Tangerine Poppy Seed Chiffon Cake

Tangerine Poppy Seed Chiffon Cake

It all began at a citrus packing distribution center in Fort Myers. I had mis-labeled a package and was watching the tracking bounce the gift all over the state of Florida. Finally the website indicated its location at a USPS sorting facility near my friend's home, so I asked her to go pick up her gift and save us both some time. She agreed, but thirty minutes later I received a confused call from from her telling me the post office I sent her to did not exist. "It has to." I say, "It's on google maps! It's there I promise."

She searched some more and found herself in a poorly labeled building. That's when I got the second - this one a bit more amused than confused "I have no idea where I am. There's oranges everywhere. This lady gave me a map to get to the post office" They provided her with an actual laminated "you are here" map complete with arrows and diagrams for her to find her way to the small post office area on the other side of what she determined to be a cross between a citrus distribution facility and those citrus tourist stops off the i75 exits. With much skill she decoded her citrusy treasure map and finally reached the USPS area and was promptly told the package had already departed the facility. Rats.

However, her journey was not fruitless (heh.) and she returned home with an entire bag of fresh Florida tangerines. A few days later, I received two tangerines and a bottle of tangerine oil. Hey, at least one of us can use the postal service, right?

When I stumbled across the recipe for Tangerine Poppyseed Chiffon Cake I was instantly smitten. Everything from the tiny black poppy seeds, to the spongy chiffon cake, to the tangy citrus made me want to bake it immediately. As I read the recipe, the author notes that they cake was good BUT the tangerine flavor was too subtle due to a lack of tangerine oil which she could not locate. My heart lit up-- I HAD TANGERINE OIL. Who knew it was so difficult to find?! And here I had a tiny vile of only 30mL sitting in my pantry. Yes, this my friends....is baking fate. 

Tangerine Poppyseed Chiffon Cake
Difficulty: advanced

1¾ cups cake flour
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons, plus ¼ cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2oz cup poppy seeds 
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons flavorless vegetable oil
6 large eggs, separated
finely grated zest of 2 large tangerines
½ cup strained freshly squeezed tangerine juice
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon pure tangerine oil
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar

3 cups confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons tablespoons strained freshly squeezed tangerine juice
1/8 teaspoon pure tangerine oil

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Have ready an ungreased 10in Tube Pan with removable bottom

2. In a large bowl, sift the cake flour, the 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt

3. Add the poppy seeds and whisk to blend.

4. Make a well in the center and pour in the oil, egg yolks, tangerine zest and juice, vanilla extract, and tangerine oil. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is very smooth. Set aside.

5. Make sure your whisk attachment (or beaters) and your mixing bowl are scrupulously clean. In the bowl of the stand mixer, whip the egg whites on medium just until frothy.  Add the cream of tartar and whip on medium-high until soft peaks form. With the mixer on medium, slowly add the remaining ¼ cup of granulated sugar and whip until the whites hold very firm peaks. To check for firm peaks, with a spoon scoop bowl when the spoon was lifted should hold their shape.

6. Use the spatula to gently stir a mound of beaten whites into the bowl of batter. This step slightly lightens and loosens the mixture, making it easier to fold in the remaining whites without deflating them. Scrape the remaining egg whites into the bowl and gently but thoroughly fold them into the batter until no streaks of egg whites remain. 

7. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the cake has risen, the top is lightly golden and feels firm to the touch, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

8. Immediately invert the pan onto a bowl or glass balancing it on the inner tube. Allow to cool completely, at least 2 hours.

9. Invert the cake so it is right side up. Run the thin, flexible knife or spatula around the edges to loosen it from the pan. As you do this, gently press the knife into the side of the pan to avoid gouging the cake. Push the removable bottom upward to free the cake from the side. Run the same knife around the inside tube and along the bottom of the cake, if necessary, to finish loosening it. Place a plate on top of the cake and invert, removing the cake from the pan.

Frosting: Combine all ingredients until smooth, adjusting the powdered sugar and tangerine juice for the correct consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake. 

Recipe adapted from: Technicolor Kitchen

Candied Tangerine Slices
Difficulty: Intermediate

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 tangerines, cut into slices

1. Add sugar and water to a pot, on the heat to dissolve the sugar

2. When sugar is dissolved, add in tangerine slices (or peels) and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally

3. Take pot off heat and let rest for 10 minutes

4. Put pot back on heat and simmer for another 30-45 minutes (stirring occasionally), you want the citrus to look completely translucent and you want the syrup to be thick enough to be coating the spoon or spatula that you are using to stir.

5. Take the citrus out of the syrup (don’t throw the syrup away! It would be divine on pancakes) and lay them on a rack to cool.

6. Place atop chiffon cake for decoration

Recipe from: Mad Mad Me

Photos by: Zac Wolf Photography

Chief Distraction Officer Lolli the cat "helps" me decorate | Becca Bakes (www.becca-bakes.com)

Chief Distraction Officer Lolli the cat "helps" me decorate | Becca Bakes (www.becca-bakes.com)

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