Time Travel Kitchen
Chiffon Cake, a 1920’s Creation
When I made this Orange Chiffon Cake recently I thought — why don’t I eat more oranges?
They’re so good, and my kitchen was scented with them the whole time I was baking.
We’re entering peak season for citrus fruit, when they are at their sweetest and juiciest and I’m so glad this cake reminded me of that.
This recipe is from Anne Byrn, baker and bestselling cookbook author, from her book American Cake which tells ‘the stories and recipes behind over 125 of our best-loved cakes.’
I have turned to Anne’s book so many times over the course of writing this newsletter to learn about the history of what I’ve been baking, but also for inspiration. Her down-to-earth style and humor (‘I was a clue on Jeopardy!’ is in her Instagram bio) make them a joy to read and bake from. (She really was a clue on Jeopardy).
A History of Chiffon Cake
American Cake recounts the colorful story of Chiffon Cake created in the 1920’s by the aptly named Harry Baker. He went from salesman to home baker to baking cakes for the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles.
His secret ingredient: vegetable oil, creating a cake light as angel food, but oh-so-moist.
Harry wanted to make sure he kept it secret, so he’d dispose of his own garbage so no food spy would discover it.
He sold the recipe to General Mills in 1948, and his now not-so-secret ingredient ushered in the practice and option of substituting oil for butter in recipes and changed baking.
Orange Chiffon Cake
This recipe from American Cake is light and fluffy and moist, full of orange flavor and a touch of lemon. It’s such a pretty color, with flecks of orange zest throughout.
It’s easy to make, delicious and you can add different toppings if you like. I went with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, but the recipe also offers an orange glaze that I’ve included.
Many thanks, Anne Byrn for permission to include your recipe, and congratulations on your latest book, A New Take On Cake !
Link to Substack: Annebyrn.substack.com
See you next Friday and have a great weekend!
Source: Byrn, Anne. American Cake, New York: Rodale, 2016.