Yuzu Chiffon ゆずシフォンケーキ
The original idea was to make a matcha chiffon with a newly acquired chiffon mold. While rampaging through my box of ingredients from our recent trip to Kansai, I suddenly remembered that I’d not made anything with the yuzu powder we’d brought back! So an immediate switch of plans to make a yuzu chiffon instead!
Yuzu powder ゆず粉末 from Kyoto. The bottle stating 極上柚子 “Premium Yuzu” is from 產寧坂, also known as 三年坂 “sannen zaka” near Kiyomizu-dera 京都清水寺 in Eastern Kyoto. The packet versions are from 七味家, a store specialises in Japanese spices collectively known as “辛七味 shichimi” which includes togarashi 唐辛子 (chilli pepper), sansho 山椒 (pepper) and sometimes yuzu when its in season! I bought pure yuzu powder ground from dried yuzu rind. We bought the first packet of yuzu powder from the main shop which is incidentally more than 350 years old and is also near Kiyomizu-dera. I was so excited when I first saw it as its one of the things on my “must buy” list for this trip and we were hunting for it high and low in Osaka for 2 days before to no avail! The other two packets were from Takashimaya in downtown Kyoto. Oddly outside Kyoto, they were no where to be found. Perhaps we didn’t look intently enough. Alas, the ones we’d got should last me for quite some time 🙂
Note the difference in the kanji “柚子” and hiragana “ゆず” forms of the japanese script when purchasing it. However, the characteristic yellow coloration is quite unmistakable!
Since its going to be a yuzu chiffon cake, just yuzu powder alone is not quite enough! So in comes yuzu juice and yuzu confiture!
On the left, bottles of yuzu juice bought locally. Since the yuzu season is way over, I’d to resort to using these bottles which I’d been “saving up” for the occasion. In the middle is yuzu confiture which I’d made when the fruit was available locally 2-3 months back using more or less the same recipe as my blood orange confiture. I’d cut back on the sugar as I wanted to accentuate the intense acrid tones of the fruit. As a result, this confiture needs to be refrigerated unlike the blood orange one. And they are freaking expensive!!! A small glass container like this is packed with rind of about half a dozen of fruits. Not quite sure if that’s a worthwhile “investment” afterall. Lastly, yuzu powder from kyoto. I wish you could smell the aroma from here!
And now for the recipe, which is really a mix-and-match of several book and online recipes I’d come across. Lots of trial and error here.
5 egg yolks (I’d used medium-sized eggs at ~56g each)
75 ml corn oil
150g of yuzu confiture
75 ml of yuzu juice
120g plain flour (I’d used Bakeking Top Flour)
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp yuzu powder
For the meringue
5 egg whites
60g caster sugar
In a bowl, sift plain flour, baking powder and yuzu powder twice and mix thoroughly with a spatula or spoon
Warm yuzu juice in a small saucepan and add yuzu confiture. Stir mixture until a runny consistency is obtained. Add water if the concoction is still too viscous. Leave to cool.
In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks until creamy
Using a handwhisk, add corn oil followed by wet yuzu concoction, and finally the dry ingredients mixture. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside
To make the meringue, beat egg whites in a clean dry mixing bowl with very gradual additions of caster sugar until stiff peaks are JUST formed. Do not overbeat the meringue.
To the flour mixture, add 1/3 of meringue and fold in quickly until just incorporated.
Repeat with another 1/3 of the meringue (which is 1/2 of the remaining meringue).
Pour mixture back into mixing bowl with the last remaining meringue and fold until just incorporated.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170C for about 40 min until a light brown hue
Invert the chiffon mold onto a cooling tray. I personally like to “air” the cake by balancing the tube insert on an tall, inverted glass.
When the cake has cooled down sufficiently, run a knife or metal spatula along the perimeters of the mold. Push the tube insert out of the ring insert carefully to dislodge the cake.
Leave it to cool down completely before cutting.
Notes and Reflections
My first chiffon after a long hiatus from this cake, and I’m quite satisfied with the results. The aroma is unbelievable. Trust me, there’s no such thing as a yuzu overkill.
yuzu juice and yuzu powder though from the same fruit imbue quite different qualities altogether. The former is more for the astringency while the latter is for the perfumed aroma. and one’s not the same without the other, though i’m more partial to aroma than astringency. The smell of a yuzu fruit is quite unparallel to anything else in the world. The closest I would think, is a sour grapefruit (not the ruby red variety). But even then, the difference between the two is quite distinct.
The amount of water to be added depends on the viscosity of the yuzu confiture used. Incidentally, the latter can be replaced with store-bought Korean citron tea (Yuja Cha) since yuzu confiture isn’t exactly an everyday commodity. However, I would use only the rind by “rinsing” out most of the syrup with a bit of warm water. As mentioned, the intense aroma and sharp flavours yuzu impart are the much desired qualities of this cake. The sourness can be made less pronounced, and hence “more acceptable” by adding 20g of caster sugar to the egg yolks but I wouldn’t go further than that. If sour and tang is not an intended flavours in mind, forget about using yuzu and do a pandan chiffon instead.
I think I’d folded the mixture a tad too much and thus deflated the batter quite substantially in the process. The structure of the cake is denser than what I’d perceived but alas it came out sufficiently soft and fluffy as well.
now that yuzu is done, I think it’ll be back to the basics with a pandan chiffon!