. (To test, either use a spatula to see if the peaks stand up or tilt the bowl to make sure the beaten eggwhites don't slide off the bowl.) Set aside. Beat the flour mixture next, for about 2 minutes, or until the batter is well blended. Gently fold in the beaten eggwhites to the batter. Carefully pour the batter into the tube pan. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes or until a tester inserted into the cake comes out clean.

WHITE MOUNTAIN FROSTING (from Betty Crocker website)
2 large egg whites at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat egg whites with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Turn off the mixer before cooking the syrup. In a small saucepan, stir sugar, corn syrup and water until well mixed. Boil uncovered for about 4 to 8 minutes, or until 242°F with a candy thermometer. Start beating the eggwhites again while slowly pouring in the hot syrup in a thin stream. Add vanilla. Beat on high speed about 10 minutes or until stiff peaks form and frosting appears shiny. Spread on top and sides of cake then run a plastic fork over the icing to create a design. If desired, add a few candy sprinkles for a festive touch. 

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