In honor of spring, I made this happy, light, citrus-y cake for dessert. Maybe I should have made it in honor of our chickens because it took a lot of eggs, and coincidentally, one of our chickens in named Chiffon.
Our chickens are lovely, and loving this spring weather after a long, cold, snowy winter. This was our first winter with chickens, and I was worried how they would do in our unheated coop. I didn’t have to worry a bit.
Our chickens are Buff Orpingtons; a big, beautiful winter hearty breed, and they were game to venture out of the coop in whatever winter decided to throw our way. Snow, rain, sleet, freezing rain, hail would not keep them from their duty of pecking and scratching. I wonder if the post office needs a new mascot? I always thought that Zip Code guy was kind of creepy.
The only concession to the weather (or lack of daylight) the chickens made was they slowed their egg production between the end of December and the end of January. Usually, our four hens give 3-4 eggs a day, but during the depths of winter they slowed to 1-2 eggs per day.
They picked up the pace during February, a month that to me suggests spring will never, ever come. Like a crocus poking through a snowdrift, the chickens reminded me that we were on the backside of winter.
And strangely enough, on the first day of spring we had our first 4 egg day since before Christmas. So thank you my beautiful hens for reminding me that spring was coming when everything around us was suggesting otherwise. And thank you for letting me make this egg-rich cake.
This was another Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe, this time from her classic cookbook, The Cake Bible. The Cake Bible has all manner of cakes in it, from simple coffee cakes through large wedding cakes and everything in between.
The cake I made, the Orange Glow Chiffon Cake, is a typical chiffon cake. You separate a bunch of eggs, and make meringue out of the whites and a rich yellow batter out of the yolks, and then combine the two with some gentle folding. Pop the batter into a tube pan and bake.
This cake is infused with orange flavor due to the addition of both orange juice and orange zest in the batter. It smells great making it, and even better as it’s baking.
A very similar cake is in RLB’s new cookbook, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes. Marie, at the blog Heavenly Cake Place, has been doing a bake-a-long through this cookbook, and a cake very similar to this one was baked this week. At Marie’s blog, you can check out her success with this cake and also click over to all the other folks who made this cake. It’s a very cool blog and fun to see different interpretations of the same recipe.
After making and baking this simple cake, it finishes up with a stressful step: cooling. A chiffon cake is so delicate before it cools, it can become crushed by it’s own weight. Because of this, it is cooled upside down on the neck of a bottle. This uses gravity to help the cake maintain its height until the crumb cools and it becomes less of a girlie-man.
I am always a little nervous flipping it upside down, and nervous that someone (Thing 1, Thing 2, Cat etc) will knock it over. No worries this time, it came out beautifully.
I topped it with some orange-scented whipped cream and it was a nice finish to dinner with a guest at Casa de Pollo Loco.
Thanks hens (especially you Chiffon)!