Tuesdays with Dorie recipe for this week is Nectarine Upside-down Chiffon Cake. I looked over the recipe a week ago, read some of the other baker’s comments here, and then promptly became disinterested. I can’t tell you for sure why I wasn’t excited about this recipe but maybe it is because the recipe alone takes up 2 ½ pages of details. Or because there are 3 distinct parts to making this 1 cake. Or maybe I was just feeling lazy.
THE TOPPING. THE STREUSEL. THE CAKE.
In my mind, I claim to be a patient person, but I just didn’t want take the time. Oh yes, and then the fact that I really don’t like nectarines all that much. That must be it 🙂
It’s Saturday. Tuesday looms. We are having soup for supper. That’s it, just soup. Okay, I thought, make the cake. The recipe calls for a 10” springform pan. I have a 10 ½” pan. Oh great, this thing is going to be HUGE. 🙁
THE TOPPING. I have beautiful fresh apples (thank you Leon and Liz) so I decided to use 2 nectarines and 2 apples. My springform pan is known to “leak” and so I layered a piece of parchment paper on the bottom, adding the pan ring and then trimming the edges. That should keep the butter and such inside the pan. Wrong. Even that didn’t completely seal the pan, so I added a drip pan and some foil. Smart, huh?
I tossed the apples in some lemon juice and water so they wouldn’t go brown while I was putting the cake together. I am glad I did this step. Once I had the apples and nectarines layered in the butter and brown sugar mixture I was a little bit interested. It was about this time that my sous-chef dish-washing mom came quickly into the kitchen saying, “you just have to come see this!” “What is wrong?” I cried! “Oh come quickly!” she said. What did I need to see? Nebraska is playing football today and she just knew I would want to “see” that sea of red! 🙂 Go Big Red!
THE STREUSEL Whole almonds are roasted and added to flour, sugar cinnamon, ginger, oats, and butter to make up the streusel layer. I did not use whole almonds. I knew I would have a terrible time getting them chopped up later, so I used sliced almonds and I am glad I did. Once the streusel is blended in a food processor it is baked to a nice golden brown.
While the streusel is cooling THE CAKE is made. We are at the third step — and there are TWO parts to this step. Truthfully, it has taken me almost an hour to get to this stage. The oven is on, it is hot inside and out, and I continue to grouse. However, I do get the chance to use my new juicer that I just love! Fresh lemon juice goes into the chiffon batter. Yum.
Okay, here is where things get interesting. Have you seen the video where a young women shows us how to quick and easily separate the egg yolk from the egg white? Oh and since I don’t speak Chinese I can’t understand a word she is saying. If you haven’t seen it, I will include the video at the bottom of this post —
The plan is to crack a whole egg in a bowl. Then using a clean plastic bottle, squeeze the bottle to get some air out and then touching the bottle to the yolk release the bottle and the yoke sucks right up into the bottle. Wow! I could not wait to do this. I even planned to make a video for YOU, so you could see me do it. It is so clever.
My best guess is that while she is speaking Chinese during the video she is imparting some really, really important wisdom. Since I have no idea what that wisdom is, after several frightful attempts I decided use MY egg separater. No video needed.
Moral of that story: We are having a LOT of scrambled eggs for breakfast tomorrow.
Moving on, the cake batter is mixed without much grousing on my part. Then the egg whites are whipped. (This is where the separated eggs are necessary :)) The egg whites are what makes a chiffon cake — a chiffon cake. The recipe says “if you run a finger through the whites, it should leave a smooth, even path.” I did. It did. Whites done.
The whipped egg whites are gently folded into the batter. Half of the batter is poured over the patiently waiting fruit and sugar.
The streusel is added and the final layer of batter is poured over everything and into the oven!
Whew! This place is really a mess. As you know, I have a sous-chef dish-washing mom who cleans up all my messes (aren’t I lucky?) Well, since it is Saturday AND Nebraska is playing football AND they are on TV, I decided to surprise my dear ol’ mom and clean up my own mess. 🙂 I am nice like that. I was about halfway through that clean-up process and I heard her coming down the hall. Oh, no! it will spoil the surprise and she will insist on doing the rest of the cleanup! WRONG. She hurried into the kitchen to let me know Nebraska is ahead 14 to 0 and left just as quickly. I am quite sure she didn’t even notice the dishes or the mess. Go Big Red.
Note to self: When Dorie and the contributing baker, Mary Bergin, find it necessary to write, “… and place the springform pan on a jelly roll pan to bake.” Just do it. Don’t even think your cake won’t drip through the parchment paper, drip pan, and tin foil. It will. It did.
Second note to self: Clean the oven.
Will I make this cake again? No. Am I glad I did it this time?. Yes. Just consider me your ever-so-humble baking servant. I bake so you will know when not to spend an entire afternoon on a Nectarine Upside-down Chiffon Cake.
I wrote the ending to my story before we ate the cake. Here is the truth of it … my mom LOVED it! My husband LIKED it. I thought it was PRETTY GOOD. I took some to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Liz. I told her she should probably eat it sooner rather than later because I didn’t know if it would be all that good tomorrow. She dutifully ate it right away. She called totally excited about the cake. She said it was WONDERFUL and DELICIOUS and she couldn’t wait to see the recipe. She is thinking of making the sponge cake and putting some of her canned fruit over the top! Listening to her, I actually got excited about it. 🙂 I am so fickle that way.
You will find this recipe on page 241, 242, and 243 of Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking With Julia. Thank you to our TWD hosts Marlise and Susan — you will also find the recipe on their websites.
Susan of The Little French Bakery
Win some, win some!
Separate egg whites and yolks: