This caramel cake is light enough to float off the table. It’s also light enough to polish off in one sitting. Really.
At this cake’s heart is a chiffon cake with a light caramel icing that is poured on. It’s what accounts for the icing’s smooth sleekness. It’s also not too sweet, so you can offer this to people who say they don’t like their desserts too sweet. Excuse me? The essence of any dessert is sugar, and sugar is sweet, so if you don’t like sweet desserts, then you shouldn’t be having any. But I digress.
Anyway, chiffon cakes are cakes that contain oil, and shouldn’t be confused with sponge or angel cakes. Chiffon cakes are those that form the base of the more popular cakes at the larger bakeshops, like the ubiquitous mocha birthday cake at Goldilocks and the Coffee Torte at Sugarhouse. Here, the oil and egg yolks are beaten until they form ribbon-like patterns that “float” on the batter for a few seconds before sinking. Sometimes there isn’t enough liquid in the yolks alone to dissolve the sugar, so chefs have this nifty trick of adding 1-2 tablespoonfuls of tepid water when beating the yolks and oil. You can also use caster (superfine) sugar here because it dissolves more quickly than regular sugar.
The (almost) unbearable lightness (of being) of a chiffon cake comes from the egg whites that have had the heck (aka air) beaten out of them, along with the remaining sugar called for in the recipe. The whites are beaten ”˜til stiff, then folded in (carefully now!) with the beaten yolks, and then the flour is folded in also (with much care). I find that chiffon cakes made with cake flour make for lighter cakes, which is all the better so I can eat more. Hehe. Lastly, a few drops of vanilla and almond extract make for nice flavor.
I am still trying to figure out how the caramel icing is made. It’s made from a mixture of condensed milk and egg yolks, and tempered with a little evaporated milk to thin it out. If you know the recipe for a caramel icing, or where else I can indulge my penchant for caramel cakes, please share!
I like to eat caramel cake when I’m tired and it’s too hot out to eat a hunk of brownie or some other divine chocolate incarnation. Oh, chiffon cakes also come in chocolate, but they pale in comparison to their lighter counterparts. (Hmm, something not too right about that sentence. It’s like an inverted pun or something.)
Sadly, the best caramel cake purveyors that I know are strictly made to order (1-2 days lead time). Either that, or you make it yourself, which would be quicker but requires more effort. Life is like that. But caramel cake makes it better.
Estrel’s Caramel Cakes
54 Scout Tobias, Barangay Laging Handa, Quezon City (near Timog)
Phone: 372-2965 / 371-7938.
Costa Brava Cakes
12 Polaris St., Bel-Air Village, Makati