A friend of mine told me that her banana chiffon cake didn’t rise much and asked if I knew the reason why. I’ve written a recipe on Chocolate Banana Chiffon Cake quite some time ago and I didn’t take many pictures that time. I couldn’t remember how much my cake rose. As I happened to have some ripen bananas that nobody would like to eat, I immediately began making one to see how mine performed. So my guess was that too much banana would weigh down the cake, causing a burden to the meringue. To tackle this issue, first of all we need to refrain from adding too much banana. Other than that, for cake batter containing heavy ingredients such as mashed banana and purple sweet potato, consider whipping the meringue a bit firmer than usual. Sturdier meringue has stronger structure which is more capable of withstanding heavier batter. Such strategy also works well on Chocolate Chiffon Cake in which the fats from the cocoa powder would cause the meringue to deflate.
Banana Chiffon Cake
For 6” extra tall tube pan
80 g cake and pastry flour
A pinch of salt
1 medium ripe banana (80 – 100 g without peel)
30 g milk
4 large egg yolks
35 g grapeseed oil or vegetable oil
4 large egg whites
1/2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice (I use Korean apple vinegar)
50 g granulated sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
Notes: the eggs I use each has a net weight of 50 – 55 g.
Mash banana with a fork. Separate the egg whites and egg yolks. Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
Sift together the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center then pour in the egg yolks, milk, mashed banana and oil. Whisk gently until incorporated. Set aside.
Place egg whites and vinegar in another impeccably clean mixing bowl (I usually wipe the bowl and the wire beater with a paper towel dampened with vinegar or lemon juice to remove traces of grease). With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites 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 with a small, pointy tip with minimal flopping. Beat with low speed towards the end and pay attention to the shape of the peak.
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 an unprepared 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 at 325ºF/160ºC for approximately 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, and that the cake has risen to its maximum height and reduced a bit in height. 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 or a wine bottle to cool completely before unmolding.
***use a knife to cut a few lines on the cake surface after 10 minutes of baking for an even rising appearance