When two favorites become one...banana-chocolate chiffon cake

As much as I love chocolate, it might come as a surprise that a simple, plain chiffon cake is quite possibly my favorite cake of all the ones I've made via this blog.  Okay, maybe I'm not quite ready to commit that it's my absolute favorite but it's right up there.  It is delicious, so ethereally soft and moist, and easy to make too.  It's the kind of everyday cake I like to enjoy often.
Banana chiffon cake with grated chocolate - the marriage of chiffon cake and banana bread with chocolate
So when I received my long awaited copy of Martha Stewart's Cakes, I was naturally drawn to a relatively simple chiffon cake recipe.  Martha's version is a banana chiffon and as my husband pointed out, "anything baked with banana is going to be good", so I decided to take it for a spin.  I've often thought about making an orange or lemon version of the chiffon cake but have been really reluctant to mess with a good great thing.  But I trust Martha.  I've been watching her shows and learning from her since I was a teenager. Before I discovered David Lebovitz and the world of food blogs, it was just Martha.

Seeing the banana chiffon cake also got me thinking about banana bread and our favorite one which has chocolate chips in it.  So instead of just a banana chiffon cake, I decided to add chocolate! Maybe I am too predictable after all.  I grated about 2 1/2 ounces of semisweet chocolate on a box grater and folded it into the batter, creating lovely little specks of chocolate throughout the cake.  In essence, this banana-chocolate chiffon cake I ultimately ended up with is a terrific combination of two of my favorite recipes:
 This chiffon cake...
A recipe from an episode of America's Test Kitchen that grabbed my attention. I've made it at least a dozen times and it has never failed me.  It is infinitely moist, soft, tender, with the pure flavors of eggs and vanilla.  I simply adore it (and many of my friends and family do, too)!

This recipe, slightly modified, came from A Homemade Life by Molly of Orangette.  She is such a great writer and a source of great recipes. This banana bread knocked our socks off the very first time I made it; my husband is a huge fan.  I often buy yogurt just to make this bread and I try to bake extra to freeze because it holds up so well.  After this recipe, whenever I think banana bread, I think chocolate as well.

But back to today's cake...imagine the same fluffy texture and tenderness of a chiffon cake, infused with a gentle banana flavor, and a lingering taste of chocolate in every bite.  The free aromatherapy that comes from baking this banana-chocolate chiffon cake is pure bonus.  Taste-wise, everything is soft and harmonious.  
I really liked how this cake came out.  When I say "soft", I mean that the essence of a chiffon cake is intact in this version.  It's light and simple and while the taste of both the banana and chocolate are clearly present, it's more of a mild presence and not overwhelming.
I will most definitely be making this cake again.  It was well worth shaking things up a little and trying something new.  Discovering little pleasures like this cake reminds me of why I love doing this little blog.  It's made my life a lot more delicious and homemade than it would have been otherwise.  

* And speaking of this blog, I've moved over to my own domain!  I finally ditched the "blogspot" part of my address and moved to my own little home. I actually managed to do it myself, which is quite a feat, believe me.  I patted myself on the back with a slice of this cake.  And as always, thank you for stopping by! * 

This recipe makes a substantial, lofty chiffon cake baked in a 10-inch tube pan.   You could easily get 16 servings out of it.  It's great for a crowd but since it holds so well - staying moist for several days - having a large cake is not a problem!  It's a funny thing but when it comes to chiffon cake, I love it so much that I almost always find myself going back for a second slice!  Knowing that ahead of time, I try to be mindful to cut myself a small first slice.

Everything that goes into this cake is laid out below.  It starts with 7 large eggs, separated.  I actually used 6 extra-large ones.  One ripe banana is all it calls for.  That creates an extremely fragrant cake but the one banana isn't so much that it weighs down the lofty texture of the chiffon. Wet ingredients include water and canola oil instead of butter, which is partly responsible for the moisture and softness and why it keeps so well.
Martha's recipe uses all-purpose flour instead of cake flour.  That worried me a bit because I was concerned about the cake not having as fine or soft a texture as I'm used to but I decided to trust Martha.  I figured the addition of the banana probably helps explain the choice of flour.  You combine the dry ingredients and then the wet.  Pour the wet into the dry, and whisk together until smooth. 
In addition to adding chocolate, I made a few small tweaks to the recipe, mostly using the tips I learned from America's Test Kitchen's recipe that has worked so well for me when it comes to making chiffon cake in the past.  I took a couple of tablespoons of sugar from the dry mix and added it to the whites.  I find that adding a little sugar in the whites really gives them more stability and you have an easier time whipping them to the ideal just-stiff peaks.  (On the general subject of sugar, I know we're supposed to follow  the recipe when baking but I do tend to keep my sugar measurements on the scant side, and that applied in this case too.)

Then, I whisked about a quarter of the beaten whites into the batter to lighten it up before gently folding in the rest of the whites in about 3 installments.  Near the end, I add the grated chocolate.  This is the major addition I made to Martha's recipe.  I grated approximately 2 1/2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate using the largest opening on a box grater.  I didn't want the chocolate to be overwhelming so I didn't go with cocoa powder.  I've seen angel food cake recipes with grated chocolate incorporated into it and I like the idea of having specks of chocolate in this cake.  It adds just enough of a chocolate note and doesn't make it overly rich.
All done - pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan (I love that you don't need to treat your baking pan at all when making chiffon cakes) and bake it in a 350 degree oven for about 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  
And this is what it looks like when it's done.  Now, you must invert the cake and let it cool completely, upside down.  Since my tube pan doesn't have legs to stand on, I save a Pellegrino water bottle just for the job.
It takes about 2-1/2 to 3 hours for the cake to completely cool.  Run a knife around the cake to release it from all its sides and turn it out onto your serving plate.  The crust of the cake is pretty dark so a little dusting of confectioners' sugar on top looks nice before serving.  

Slice into the cake and it is soft and spongy within.  Chiffon cakes, including this one, are so moist that you can hear it when you dig your fork into it!  You see (and taste) the specks of chocolate throughout and you can spot a small piece of banana here and there while the flavor and aroma permeate throughout the whole cake.  It's pretty heavenly, in my opinion!
If you love chiffon cake and banana bread as much as I do, I highly recommend you give this a try!

Recipe:

Banana-Chocolate Chiffon Cake
Adapted from Martha Stewart's Banana Chiffon Cake recipe in Martha Stewart's Cakes (also inspired by this recipe and this one)

- One 10-inch tube cake; Serves 12-16 -

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
7 large eggs, separated (6 extra-large eggs also works)
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated on the largest opening of a box grater
Optional: confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the yolks, oil, water, and vanilla.  Add mashed banana and stir together.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together until just smooth.

Place egg whites along with cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Whip with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until it reaches soft peaks.  Continuing on medium-high, gradually add 2 tablespoons of sugar, and whip the whites until they are just stiff and glossy.

Whisk 1/4 of the whipped egg whites into the batter to lighten it up.  Then fold in the remaining whites, in 3-4 installments.  Avoid over-folding so do not fully incorporate one installment of whites before adding the next.  When you are about halfway done with the final installment of egg whites, add grated chocolate and fold altogether until just combined.

Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan.  Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Turn the cake upside down (over a bottle if your pan does not have "legs") and let cool completely (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours).  Remove the cake by running a knife around the pan, angling the knife towards the pan to try and leave the crust intact on the cake.  Set cake on serving plate and dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.  







62 comments:

  1. This has GOT TO BE one of the best fusions ever!!!! Lovinggggg the look of this banana bread chiffon cake! Oh !!! I am soooo hungry now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I appreciate your enthusiasm, Samina! : ) Banana bread chiffon cake sounds good. We just finished this cake...I'm ready for more.

      Delete
  2. Yay for your own domain Monica! This chiffon cake is the perfect way to celebrate :) It looks so incredible! I love how light and soft chiffon cakes taste and with banana and chocolate together? Oh my goodness, I can imagine how wonderful this cake tastes! It looks so soft and moist, can't wait to try making it one day, thanks for sharing :) Hope you have a wonderful weekend Monica :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! You are too sweet! I was really happy with the way this cake turned out. I didn't expect to like it as much as the "original" chiffon cake from ATK but it is excellent in a different way. I see myself craving it already. I hope you make it one day and enjoy it! xo

      Delete
  3. It has turned out PERFECT! Chiffon and banana cakes are both my favourites.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations for your own domain! Monica I am great fan of Martha Stewart in general. Ilove the texture of your chiffon cake, it looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Balvinder! My favorite thing in the "old" days was watching those solo Martha shows; the Christmas/Thanksgiving specials were my favorite. My husband bought me a bunch of DVDs of those old shows so I can still watch! I'm glad to know you're a of Martha's too.

      And the texture of these chiffon cakes are really amazing. It's like magic. I hear a man named Harry Baker (seriously!) invented the chiffon cake in the 70's...as far as I'm concerned, he was a genius!

      Delete
  5. Congrats on getting your own domain, Monica!! I'm so happy for you! This cake looks awesome with the addition of chocolate, and I love how fluffy and soft it turned out... it is making my mouth water ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Consuelo - thank you! It truly is fluffy and moist but this one has a lot of extra flavor from the banana and bits of chocolate.

      Delete
  6. Oh, I love the delicate nature of chiffon cakes. Yum!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks - glad it looks appealing to you!

      Delete
  7. How did you get that cake so perfect looking? Skill!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're just nice, Pamela. It isn't perfect at all but I'm getting ever so slightly better at removing the cakes without ripping all the sides up like I used to when I first made the chiffon cake. I remember removing mine from the cake pan and then wondering how on earth the lady from America's Test Kitchen removed it on the show and it looked so intact (no ripped sides). I think cooling it very thoroughly helps but I'm not really sure...maybe I'm just not as scared of it anymore. Thank you though! : )

      Delete
  8. What a beautiful cake Monica! I too am a big fan of chiffon / Angel Food cake. Love this flavour combination too!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jo! Thanks so much. I originally bought the tube pan to try angel food cake. I made it once and maybe it was the recipe but I found that, sadly, I didn't like it. So I was trying to find another use for the pan, saw the chiffon cake recipe on TV, and now the tube pan is heavily used in the rotation. : )

      Delete
  9. Congrats on moving over to a new domain! :) And this cake is a great way to celebrate it --yay! Anything with banana and chocolate always gets my vote. YUM! Have a great week Monica!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Anne! I love any and all excuse for cake, not that I need one! : )

      Delete
  10. Congrats on the domain, Monica!! And this cake - holy gorgeous! It's so beautiful and sounds so delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Marie! This big cake was a winner!

      Delete
  11. I LOVE the little flecks of chocolate in this - they're so pretty!! I've never made a chiffon cake before ... and based on your description I think I really need to change that. And congrats on moving over to the new domain! I'm impressed you did it by yourself! haha all that technical stuff still confuses me quite often : )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ashley. I'd never stirred grated chocolate into cake like this before and for whatever reason, I was worried it wouldn't work - like it would just all melt into a big mess. haha - it came out as I hoped. Thank goodness! I am so tech UN-savvy that it is a miracle I managed the feat of switching to the domain. : )

      Delete
  12. This looks addicting!! I bet the flavors are awesome together! P.s. Congrats on the domain!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ashley! Addicting is a hazard in this baking/blogging hobby for sure! Yikes!

      Delete
  13. Monica, I believe when I make this one, it will become a favorite of ours. What a great combinations and it looks delicious, moist and yum. It is perfect. I am gonna print this one.
    You brave girl, congrats on moving. I am thinking of moving to .com and quite overwhelmed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I hope you make this one day! I really enjoyed it.
      As for the .com, I sat on it for months but really wanted to do it. One morning, I just decided to follow instructions and try it. Scary but it worked like a charm. If I can do it, any one can (believe me!!).

      Delete
  14. What a fantastic cake! You've created such a delicious combination, and I swear I can almost taste it. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lovely compliment - thank you so much! : )

      Delete
  15. Congrats on the new domain name, and figuring it out all by yourself :) You certainly earned a piece (or two) of this delicious-looking cake. My fave banana bread recipe has mini choco chips, and I love the texture of chiffon so I definitely have to give this recipe a try. Delicious!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Amy! I can't believe I managed it (though I'm sure it's a simple thing for most people). I did eat quite a few pieces of this cake - it makes a big cake and I sure didn't want to waste a crumb. : ) I hope you make it...I think you'd like it because it's really a combo banana bread w/ choc chips & chiffon!

      Delete
  16. What a wonderful recipe! I love the addition of grated chocolate...because who could resist adding chocolate to any dessert, especially if it's banana!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Monica! You can really taste the grated chocolate and it added just enough for me here. I'll be making it again...

      Delete
  17. Wow, this cake baked up so beautiful! What a beautiful combination of flavors. And congrats on the move to your own domain! How exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  18. This cake looks so light and fluffy! What a change for a banana recipe! I love that the chocolate is grated..so smart!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jenn. I was happy the grated chocolate worked out well. : )

      Delete
  19. I love angel food cake and dislike sponge cake. The textures are similar but I find sponge cake tends to be dry. I honestly don't remember ever having eaten chiffon cake. I think I was worried it would be dry. I didn't realize that chiffon recipes contain oil unlike angel and sponge. Plus this banana recipe would get extra moisture (as well as flavor) from the banana. The shaved chocolate is a lovely visual as well as flavorful addition. I am sold. I am going to try this. ) I love your reviews of recipes, Monica, and appreciate your sharing the good ones!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wendy - I hope you try making a chiffon cake - the plain one I make from America's Test Kitchen is a great one to test drive. It is so good and practically foolproof. Chiffon cakes are moist! I know what you mean about sponge cake - usually, they need a syrup and that's the thing that deters me from making them. When I think "sponge" cake, I think I'm actually visualizing chiffon. It is fluffy and moist, so tender...plus, it keeps well and stays moist for a few days - things both of us are fans of! It's got egg yolks in it unlike angel food and that's the part I love. Can you tell I'm a fan?

      Delete
  20. I just checked my bigger chiffon cake pan (I bought two in Japan this summer!) and it's 21cm, and 10 inch is 25cm... I have to either adjust this recipe or put the extra in another cake pan... but I want to make this!!! Looks so good. I can definitely see whole family enjoying tea time!.. Gotta print out before I forget. Pinned!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just one question... you know, I don't bake enough that I don't know what's cream of tartar and how often this ingredient is used for baking. Is it worth buying for this recipe (would you highly recommend this to be added)? Or is there any substitute or we can omit. I know the result may not be the same, and if this is a cheap ingredient, why not just buy and use it.. right? :D

      Delete
    2. Hi Nami - I just remembered you brought back the chiffon pans - I read that! Yes...you know I think your 21cm pan will work. It rises but I had some room left in mine. We loved this cake but I would also recommend the plain America Test Kitchen recipe I mention here. It works every time and uses a couple less eggs so it's not as huge but baked in same pan I used here.

      Cream of tartar is basically used when you are beating a large amount of egg whites and want to stabilize it and get the most fluff out of it (very scientific explanation, huh?). It is not absolutely necessary so you could omit it. I think it's fairly safe since we do add sugar and that is another way to stabilize them. Alternatively, you can try substituting with a couple splashes of lemon juice of vinegar but I haven't done that before. The little container of cream of tartar is maybe $3-4 but I hear you...who wants to buy something when you rarely use it. If you plan to use your chiffon pans often, it might be worth having in the pantry. Good luck and thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  21. Wow Monica, your cake looks so perfect...I love chiffon cake, and the thought of banana and chocolate without loosing the softness of chiffon...just sound music for my ears...yum!
    Have a wonderful week ahead my dear :D

    ReplyDelete
  22. The idea of making chiffon cake terrifies me a bit but perhaps with Martha's recipe and your tips I'll finally get over it!! Also, congrats on the domain!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Joanne! With the cream of tartar and sugar in the whites, it's easy! And are you kidding me, you're such a pro - I'm sure you can teach a class on making chiffons if you wanted to!

      Delete
  23. look at how beautiful that cake is!!! MONICA IT IS GORGEOUS! do you know that i love a chiffon cake; i think we've had this little conversation before, because of our similar love for things. this one sounds delightful: i love the idea that a banana chocolate classic could get such a light little lift by turning it into chiffon; it's like a perfect combination! that one photo of it all baked and proud from the side with the powdered sugar dusting on top is so pretty it's almost comical. beautiful work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are too kind, Shannon! Seriously - thank you for the sweet comments. I'm just glad the cake came out really tasty - I would hate to regret messing with an old favorite!

      Delete
  24. Beautiful Monica! I love that you combined two favorites into one. Like you, I'm a huge fan of a good chiffon cake. When done properly, there is nothing better! I'm also a huge fan of banana bread (nothing reminds me of home more!) so I know I would love this inventive combo. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Monet. Us ladies love chiffon cakes, don't we! We have good taste. : )

      Delete
  25. Yum! Bananas and chocolate! Looks so perfect and light. I have not tried any of Martha's cakes, can you believe that? Are her recipes good? I will need to check this out :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tiffany - I probably started watched Martha when I was a pre-teen, before I went to patisseries and before the world of food blogs and all the food shows everywhere now! Her recipes were my go-to and they rarely failed me. To this day, she's still that kind of standard for me. I love her books - the photos, the small twists to recipes that make them work, the "lessons". Many of my favorite recipes are "Marthas". : )

      Delete
  26. I might have to think of something like this for my dad! And kudos for the domain change. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Alyssa. Hope you make something delicious for your dad soon!

      Delete
  27. Superb cake! I don't have a tube pan and was planning on getting one. Will the cake fall out if I invert it on a bottle after it's cooled. Sorry for the silly question but was wondering.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Asmita - thank you! It's not a silly question at all!! When I first made a chiffon and went to turn it upside down, it felt so crazy and I was afraid the cake would pop right out too! But it does not fall out after it's cooled - definitely not so no worries. It is firmly attached to the pan. Once it is fully cooled, you need to run a sharp knife all around the sides and bottom of the tube pan to get the cake out.

      I hope that helps and I hope you get a tube pan to make your own chiffons. They are so light and moist and surprisingly easy to make! : )

      Delete
  28. You are definitely Queen of light and airy cakes!! This looks divine :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ha! Don't know about that...chiffons are surprisingly easy to make. I really enjoy eating them! : )

      Delete
  29. Dear Monica, thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe (it's my husband's favorite flavor-combination)! May I ask if it still possible to use cake flour for this as I don't think I would like to buy another type of flour (I have 5 different kinds already)? Or should I just trust Martha like you did?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also, can I use the exact same measurements for me 21cm cake pan? Thank you in advance and have a lovely day ahead :)

      Delete
    2. I wish I could tell you for sure about the flour. My suspicion is that cake flour works (it certainly does for the plain chiffon I make and love) but I think the addition of the bananas makes the batter heavier and thus, the use of plain all-purpose flour. I can only tell you I know for sure all-purpose flour works here so I'm not sure you want to take the chance...

      And is 21 cm about a 9 inch pan? Is it at least 3 inches tall? I'm thinking your pan is likely too small. This bakes up into a huge cake and I'd hate for you to have cake overflow and a huge mess! I use a tube pan and I think the capacity is at least 14-16 cups of batter. This conversion site might be helpful to you: http://www.joyofbaking.com/PanSizes.html

      Good luck with your cake-making. I hope you make this favorite combination of your hubby's for him soon. Thanks!

      Delete
    3. Dear Monica, thank you so much for your tremendous help; I really appreciate you explaining about the pan sizes for me too. :) You are really kind and generous! Thank you for sharing this recipe with me. :) Take care!

      Delete
    4. It's my pleasure...I wish I could be more helpful. Thank *you* so much for your nice comments and for following up. Happy Holidays!

      Delete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...