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Goldilocks-Style Mocha Cake
Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Chiffon cakes are very light and airy foam cakes, similar to angel food cakes. The only difference is that the former contain both egg yolks and a small amount of vegetable oil. These two ingredients contribute to the sponge's distinctive moist and fluffy texture.

Any baking technique which involves whipping up egg whites always intimidate me! I shudder to think about the numerous times that I have wasted and failed at making meringue-based desserts. Yet, somehow on top of making chiffon sponge, I have also decided to make Swiss meringue buttercream!

Surprisingly, the cake and the buttercream did NOT fail - the gates of heaven must have opened that day! This recipe is fairly simple but I think the most important step that could make or break it is the meringue. It has to be whisked to a tight, firm and glossy stage - meaning no loose or overbeaten meringue!

For the mocha cake:
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 225g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee/espresso granules
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp water
  • 112g (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
  • 125g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
For the Swiss meringue mocha buttercream:
  • 225g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 340g butter, softened
  • 1 tsp instant coffee/espresso granules
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 5 tsps water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 tsps amaretto (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5. Line 2 x 9" round cake pans with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl over low-medium speed, until creamy and light yellow in colour.
3. Dissolve the coffee granules and cocoa powder in water and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Pour into the egg-sugar mixture along with the vegetable oil, and beat until well combined.
4. Sift cake flour and baking powder over the mixture. Stir until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
5. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar into stiff peaks and gently fold into the mocha batter. Divide the batter between the two cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. The cake should be done when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6. Cool for 10 minutes, then carefully turn over on the wire rack, right side up. Cool completely before icing.
7. To make the buttercream, whisk sugar and egg whites for 3-5 minutes in a bain marie, until meringue is hot to the touch.
8. Remove bowl from heat and beat for 5 minutes. Add the butter in two batches then beat again for a further 6-10 minutes on medium-high speed to thicken the meringue.
9. Dissolve coffee, cocoa, vanilla, water and amaretto (if using) in a small bowl. Pour into the buttercream and beat for 2 more minutes. Make sure that the liquid isn't too hot, otherwise it will melt the buttercream.
10. To assemble, sandwich chiffon in between layers of icing. I chose to sift generous amount of cocoa on top, piped the edges and borders and topped with homemade chocolate swirls. I used ridged edge scraper to create the lined pattern around the sides.

This recipe is perfect for beginners like me who are up for a challenge. It is definitely easier than how it looks, believe it or not! The Swiss meringue buttercream is light, not sickly sweet (unlike ordinary buttercream) and is a perfect accompaniment for the chiffon's soft and pillow-like texture. And because the cake is so light and moist, you won't feel as guilty for having a slice!


Hii!!! I'm Anna. A 21 year old Media student in London with a baking obsession. I like to make cakes, desserts or any kinds of sweet things and blog about them!

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