Osmanthus flower has a light and refreshing aroma that is reminiscent of sweet apricots. The flowers are often added to dessert and tea to enhance flavor. My childhood acquaintance with Osmanthus came from the Chinese legend about Mid Autumn Festival in which Wu Gang, a woodcutter, was made to chop down a magical, self healing osmanthus tree in the Moon Palace from the moon as a lifetime punishment by the Jade Emperor. My dried osmanthus flower didn’t come from the magical tree but from my local Chinese herb store. I spent CAD$5 for a palm-sized bag and the store owner taught me to transfer the dried flowers to an airtight glass container after opening in order to preserve the fragrance. Now I keep my flowers in a mason jar. it would probably last for some time as only a small amount of buds is required each time
Osmanthus Chiffon Cake
For 7” tube pan
80 g cake and pastry flour
4 tsp dried osmanthus flower
4 large eggs, separated
50 g grapeseed oil
70 g hot water
40 g granulated sugar
1 Tbsp osmanthus syrup
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
Notes: The eggs I use are about 50 g each without shells.
Separate the eggs and place the egg whites In a clean mixing bowl (I usually wipe the bowl and the wire beater with paper towel dampened with vinegar or lemon juice to remove traces of grease). Preheat oven to 325ºF/160ºC.
Pick out the impurities from the osmanthus flower if there’s any. Pour hot water over the buds and steep for 5 minutes. Strain the buds and measure 55 g of the osmanthus liquid. Set aside to cool.
Place sifted flour into another mixing bowl. Make a well in the center then pour in the oil, osmanthus liquid, osmanthus syrup and egg yolks. Whisk gently until incorporated. Set aside.
With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar (to stabilize the meringue) and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar in batches and continue beating until glossy and firm peaks form. When you lift up the whisk, the peak will hold its shape but the tip will fall back slightly.
Scoop about one third of the meringue into the yolk batter and fold with a whisk to lighten. Then scrape this back into the bowl of meringue. Fold gently and thoroughly (so you don’t deflate the meringue) with a spatula until homogeneous.
Pour batter into the ungreased tube pan. Tap pan against the kitchen countertop several times to get rid of any large air bubbles. Smooth top with an offset spatula.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. Every oven is different so adjust baking time accordingly. Drop cake pan on the kitchen countertop at a distance upon removal from the oven. This will release any gas trapped in the cake cells and minimize shrinkage. Invert pan on a wire rack to cool completely before unmolding.
For neater cracks, bake for 8 to 10 minutes until a skin forms on the cake surface. Take the cake out and make four to six slits with a greased knife with thin blade. Continue baking until cake is done. **Picture taken from Black Sesame Chiffon Cake**
Below video is a demonstration of removing the cake with bare hands.
To preserve the fragrance. I store the dried osmanthus flowers in a mason jar with tight-fitting lid.
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