Monday 10 March 2014

Tomato and Cheese Chiffon "Tomatoes" -- A Savory Chiffon!

I have been wanting to do a savory bake for my mum who has diabetes so I came up with my first savory chiffon. Tomato and cheese chiffon cupcakes!

This is totally experimental and I expected it to fail or taste weird but my mum, hubby and the littlest member of my family gave it a thumbs up! Only my elder kid thinks it's weird and did not want to have more after a nibble. Do not think of this as a chiffon cake when you take a bite of it to enjoy this new creation of mine. It's like a soft and fluffy tomato and cheese focaccia that is loaded with flavor but made almost the same way as regular chiffon cakes. I was pleasantly surprised that the surface of the cakes turned out glossy... like real tomatoes!

Here's the recipe that I came up with (makes 6-8 cupcakes):

Egg yolk batter
2 egg yolks (preferably large eggs)
35g tomato puree (I used canned ones but you can make your own)
22g light olive oil
10g finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning (you may add more but I didn't want the herbs to spoil the "tomato" look)
37g cake flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Red and orange gel food coloring (optional)

3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
5g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
2. Whisk the egg yolks together with olive oil, followed by tomato paste and cheese. Add salt, garlic powder, onion powder and Italian seasoning, and whisk until well incorporated.
3. Sift together cake flour and baking powder and gradually add to the batter, whisking until no trace of flour can be seen.
4. You may want to add a bit of red and teeny bit of orange food coloring to make the cake look more realistic but this is optional. My egg yolk batter looks like this:

5. Use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites in a clean metal bowl. Add cream of tartar when the whites are foamy. When soft peaks are formed, gradually add in the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. The meringue is less smooth and shiny than when more sugar is used. I was contemplating omitting sugar altogether but I didn't know if it would affect the texture and stability of the meringue too much so I settled for a small amount of sugar that comes up to less than 1g per cupcake.
6. Fold in one third of the meringue into the egg yolk batter until no trace of egg whites can be seen. Gently but quickly fold in the rest of the meringue in two additions.
7. Tap the mixing bowl a few times on the table top to release any trapped bubbles. Spoon the batter into small round bottomed glass bowls/ metal molds until they are slightly more than half full.
8. Bake for 15 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 150 degrees Celsius and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Immediately invert the bowls onto a cooling rack after removing from the oven to cool if the tops of the cakes are not above the rim of the bowls.
9. Unmold the cakes by hand and place in paper cupcake liners. I decided to make them look real by topping them with tomato stems :P.

Here's a peek at the inside of a tomato wannabe...

If you ever dare to try making this (some people still think that it's weird to have a savory chiffon), I hope you enjoy it as much as my mum did :).

With love,
Phay Shing

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