Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lilikoi Chiffon Cake

Nothing conjures up the taste, smell, and images of Hawaii than the taste of Lilikoi [passion fruit].  Well, nothing except for the smell of salty sea air, warm balmy breezes, tuberose, shave ice, and plate lunches, of course.  Combine the tart sweetness of Lilikoi curd, airy clouds of whipped cream, with a chiffon cake and you've got yourself a recipe for a little taste of fluffy heaven.

Chiffon cakes are deceptively easy to make [especially if you've tried your hand at macaronage].  One way to help ensure that the cake achieves its airy and fluffy consistency is the use of cream of tartar, which will help stabilize and give more volume to the egg whites.  Of course, the first time I made it, I was so focused on  whipping the egg whites  to perfection that I completely forgot to add the baking powder and salt.  My victims co-workers actually liked it though so no harm was brought to my victims co-workers. I've made it twice for them and they cleared it up both times.
Lilikoi Curd
6 eggs
6 egg yolks
1 1/3 cup sugar [I used a little more than 3/4 of a cup, i don't like it too sweet]
1 1/4 cup lilikoi puree [not sweetened]

Whisk together the eggs with the egg yolks in a heatproof glass bowl.  Add the sugar and lilikoi puree.

Set a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water [the bottom should not touch the water].  Stir mixture constantly until it thickens.  Mixture should coat the back of a spoon.  Pour through strainer to get rid of lumps.

Chiffon Cake
9 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup + 1/2 cups sugar 
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract [or you can use 1 teaspoon of lemon zest]

Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until it reaches the soft peak stage.  "Shower" in 1/2 cup of sugar while beating until stiff and glossy.  You should be able to turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out.  Set aside.

Sift together remaining cup of sugar, cake flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add egg yolks, water, oil, and extract [or lemon zest].  Beat until smooth.  

Add the egg whites to the yolk mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture  gently in a circular motion until combined. 

Pour into three 8 inch round pans [I set parchment paper on the bottom of each of the pans], baking 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees F.  Use skewer or toothpick to test for readiness.

Flip the cake over to cool upside down [still in the pan].  When its ready I like to squish the cake down so it tears away from the sides of the pan.  It's a chiffon so can withstand the "squish" techniques. [If it seems to be sticking too much to the sides, simply run a knife along the edge to separate.]

Whipped Cream Frosting
taken from Joy of Baking
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sugar

I'm not sure if there's a difference but they said to chill the whisk, bowl, and ALL the ingredients to achieve maximum volume.  So I did it.  I whisked the above ingredients together.  This reminds me of the whipped cream frosting that they use at Angel Maid Bakery [my very first real job!].

*I used the organic heavy whipping cream from Trader Joe's since it's not ultra pasteurized. It tastes MUCH better than the Ultra Pasteurized variety.

I cut the 8" rounds in half so that each cake pan gave me 2 rounds [there was something oddly too dense about this chiffon cake that i made above so I decided to re-do it again.  Turns out I forgot to add in baking powder.  Thus, the actual number of rounds should be 3].  I started with the lilikoi curd on the first layer, stacked on the next cake, then layered the whipped cream, stack on the next cake, so on and so forth until it's fully assembled.  Frost cake around using the whipped cream frosting.  Try not to eat the majority of it like I did. 


  1. I love layer cakes (yours looks so beautifully tall and layered)-- and chiffon cake is my favorite cake to make. ever. And one of my favorite cakes to eat (sure to please a lot of people, as it's not too sweet). The recipe I use has egg yolks, though, 40% of the weight of egg whites. Maybe one day I'll video myself making one, hehe :)

  2. HA! no way, marc! YOUR layers are always so perfect and beautiful. I aspire to be like you some the distant future!

    Ok, thanks for catching that part about the egg yolks. My recipe, when I write it out correctly as it has been corrected above, also has yolks! ...must've been listening to the voices in my head again!

  3. That cake looks so tasty! How do you layer the frosting so perfectly, i can never get it right. What is lilikoi?

  4. N: lilikoi is passion fruit. FANTASTIC to work with!! love it!! I actually didn't frost it perfectly - I took the photo from an angle & from far away! :)

  5. This cake is STUNNING! Will come and make one for me? :)

  6. Next year, for your bithday!! :)


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