Monday, December 14, 2015

Renee Fleming Golden Chiffon Cake

A few years ago, a woman made a lemon chiffon cake for book club.  It was okay, and people were very nice about it, but the woman who made it said, "What's the point of this cake?  It's too dry, and it doesn't even taste that much like lemon."  She was pretty accurate in her assessment of the cake.  Now that I've tasted the Golden Chiffon Cake, I don't know what I would have said.  You can't really say, "Yeah, you're right, but I have a much better recipe."

I liked this cake even though the whole egg separating thing was a complete fiasco.  I was carefully separating the eggs, even using an egg separator, but on the 4th egg, the entire egg slipped through the opening in the separator, and, splat, it broke apart.  The yolk quickly infiltrated the whites.  I had to throw away all the tainted whites.  (I threw away the egg separator too--what good is a separator that can't manage its sole reason for being?)

No worries, though--I had lots of frozen egg whites left over from multiple projects, so I put them in warm water.  Then I got impatient and decided I'd microwave them over low heat.  Not low enough.

Chopped Frozen Egg Whites in Bowl on the Left
When I took the whites out of the microwave, I had a peculiar mixture of cooked and frozen egg whites.  I tried to fish out the part that looked like it was about to turn into an egg-white omelet, and by this time I was so upset that I started laughing.  No more rescue attempts--I would just see what happened.  I added some more of the egg white slush to make up for the cooked part I threw away.

To my complete surprise, the egg whites turned out looking beautiful.  I may even have over-beat them because I was so sure they wouldn't turn into anything resembling beaten egg whites.

I was so delighted I forgot to put in the flower nail.  (Woody had made me a makeshift one at some point, but I seem to have lost it.  Sorry Woody.  But now I have a real one).  I quickly opened the oven door and jammed it in the cake.  One more reason for the cake to fail.

It domed up enthusiastically and then fell back down, just like it was supposed to do.

After all the egg drama, I didn't have the heart to make lemon curd.  Who knows what I would have done with that.  So I bought some.  Or, rather, I sent Jim to the grocery store with instructions to get lemon curd without chemicals.  "Eggs, butter, lemon juice, sugar--that's all!"  And he did.  It was good, but not delicious.  Still, mixed in with the whipped cream, it was quite a bit better than all right.

Not a failure at all.  Even though the sides were a little raggedy, they barely showed if you served the cake pointed end pointing toward the cake-eater.  Even though it looked like it was going to be a tragedy, the Renee Fleming cake ended up being a comic opera, and a very delicious one at that.


  1. Excellent outcome! It looks beautiful on your very pretty plates. Good to know this cake is made of sterner stuff than a few frozen egg whites.

  2. I have done that with frozen egg whites many times (the microwaving thing)! For separating eggs, i just crack the egg into a saucer, scoop out the yolk with my hand and put into one bowl and pour the egg white into another. My hands get a bit messy but it goes fast and if a yolk breaks it only contaminates the egg white itcame with. Your cake looks so tall and springy!

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  4. Marie, your cake is lovely and I simply LOVE your crumb. But after reading your post, it moved me to create a new series on my blog entitled Best Practices. I toooo have cracked my yolks in my eggs and was so frustrated! Then I created the technique I have posted that has always worked for me. I sure hope this is helpful! HAPPY BAKING!

    1. What a great idea, Tony! While trying to figure out how to avoid another egg separating mishap, I remembered Rose's hint about cracking the egg on a paper towel (I think she's now discovered an egg-cracking device that she loves), and it really does seem to help. I love how you're looking out for your fellow bakers.

  5. Gorgeous cake! I miss this..I'm hoping to play catch up now that I'm back. I find that the fresher the egg, the easier it is to separate the yolks from the white. If the egg has been sitting around too long then the yolks will break easily. I do the same as Jen too..use my hands. :)