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Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Julia's Chocolate Chiffon Cake

By Barbara Beltrami

Last week I wrote about spring holiday meals and how much in common there is among the cuisines of various religions. From tender young vegetables to lots of eggs as decorations or ingredients, to light, fluffy desserts, everything seems to converge on the spring theme. Last week I also promised to give you a few recipes for those light-as-a-feather cakes that, whether angel food, sponge or chiffon, rely heavily on egg whites.

Spring-y and delicate, none are difficult to make. All of them make beautiful presentations, especially if decorated with seasonal pastels or confections and all of them function beautifully as complements to fruits, sauces, ice cream and sorbets. So tie on your apron, heat up that oven, get out your electric mixer and cake pans, take those eggs out of the refrigerator and let’s bake!

Julia’s Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Julia’s Chocolate Chiffon Cake

YIELD: Makes 8 to 12 servings


¾ cup boiling water

½ cup cocoa

1¾ cups cake flour

1¾ cups sugar

1½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup vegetable oil

7 unbeaten egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

7 egg whites

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 325 F. Combine boiling water and cocoa; let cool. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center, then add oil, egg yolks, vanilla and cocoa mixture, and beat until smooth. Put egg whites and cream of tartar into large mixing bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. Pour egg yolk mixture in thin stream over entire surface of egg whites. With rubber spatula gently fold in until well blended. Pour into ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake 55 minutes, then raise heat to 350 F and bake another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven; invert onto wire rack until cool. Remove from pan and decorate with your favorite frosting, if desired. Otherwise, serve with fudge sauce, whipped cream, liqueur or vanilla or chocolate ice cream.

Nana’s Orange Sponge Cake

Nana’s Orange Sponge Cake

YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings


6 eggs, separated

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

½ cup Passover cake meal

¼ cup potato starch

Freshly grated rind of half an orange

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. In another larger bowl combine the egg yolks, sugar and orange juice and beat until frothy and pale. In a third bowl combine the cake meal and potato starch and gradually beat into the egg yolk mixture until batter is smooth. Fold in the egg whites and orange rind. Transfer batter to an ungreased tube pan with a removable bottom and bake for one hour. Remove from oven and invert over wire rack until cool. Unmold and serve with orange sorbet, stewed fruit or fresh berries.

Rebecca’s Angel Food Cake

Rebecca’s Angel Food Cake

YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings


8 egg whites

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1¼ cups fine granulated sugar

1 cup cake flour

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 325 F. Dust a 10-inch tube pan with flour but do not butter it. Beat egg whites with salt until foamy; add cream of tartar and continue beating until egg whites form soft peaks. Add almond and vanilla extracts; lightly stir once. Sift together the sugar and cake flour over a separate bowl; repeat three times. Using a whisk or spatula, gently fold the sifted mixture, two tablespoons at a time, into the beaten egg whites until the batter is completely blended. Spoon evenly into prepared tube pan. Bake for 50 minutes; turn the oven off and leave cake in for another 10 minutes. Turn cake upside down on a wire rack and let sit for one hour, then carefully unmold. Serve with chocolate sauce or pureed strawberries.