Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Mango & Passion Fruit Chiffon

I woke up slightly early on a weekend morning (it was quite late as compared to a weekday though) to take photos of this mango and passion fruit chiffon cake which I baked the night before.

It was a good decision to scarify 15 minutes of my sleep. Although it was only 7.30am in the morning, the sun was shinning so brightly that it cast beautify rays all over the chiffon cake...making it looked just like a golden ring. The passion fruit seeds on the cake were actually dazzling under the sun ;) My 6-year-old point-and-shoot camera works great when there is plenty of natural light. It is only 4 mega pixels (even my not-so-high-end mobile phone is equipped with a 5 mega pixel camera), but it has been my companion for the past 4 years. All the food photos I posted here are taken with this humble idiot proof camera :')

I made this chiffon cake with my homemade mango and passion fruit jam (recipe here). Don't be fooled by the above images...those nice, clean edges and the golden crust certainly give the impression that the cake was dry and hard. No, it was not dry at all, in fact, the crumb was soft and tender, so moist that I could hear the 'squish' sound when I sink the knife into it. Try squeezing a damp sponge and you would know what I mean.

I added about 1 teaspoon of passion fruit seeds in the cake batter. The seeds give a very interesting crunch to the texture. You could hear the seeds 'popping' away in your ears when you bite into them...and it was like biting into some crispy shells!

As usual, my oven was not in the mood to corporate with me whenever I used it to bake a chiffon cake. The cake climbed almost to the top of the 'chimney', yet, before the baking time was up, it sank like Titanic. I knew it would happen, as the oven temperature dropped by 20degC, 10 mins after I popped in the pan. No, I did not open the oven door when the cake was baking. I should have preheat it 20degC higher, but I was many months ago since I last baked a chiffon. When it was completely cooled, the cake was just hovering over the rim. My small 20 litres oven (it can't even fit in a 12" pizza pan!) works fine for other cakes and could even churn out gorgeous breads, but it was only a couple of times I managed to get a nice domed chiffon cake :'(

I was lucky that the cake was nicely baked though...there wasn't any huge holes, or a slightly dense layer at the bottom. This time, instead of beating the egg whites to stiff peak, I stopped when it reached the 'soft peak' stage.

I have always thought that to make a chiffon cake, the egg whites have to be beaten to 'stiff peaks', which I have interpreted as beating the whites all the way to stiffness...that is, the peaks will have to hold up straight, at a 90 degree angle when I lift up the paddle. However, according to some other cookbooks, the egg whites should only be beaten to the 'soft peaks' that it would be easier to blend with the yolk mixture. It is a tricky business to identify the 'right' soft peak stage. It takes only seconds to cross from soft peaks to stiff peaks. As a guide, the soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the whites curl over and droop slightly. If the whites appear too liquid/runny or soft, you are not there yet, it should also stick to the sides of the bowl and appear glossy and silky. The best way to avoid over beating, is to check every few seconds and turn to low speed when you feel that it almost reaches the soft peak stage.

Although a little on the sweet side, I like how fresh and fruity this cake tasted. The fragrant from the passion fruit was very distinct. I would have baked another right away, but my younger child was strongly against the idea...he would rather save the jam for his breakfast toast. (*^^*)

Mango and Passion Fruit Chiffon Cake

(makes one 18cm cake)

100g cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
50ml vegetable oil
40ml passion fruit juice (from about 1 ~ 2 passion fruits)
3 tablespoons mango and passion fruit jam* (recipe here)

3 egg whites
40g caster sugar

  1. Cut and remove pulps from passion fruits, drain and retain the juice. Reserve 1 teaspoon of the seeds.
  2. Sieve flour and baking powder together, set aside.
  3. Separate egg yolks/whites and bring to room temperature. (It is easier to separate eggs when they are cold.)
  4. Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl, add sugar (in 3 separate additions) and with a manual whisk, whisk till the mixture becomes sticky and turns pale. Drizzle in the oil, whisking at the same time till the mixture is well combined. Repeat the same with passion fruit juice. Add in mango and passion fruit jam, and the passion fruit seeds, mix to combine. Sieve over the flour mixture and whisk until flour mixture is fully incorporated into the batter. (Note, this recipe yields a rather thick yolk mixture.)
  5. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer until mixture becomes frothy and foamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. (The soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the whites curl over and droop slightly.)
  6. Add the beaten egg white into the egg yolk batter in 3 separate additions, each time folding gently with a spatula until just blended.
  7. Pour batter into a 17cm tube pan (do not grease the pan). Tap the pan lightly on a table top to get rid of any trapped air bubbles in the batter.
  8. Bake in pre-heated oven at 170 degC for 45 ~ 50mins or until the cake surface turns golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and invert the pan immediately. Let cool completely before unmould. To remove the cake from the pan, run a thin-bladed knife around the inside of the pan and the center core. Release the cake and run the knife along the base of the pan to remove the cake.
*Note: you may use any of your favourite  jam, just replace the passion fruit juice with any fruit juice of your choice.


  1. Delicious! I love how your chiffons always have the "pork floss" look. So pretty!

  2. HHB, your chiffon cake looks so beautiful & yummy. Haiz... hope i will soon be able to bake the chiffon cake sucessfully & beautiful like yours.

  3. I read somewhere and it says peaks that just defy gravity but not stiff. I think stiff peaks can still be blended into the yolk-flour batter easily. Take 1/3 of the egg whites and add that to yolk-flour batter. WHISK to combine well. When the batter is lighter in texture, FOLD IN the rest of the egg white peaks with a spatula. You are always so good in baking chiffons HHB, the cake is beautiful and no, it doesn't look dry at all in my opinion!

  4. I love chiffon! Must try the mango version some day.

  5. This is sure a great treat for weekend breakfast :)All your chiffon cakes are so lovely.... love those golden crust you had :)

  6. Chiffon cake is one f my top favourite. It is so light and soft I think I can eat the whole cake myself. Your mango one looks very delicious.

  7. WOW! Very beautiful clicks and I love chiffon cake too. Looks so yummy!

  8. Mmm, I imagine mango and passionfruit would make for a really delicious combination!

    And your site, HHB, is absolute proof that you don't need an expensive and fancy camera to take gorgeous photos!

  9. I haven't baked a chiffon in ages and will have to try this. I will be following you to see more of your great recipes! Yum! Thanks!

  10. I love visiting your blog! Everything looks so delicious! And you have a great talent to take pictures!!!

  11. What I always do when making chiffon cakes is I keep it to medium peaks. once u get to soft, use a slower speed for a couple of minutes, that way it doesn't dry the meringue. But chiffon cake relies on the folding method. If it's soft peak, fold extra gentle. If it's stiff, you can be a little rough in the beginning to 'thin' down the meringue. It works all the time :) But nice chiffon !!

  12. can I have a little too? :) I love each chiffon cake!

  13. So pretty! I like that it only requires three eggs. So far all the recipes I've used require 6 or more.
    Thanks for the tip on the egg whites.

  14. Hi,
    My friend stays in Singapore and I want to send her a care package from here (New York).
    She loves to bake and cook. Could you please suggest some stuff I could send to her that is hard or impossible to find in Singapore? Like any baking ingredients, equipment or specialty foods.

  15. wow! a 5 mega pixel camera! that's impressive!
    and so is the chiffon :)
    looks scrumptious! :D

  16. Hi Quinn, thanks for sharing your tips :) I have tried folding one third of the whites with a whisk, then the rest I changed it to a spatula. I am not sure whether I am doing the correct thing though ;) I guess I have to practise more!

    thecoffeesnob, I think if I were given a DSLR, I would probably don't know how to use it. So I am sticking it to my old camera...I just need to point and shoot ;p

    Thanks Swee San! I changed the speed to the lowest when the whites start to turn into soft peaks. If the whites are too stiff, I tend to have problem blending it into the yolk mixture, there are always lumps of whites trapped in the yolk mixture, so I think I tend to deflate the volume quite a fair bit...oso the consistency of the yolk batter also matters. A thicker batter is harder to blend.

    Hi Kirbie, do note that this recipe is meant for 18cm pan, I think u need 6 eggs for a larger pan.

  17. Hi HHB,
    You always have very nice pictures and provided you've nicely baked goods! May be you can share some tips with us how you took such a nice picture for your blog :) Cheers!

  18. Hi Chaitali, thanks for visiting :) I am afraid I am not able to make any I usually use very simple ingredients that are easily available here. I don't own any special equipments or cake pans too. The only thing I can think of is, maybe you can send your friend some good quality baking chocolates, chocolate chips or cocoa powder. Or maybe pure vanilla extract or vanilla paste (Nielsen-Massey) although it is available here, it is very expensive compared to the price you could get in the States. Hope you find this helps :)

    Hi Grace, nah, I don't know much about photography! My photos are all point and shoot. As long as there is plenty of natural light, the picture quality will be good. I just set the camera to auto-mode, turn on the macro function and click away ;')

  19. This look simply tropical fruity delicious. :)

  20. Yet another beautiful and delicious cake. Bravo! Regarding cameras, the image quality of point and shoot ones top out around 4 megapixels. Any higher than that, and they're just trying to cram too much information onto the tiny mechanism. (I forget what it's called, but there's only so much data the doodad can handle nicely.) Then the photos actually turn out grainy/noisy more often than they should despite the higher number of pixels sounding more impressive. Just stick with your tried and true since it gives you great results.

    Anyway, you'd probably prefer to put your money toward a new oven if you had the choice. :)

  21. Love your mango passion fruit chiffon cake! And as usual, your photos are as good as (or much better than) those in the magazines and cookbooks. :)

    I have a special talent for remembering birthdates. I think yours was just a few days ago. I was waiting for you to write about it but u didn't. So here I wish you a belated Happy Birthday and Happy Mother's Day! :)

  22. HHB, beautiful chiffon cake! You've nailed it nicely!

  23. HHB,
    Thats a very well done chiffon cake!

    Where did you get the chiffon tin? I like the almost 90 deg side of the tin, have been hunting for such tin for a while.


  24. Hi FL Mom, thanks for your info :) I didnt know about it! I only heard about the no. of pixels wont really matters if you share your photos online. Yes, I would rather get a new oven ;)

    SSB, you are so sweet! Yes, my bday over...nothing to be happy about ;) I made a cake but have yet to upload the photos, I am quite behind time when it comes to blog posting!

    Thanks Shirley, I have got a lot to learn from you, you bake great chiffon cakes!

  25. That's alright! Thanks for your help :)

  26. I like your blog, i will check it out

  27. I like your recipe and will try it. whether it is easy to do?. I modify the mango as ingredients for making cakes. the recipe came from my grandmother and mother. maybe you also want to comment on

  28. Hi HHB,
    Ur chiffon cakes always look fabulous. Can u advise where did u buy ur 7 inch chiffon tin?


  29. Hi Rebecca, I got the pan from Phoon Huat a couple of years ago. I think it is no longer available, you can call to check with them.

  30. Thks for the info!


  31. Hi there! Great recipe... sooo I have a question. My cake deflated. And I followed the directions precisely. Where did I go wrong? Should I have increased the heat during preheating or what? Does it matter that I added a little more fruit components to the batter? I was afraid that the egg whites wouldn't incorporate well enough to the the batter (it came out thick like you said...) so I added a very tiny amount more fruity wetness to make it easier to blend in with the egg whites. Perhaps I should've left it alone? Any help is appreciated because if I bake cakes, I usually prefer them to be very light and fluffy. Don't like anything too sweet and neither do my parents. Thanks!

    1. What about the beating of the eggs? Did you over beat it? Was the final batter thick and had volume or thin and runny? If it was thin and runny and the chiffon pan was not filled to at least 75% full, you could have deflated the batter while blending the whites to the yolk batter, as a result your cake did not rise.