Friday, August 23, 2013
Orange Chiffon Cupcakes (香橙雪芳蛋糕)
Growing up in Hong Kong, I had my fair share of a very famous bakery’s chiffon cupcakes. They were individually packaged and available in most supermarkets (yeah, I know, they were packaged cupcakes, not even freshly baked from a bakery! What was I thinking, huh?) Their orange flavor chiffon cakes were my favorites. I couldn't recall how many times I had it for breakfast or as afternoon pick-me-ups, probably too many and too often. But they were good, at least, I thought so when I was a kid. I craved for this childhood favorite every now and then. Of course, I won’t be flying back to Hong Kong any time soon just to ease my craving for a chiffon cake, worse, a packaged chiffon cake! Fortunately, I can recreate this childhood favorite in my own kitchen now! Plus, freshly baked chiffon cakes are better than packaged ones, yes I know better now!
A chiffon cake is a light and fluffy cake usually made with vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and flavorings. To achieve the light and fluffy texture, the egg whites and egg yolks are separated. The egg whites are whisked with sugar until stiff peak. The egg yolks are incorporated with other ingredients, then a folding technique is used to combine the two into one batter before baking. In my recipe, I used butter instead of vegetable oil for a richer flavor. As always, I like my cupcakes not overly sweet. However, my Kids do have a sweet tooth so I created an orange glaze just for them to drizzle on top for extra flavor and sweetness.
In case if you wonder, yes, I used the oranges from my In-Law’s garden. They were super sweet and juicy. I used both the orange zest, which was extremely fragrant, and the orange juice in these chiffon cupcakes. These chiffon cupcakes will stay soft and fluffy for a few days….that is, if they last that long in your house. Now, I don’t need to fly back to Hong Kong for the chiffon cakes, but I do wish I have any orange tree in my own garden!
Below is how the cupcake looks inside, soft, light, spongy and fluffy, which is exactly how a chiffon cake should be. So, when you fold the egg whites into the egg yolk batter, make sure you do not deflate too much air from the egg whites. Using a soft silicone spatula such as this one for the job will definitely help. Also, I used these paper baking cups to make this batch. Not only they are beautiful, but they are also very sturdy. Unlike traditional baking cups, these stay in shape and keep their color even after baking, so they are perfect for parties and gatherings. Plus, you don’t need a muffin pan when you use these baking cups. I highly recommend them. But then of course, you can always use the traditional cupcake pans and paper linings for these cupcakes, they will taste equally good.
Note: I won these paper baking cups from the giveaway at Carol’s beautiful blog not long ago. Thank you again, Carol.
I personally can’t decided if I like this Orange Chiffon Cupcake better with or without the orange glaze on top. The glaze adds a little sweetness and more orange flavor as it’s packed with orange zest. Guess I’ll have to do a little bit more taste tests before I can decide! My Kiddos definitely love these cupcakes with the glaze, especially when I let them pour their own glaze on top of the cakes.
Do you have a childhood favorite treat that’s not available to you anymore? Were you able to recreate it in your own kitchen like I did? I would love to hear from you and maybe try your recipes too.
Hope you enjoy today’s post and recipe. Until next time…..
Orange Chiffon Cupcakes (香橙雪芳蛋糕): (Printable Recipe)
Makes: one dozen
Ingredients for the Cupcakes:
1 and 1/2 cups of cake flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup of sugar, divided (use 1 cup if you prefer a sweeter cake)
1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
4 tablespoons butter, melted
zest of 2 oranges
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Ingredients for the Orange Glaze:
zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2/3 cup powdered sugar
To prepare the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 12 muffin paper cups in a muffin pan or use the free-stand paper baking cups as shown in my picture.
In a large mixing bowl, sift cake flour and baking powder together. Set aside. In the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg white, salt and cream of tartar together until soft peak form. Add half of the sugar and beat until stiff peak forms.
Transfer the egg white mixture to a clean bowl. In the bowl of the mixer, beat the egg yolks, remaining of the sugar together until pale yellow. Add the butter, orange zest, vanilla extract and orange extract until incorporated.
Turn mixer to low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the egg yolk batter, follow by 1/2 of the orange juice, then 1/3 of the flour mixture, remaining of the orange juice, and then the remaining 1/3 of flour mixture. Mix until mixture just combined.
Then, fold in the egg white mixture, 1/3 at a time, until just incorporated.
With an ice cream scoop, evenly distribute the cake batter among the prepared baking cups. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a tooth pick insert into the cupcakes and comes out clean. Cool on wiring rack.
To prepare the orange glaze:
In a small bowl, stir all ingredients until no lumps. Drizzle onto cooled cupcakes. Enjoy.