Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Almond Shamah Chiffon

A lovely and light cake with the warm flavor of toasted almonds and paired with a simple raspberry jam whipped cream. Although this dessert would seem more appropriate in the spring, the toasty nuts make this just as good for a crisp fall day. And as I have said elsewhere, pink frosting makes everything cheery.

Almond Shamah Chiffon
although i just said pink frosting is cheery, i presented you with a photo of pink frosting on a dark gray morning and didn't process it for light, so instead of cheery i see dreary. oh well!

November 1, 2011
Name of Cake: Toasty!
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: two 9 in layers of almond chiffon cake, filled and frosted with raspberry whipped cream

I am fascinated by chiffon cake. Not quite a genoise and too light for a butter cake, chiffon cake straddles the middle between light and spongy, and substantial and rich. This cake, in particular, blurs the boundaries even more by not being rubbery like standard chiffon cakes, baked in layer pans like genoise cakes, and employing ground toasted almonds like a nut cake--or even a financier.

The Almond Shamah Chiffon, named after Rose's former assistant David Shamah, starts with toasting the almonds, then grinding them up in a food processor with the wondra flour and baking soda. The recipe calls for an equal weight of egg whites to yolks, which means you'll be freezing extra whites for a future white cake, or egg white chocolate buttercream, or italian meringue buttercream, or...you get the idea. (A large egg has about 30g egg white to about 19g egg yolk.)

The yolks and half the sugar are whipped up to the ribbon stage, the oil and some warm water and flavorings added, and whipped back up to a frothy mass. The ground nut mixture is sprinkled over the top and set aside while you tend to the egg whites. The egg whites are beat to soft peaks, the other half of the sugar is beat in until stiffish peaks. Then the meringue is folded, in three parts, into the yolky stuff.

Almond Shamah Chiffon

What you get is what Rose describes as a very thick batter.

Almond Shamah Chiffon

This batter fills the pans about 1/3 full and bakes for about 20-30 minutes. The cakes need to be unmolded as soon as they are pulled from the oven and set upright to cool.

In the meantime, I made the sugar syrup for the cake. This is super easy: the sugar and water are combined in a small pot, brought to a boil, covered and pulled from the heat. That's about it. Once the syrup cools, the liqueur can be added. The original recipe called for Amaretto, but I choose to go with something I already had in my pantry: Tuaca. This is a lightly citrusy/vanilla liqueur and I thought both the citrus and the vanilla would go well with the almondy cake, as well as the raspberry frosting. To be honest, in the final product I can't really taste it. (However it hasn't been 24 hours yet, maybe by tomorrow it will be more boozy?)

Almond Shamah Chiffon

Once the cakes are cooled, the top and bottom crusts are removed and the syrup painted on. Then was time frosting time. The frosting was just about as easy to make as the sugar syrup. Heavy cream is whipped until beater marks leave traces, then the raspberry jam is added in, and the whole thing whipped to stiffish peaks. I had homemade raspberry jam left over from when I made it for Coleen's big birthday cake last December, and was happy to use it up.

Whipped cream frostings apply to cakes very easily and so filling and frosting were a breeze. The cake needs about 24 refrigerated hours to set up and let the flavors sort themselves out. After about nine hours I decided it was time to try a slice. It was delicious. The cake is soft, but it still has tooth. The toasted almonds and the raspberry jam play off each other in a way not unsimilar to peanut butter and jelly. A simple cake, with lots of delicious flavor that could be dressed up for a dinner party or left casual for tea time (or breakfast).

Almond Shamah Chiffon

Almond Shamah Chiffon

ETA: Here's Marie's Almond Shamah Chiffon, which she took the day off work to bake. Apparently not a lot of bakers made it through to the Last Cake, Next Cake round-up, but Vicki was named featured baker.

10 comments:

  1. Sooo pretty! And look at that gorgeous crumb. It's perfect. I love almonds so this is definitely on my to-bake list. Might not get to it until post-HCB but I will make it!!

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  2. Hanaa, you will love this cake! This was fun one to make; thanks for the compliments :)

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  3. That looks beautiful and soft! And hard to say. Say it 3 times fast; it will be almond shafah shamond by the second time.

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  4. raiuchka, haha!! you were totally right. i tried it twice.

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  5. Wow.That cake is so pretty and yours looks like a perfect texture. I must admit until I read your post it hadn't really been on my radar. I don't think chiffon cakes are very common over here. Anyway, I clicked through to Marie's post and the last cake, next cake. All very good reads. Marie's is really funny...'no normal person would make this cake'. haha. After all this, I might have to consider it.

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  6. It looks pretty. I think greyish pink is a great tone :). I've made this twice and love it. Raspberry whipped cream is my favorite whipped cream.

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  7. ב''ה

    This was one of the first cakes I made I think. I seem to remember that we loved it. Yours looks really great!

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  8. Melissa, do consider this cake1 It is pretty good, and since you are enjoying spring right now this cake would be perfect.

    Jenn, it is mine, too.

    Amanda, thanks!

    Mendy, thank you!

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  9. Yours did turn out beautifully, and I'm almost inspired to go revisit my attempt at it--I think it was the 4th Heavenly Cake I baked, though I was too late to make Marie's LC,NC post that week. The texture on yours looks so wonderfully light!

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