When chiffon cakes first appeared in the 1940s, the focus was on how easy they were to mix. Today, however, we also value the fact that they are sweet treats that are lower in fat and cholesterol than most.
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 1/2 cups caster sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnut oil or extra-light olive oil
2 large eggs, separated, plus 4 large egg whites
3/4 cup brewed espresso coffee, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted, to dust
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Preheat the oven to 160°C. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix. Place the oil, 2 egg yolks, coffee, cocoa powder and vanilla essence in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in the flour mixture with a large metal spoon until well combined.
Place the 6 egg whites in another bowl and beat with clean beaters until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the cake mixture.
Spoon the mixture into an ungreased 25 cm ring tin. Bake until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Leaving the cake in the tin, invert it and place over the neck of a bottle to cool completely. (Cooling the cake in the tin the right way up will cause it to sink.) Run a knife around the cake to loosen it. Turn it out onto a plate and dust with icing sugar.
Walnut oil is a rich source of heart-friendly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and the antioxidant vitamin E. It may help lower the risk of heart disease by increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or ‘good’, cholesterol.