Sky High Expectations: Chocolate Chiffon Cake

I recently made chiffon cake for the first time and was completely captivated by its featherweight texture. I've been eager to try other chiffon cakes and decided to make a chocolate chiffon cake with chocolate glaze recipe that appeared in the Los Angeles Times last year.

To make the cake, you sift together the dry ingredients (cake flour, cocoa, espresso powder, sugar, baking powder, salt), pour in the wet ingredients (egg yolks, vegetable oil, milk, vanilla), stir in cacao nibs, and fold in egg whites that have been beaten with cream of tartar and sugar. Your pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan and bake.

The cake rose dramatically during baking, far above the rim of the pan, and did not sink much upon cooling. I skipped the chocolate glaze because I was planning to serve this cake at a reception and wanted to slice it in advance and arrange the slices on a platter; I thought the glaze would create a mess because it didn't look like it would set firm. As it turns out, the cake never made it to the reception because after I had cut it, taken a few photos, and neatly stacked the slices in a container for transport, I accidentally knocked the open container off the counter and almost all of the cake fell onto the kitchen floor. I'd like to think that our compost service might appreciate the fact that our compost bin occasionally smells like chocolate cake instead of just decaying produce.

Even aside from the fact that most of the cake ended up on the floor, it was disappointing. Although the cake was okay, the chocolate flavor was faint. The cacao nibs added a bit of extra flavor and crunch, but were still too mild to deliver any real punch. Perhaps the glaze would have helped. But the biggest shortcoming was the texture. My expectations were sky high after the amazing Lady Praline Chiffon Cake from Baked Explorations -- that chiffon cake had an incredibly light and airy texture with very small and even air bubbles. This chocolate cake had larger irregular air bubbles and its texture was not nearly as delicate. I suppose it's somewhat symbolic that most of my cake ended up on the floor, because while I was aiming for the ethereal, I ended up with a cake that was markedly terrestrial.

Recipe: "Chocolate Chiffon Cake with Chocolate Glaze" from the May 5, 2011 Los Angeles Times.

Previous Post: "Baked Sunday Mornings: Lady Praline Chiffon Cake," September 9, 2012.


Louise said…
I too had high expectations for this Chocolate Chiffon Cake and am disappointed for you. It doesn't sound like the glaze could add enough to bring it up to our expectations. :-(