They were tagged $4 for the lot, but mum wore the poor guy manning the stall down to $2, because "it says 2 on the side dammit!", with an extra inner tube, thrown in, just in case I somehow manage to lose one of the three. There must be a special place in heaven, for shoppers like her.
So what's a girl to do, with visions of melon in her head, and 3 tube pans in her hand? Duh! Make melon chiffon cake of course! I've made pandan chiffon countless times, but never actually used a proper chiffon pan, happily turning my kermit-green, wondrously perfumed pandan chiffons out of ordinary tube pans. I've not made any other kind besides pandan. Time to shake things up a little, and put those pans to use. Maybe a few chiffon cakes for the church's Sunday canteen, might polish our collective karma a little.
Chiffon cakes are an American creation, but we south east Asians can't get enough of them and love to flavour them in weird and wonderful ways, like with pandan and er.... melon. My usual chiffon recipe requires the yolks and whites of the eggs to be beaten separately, but today's recipe, which is part chiffon, part genoise, breaks every rule of chiffon cake making.
The fragrance as the chiffon baked in the oven was wonderful (thank you food scientists, you guys do have your uses) and the pretty rose tinted buttercup of the tender airy crumb made me want to repaint my apartment. My only grouse was that the cake wrinkled a little on top, from rising too quickly then deflating, but that could be the hot spots in my oven, or maybe heat loving gremlins really do live in my oven?!? Nah! It's probably just the tooth fairy, pissed off that I forgot to invite her over for tea ;)
I'll definitely do it this way again and work out the kinks until it's as pretty and perfect a peachy plateau of perfumed palatability, as any classic meringue based chiffon. And if you're reading this babe, I was only kidding about the repainting. Honest! *fingers crossed*
Melon Chiffon Cake
Preheat oven at 170 C (340 F). Grease and flour chiffon tube pan. Knock off excess flour.
Whisk together the egg, sugar, cream of tartar, melon essence and food colour if using, and salt on high speed until mixture is very thick and foamy and forms ribbons that hold when dropped from the whisk.
Combine the flour, baking powder and sift. Gently but thoroughly fold half the flour mixture over egg mixture. Fold the remaining flour mixture into eggs.
Pour melon puree and oil around the sides of batter and fold gently but thoroughly into batter. As soon as well incorporated, stop folding. Tap mixing bowl sharply on counter twice to bring air bubbles at bottom of batter up to the surface.
Transfer batter to pan and tilt gently to level if necessary. Bake for 25 minutes then lower heat to 160 C (330 F) and continue baking until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. This should take about another 20 - 25 minutes.
Remove from oven, and cool until cake shrinks back from tin. This will take about 10 minutes. To remove cake, run a thin and blunt knife around edge of cake and around the tube of the pan and invert on to cooling rack.
When cake is completely cold, slice with a sharp serrated knife. Serve with tea. My favourite is very lightly sweetened hot jasmine green tea or black Darjeeling tea.
I'd like to end today's post with a "thank you" to my friend Biren who sent me the very pretty card below, all the way from Minnesota, filled with such warm sentiments and wonderful wishes. She had already thanked me personally for inviting her to my home when she was in Singapore in June this year, but being the person she is, I suppose she felt it wasn't enough. Blogging has been an unexpectedly enriching and rewarding experience and I am indescribably grateful that my friendship with Biren is one of those rewards.