Secret Recipe: Blue Bottle Coffee's Pixie Tangerine Chiffon Cake

Secret Recipe: Blue Bottle Coffee's Pixie Tangerine Chiffon Cake


7x7 asks the city's chefs for the recipes to their most loved cocktails, bar snacks, starters, mains, and desserts. If there's a dish you can't stop thinking about and want to make at home, email Your wish may end up on the blog, along with the actual recipe from the chef.

In the August Eat+Drink issue, which hits newsstands July 28, we interviewed Blue Bottle Coffee pastry chef Caitlin Williams Freeman about her Alamo Square dining room. She also shared with us her recipe for a Pixie tangerine chiffon cake, artistically crafted in the style of painter Wayne Thiebaud. Pixie tangerines also happen to be the official fruit of her hometown of Ojai, near Santa Barbara.


Pixie Tangerine Chiffon Cake

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Zest of three tangerines

1/4 cup olive oil

7 egg yolks

1/2 cup tangerine juice

3/4 cup plain yogurt

7 egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift flour, cornstarch, and baking powder at least five times. In a large bowl, whisk together flour mixture lemon zest, salt, and sugar. Make a well in the center, and add olive oil, yolks, and juice. Mix with a rubber spatula until well-combined and free from lumps. Add yogurt, and incorporate thoroughly.

2. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or with a big bowl, whisk, and some stamina) whip egg whites to soft peaks.

3. Fold egg whites into flour and yolk mixture using a rubber spatula. Work quickly and gently, and stop when you can no longer see streaks of white.

4. Gently pour mixture into an ungreased two-piece 9-inch tube pan with a removable bottom. Bake 55 minutes, or until cake springs back when pressed lightly on top. Remove from oven, and cool upside down, atop a funnel, small jar, or bottle for at least 2 hours.

5. When cool, run a small offset spatula or thin knife around the edges, and remove from pan. Then run knife between cake and the bottom of the pan, and remove to a plate, top-side down.

Vanilla Swiss Meringue

8 egg whites

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. In a bain marie, combine all three ingredients, and heat, stirring constantly, until sugar has dissolved completely (130 degrees, to be precise).

2. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg-white mixture on medium speed until soft peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature. Frost cake immediately.

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