I'm trying to move from box mixes to scratch recipes and in doing so learning about baking trying new recipes as often as I can.
I was looking at a recipe for chiffon cake (and at the pictures) and it looks very similar to an angel food cake... or at least it does to an inexperienced scratch baker like me...
are they similar? is the final texture and flavour similar?
the only reason i ask is that I HATE the taste of angel food cakes (personal preference) but I do like the texture. i've only ever made one (from a box mix) but have eaten ones that others have made (don't' know if they were box mix or scratch) but there is a 'weird' taste to them to that I don't like... so if Chiffon cakes are similar I don't want to make one.
They're both classified as foam cakes. Chiffon cakes have oil. Angel food cakes do not. But every recipe is different so it's hard to know what tastes weird to you. Although it could be the subtle chemical undertones you're picking up.
'chemical' is a good way to describe it - it is an odd chemical taste... so that would exist in the chiffon too? what causes it? i don't taste it in other cakes...
The short answer is no, they are not the same at all. Angel food tends to be fat free -no yolks and no oil/butter - and chiffon cakes have both. Chiffon cakes are deliciously airy and what I wholeheartedly recommend you use
I've noticed that cake flour has a similar "aroma" to it that reminds me of angel food cake--since I make it with cake flour, it's not surprising. It's possible that something the mills use to remove the gluten, and finely grind it may be some chemical substance.
Maybe if you can find some organic pastry flour at Whole Foods or some similar market and try that.
But, Chiffon cake, which has oils or butter added, is a nice choice for a lot of cakes, as is a nice no-fat-added Sponge Cake--the difference being that for the Sponge you beat the yolks separate from the whites and add the sugar to them, then the flour and leaveners, then whip the whites and fold them in. No oil or butter in my recipe, very light and airy and absorbs flavored syrups nicely. (Makes a great Rum Cake, or Strawberry Cream Cake)
Six 6 pans
12 eggs, separated
2 cups sugar
½ c hot water
(2 tsp vanilla or other extract flavor--if lemon or orange, add 1 tsp finely grated fresh rind)
3 cups sifted cake flour
1 Tbs Baking powder
Prepare the pans by lining the bottoms with parchment paper circles. Do not grease the pans.
Beat the yolks until they are thick and pale yellow, very gradually add the sugar, beating well. Reduce the speed and add the hot water, (and extracts) and continue beating until completely dissolved and light.
Combine and sift together the cake flour and the baking powder and add gradually to the egg yolk mixture, scraping the sides of the mixing bowl until combined.
Whip the whites until stiff but not dry. Put the yolk-flour mixture in a large bowl and fold in about 1/3 of the whites t lighten the mixture, then add the remaining whites and fold in gently until combined. Do Not Over Mix or Beat!
Pour into the ungreased pans. Bake for 30-40 min, or until a tester comes out clean. Dont disturb in the oven for at least 30 min. Cool in the pans, upside down on a rack, or if not rack, or if the cakes rose out of the pan,(upside down)tilt the pans up a little, resting the edge on the edge of a sheet pan rim. When cool enough to handle, use a sharp thin knife to run around the inside of the pan, loosening the sides, and remove the cakes from the pans and allow to cool completely.
Box mix chemicals have nowhere to hide in an angel food cake so they are more distinct.
In scratch angel food cake, the featured flavor takes center stage. If you don't like that flavor, you won't like the cake. In many scratch angel food cakes, McCormick's vanilla extract or an artificial extract is the predominant flavor. The artificial will have chemical undertones. The McCormick's has a very distinct taste that is not always the greatest when taking the lead flavor role. Experiment with some higher quality extracts or Nielson-Massey vanilla bean paste for a big change in taste.