At around noon yesterday, a friend of mine invited me to go along to a local county fair. She then told me that there was a chiffon cake contest at the fair, and that I should enter. Now I’m not one to pass on a challenge, but this didn’t leave me a whole lot of time to plan and make a cake, especially since I don’t have a regular chiffon cake recipe I rely on. I started searching for ideas, and my mom suggested a watermelon flavored cake. I thought it would be fun to make the inside of the cake red, sprinkle chocolate chips into the batter, and cover the cake with green frosting so that it would look like a watermelon. Unfortunately I was rushing to get this ready, and so the outside didn’t look all that pretty. However, once it was cut, it looked pretty nice. I also thought it tasted nicely watermelony. Unfortunately, the cake didn’t win the competition, but it’s still pretty good.
Watermelon Chiffon Cake
1 ½ cups strained watermelon puree
1 ¼ cups + 2 Tbs granulated sugar
6 extra large egg yolks
¼ tsp grated orange zest
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
6 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup mini chocolate chips (As seeds, optional)
Red Gel Food Coloring (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the watermelon puree and 2 T of sugar in heavy bottomed sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce over high heat, until ¾ cup of the mixture remains (about 5 minutes). Set aside and let cool
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, vegetable oil, vanilla, orange zest, and cooled watermelon puree
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, ¾ cup of sugar, salt, and baking powder.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour, and pour in the egg mixture. Fold them together until fully combined
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg whites using the whisk attachment. When they are foamy, add the cream of tartar and the remaining ½ cup of sugar. Beat the egg whites until they are foamy, firm, but not to the point of stiff peaks.
- Fold the egg whites into the batter, ¼ of the egg white mixture at a time. Add the food coloring with the first set of whites, so that it mixes well by the time you are done. Fold in the Chocolate Chips.
- Pour the batter into a 9 ½ inch tube pan. Smooth out the bottom. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan, then use a knife to loosen it, and flip it on to a cooling rack
2 cups strained watermelon puree
½ cup sugar
- Mix watermelon and sugar in a large, heavy bottomed sauce pan
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce by half (to 1 cup), about 7 minutes.
- Once Syrup is cool, use a pastry brush to liberally apply to the watermelon chiffon cake.
Vanilla Swiss Meringue Butter Cream
4 Large Egg Whites
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 Sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Green Gel Food Coloring (optional)
- Put egg whites and sugar in a bowl over a double boiler. Whisk the eggs until they are foamy and warm to the touch (about 160 degrees)
- Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat, and pour them into the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Turn the heat off under the double boiler.
- Whip the egg white and sugar mixture on high speed until the eggs reach stiff peaks (I didn’t let mine get all the way to the stiff peaks phase, and as a result the frosting wasn’t really pipe-able).
- Once the eggs have reached stiff peaks, replace the whisk attachment with the paddle attachment. Add the butter two tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Once the butter is fully incorporated and the frosting is smooth, add the vanilla and food coloring, and beat until combined.
- Chill the frosting until it is a spread able constituency, and frost the cake.
I drizzled a simple glaze made of water, powdered sugar, and green food coloring over the cake to try to make it look a little more like a watermelon, I didn't really think it added much though.