An Impressive Chocolate Chiffon Cake

Extra-virgin olive oil, also known as EVOO, helps to give this cake a very rich and complex chocolate flavor and a fine, moist texture. The taste and looks of this chocolate chiffon cake are equally impressive, and it ships perfectly.

You will need an electric mixer for this recipe. If you have both a handheld and a stand mixer you can beat the batter with the handheld mixer and use the stand mixer for the egg whites. Otherwise, wash your mixer and/or beaters very carefully before beating the egg whites.

An Impressive Chocolate Chiffon Cake

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    2/3 cup sweet amber Marsala wine 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract 7 large eggs, separated
    4 tablespoons water 1/2 cup high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
    1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
    1 3/4 cups cake flour 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 3/4 cups granulated sugar


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    • 1

      Combine the Marsala, vanilla, and water in a small saucepan and quickly bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Sift the cocoa powder into a small mixing bowl. Whisk the boiling liquid into the cocoa powder until the cocoa has dissolved completely. Set the bowl aside until the cocoa mixture has cooled to room temperature.

    • 2

      Remove all but the lowest rack from the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Combine the cake flour, sugar and baking soda in a large mixing bowl and whisk them together. Stir the egg yolks and olive oil into the cooled cocoa mixture and add it to the flour mixture. Beat the mixture together at medium speed until it forms a smooth, thick batter. Set it aside.

    • 3

      Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and beat them at low speed for 1 minute, or until they are frothy. Add the salt and the cream of tartar and beat the egg whites at low speed for another minute. Gradually increase the beater speed to high and beat the whites until they form stiff, firm peaks, 6 to 8 minutes.

    • 4

      Add a large scoop of the egg whites to the cocoa batter and gently fold the egg whites through the batter to lighten it. Pour the lightened chocolate batter over the rest of the egg whites and, using a spatula, gently fold the two together until the batter is no longer streaked with white. Scoop the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan and use the spatula to level the batter in the pan. Run a table knife or icing spatula through the batter in the pan several times to settle the batter and eliminate any air pockets.

    • 5

      Bake the cake on the lowest rack of the oven for 65 minutes. Place a cake rack over the top of the cake pan and invert the cake over the rack to cool upside down for 5 minutes. Turn the cake right side up and use an icing spatula to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Fit the center hole of the cake pan over a wine bottle and gently push the sides of the cake pan down and away from the cake. Invert the cake on a round cardboard cake board and loosen and remove the tube and bottom portion of the pan. With the help of a long serrated knife, you can level the cake so that it sits flat on the cake board. Using a gentle sawing motion with the knife, cut a thin slice fro the bottom of the cake just above the cake board. Invert the cake onto a work surface, remove the cake board, discard the thin slice you have made, and replace the cake board. Turn the cake over again, so it’s resting on the board. Store the cake in an airtight container until you are ready to assemble and ship the gift.


    Wrapping it Up
    A great-looking hatbox makes gift wrapping and shipping this cake fun. A few simple packing techniques guarantee this cake will ship well, keeping all the impressive looks and taste intact. You can embellish the hatbox using any number of craft techniques. Paper punches and adhesive-backed linen tape (bookbinding tae) can give the box streamlined good looks.

    Suggested supplies
    -- 1 round cake board, 10 inches in diameter
    -- 2 to 3 tablespoons melted chocolate
    -- 1 sheet (8 ½ x 11 inches) printer-weight card stock
    -- wooden spoon
    -- plastic wrap
    -- transparent tape
    -- 1 pasteboard hatbox (9 x 11 inches is ideal)
    -- adhesive-backed linen tape (linen bookbinding tape), available at craft store
    -- paper punches
    -- bone folder or burnishing tool
    -- 8-10 sheets tissue paper
    -- ribbon or cord
    -- cellophane
    -- 1 wire twist tie
    -- 1 shipping box large enough to hold the hatbox, at least 12 inches square
    -- packing tape

    How to ship a cake in a pretty box
    Smear the cake board with the melted chocolate and quickly transfer the cake from its board to the chocolate-smeared board. (Discard the old board.) Set this aside for a few minutes until the chocolate sets and the cake adheres firmly to the cake board.

    Roll the sheet of card stock around the handle of a wooden spoon (this is the best way to roll the card stock tightly and smoothly, without causing cracks or wrinkles). Insert the card-stock roll into the center hole of the cake, remove the spoon, and allow the card stock to unfurl, filling the cavity of the cake and supporting its interior. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap, sealing the wrap with transparent tape on the bottom of the cake round. Measure the circumference of the hatbox. Cut a third strip 1 inch longer than the circumference of the lid. Use the paper punches to make a pattern all along the strips of tape and then carefully adhere them to the bottom edge of the hatbox, the midsection of the hatbox, and the edge of the hatbox lid. Use a bone folder or burnishing tool to press the tape firmly to the box.

    Put the cake in the decorated box and surround it with crumpled sheets of tissue paper. Keep adding tissue until the cake is fully surrounded with tissue and unable to shift in the hatbox. Put the lid on the box and tie it firmly in place with the ribbon or cord. Center the hatbox on one or two sheets of cellophane and gather the cellophane tightly up and over the box. Twist the cellophane tightly at the top and secure it with the wire twist tie. Cover the twist tie with more ribbon or cord, finishing with a slipknot or simple bow. Put the wrapped hatbox in the shipping box, surrounding it with more tissue to prevent the hatbox from shifting in the shipping box. Seal the shipping box tightly with packing tape.

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