Caramel Toffee Chiffon Cake

Post image for Caramel Toffee Chiffon Cake

by Abby Dodge on April 27, 2015

Sometimes when I write a magazine piece, the recipe concept stays with me and flavor pairings and size or shape variations continue to percolate in my brain. At first, it’s just a lingering question, “Did I take these recipes as far as I could?”  The thought lies quietly in the back of my brain, bubbling up here and there during the course of my days and nights. Not in a haunting, creepy way that keeps me up a night but more like a perplexing itch that can’t quite be satisfied.  I let the ideas wash over me as I’ve learned from experience that pushing is a waste of time. Sometimes nothing comes of it and the pesky urge disappears. Other times, a new recipe comes to fruition.

Such is the case with my chiffon cake story in the current issue of Fine Cooking on newsstands now- all gorgeously captured by Scott Phillips. As most magazines work six + months in advance, these three recipes left my hands eons ago but the concept stayed with me, fermenting and growing. Was there more of the flavor story to tell?  What was missing from the line up of cornmeal- lemon, bittersweet chocolate-espresso and applesauce-carrot in Fine Cooking? A texture? Fruit component? Nut element? Unsure, I let it sit. There was no glowing, ah-ha moment and no grand fanfare that announced the arrival on the fourth cake in this series. It doesn’t work that way. At least it doesn’t for me. Instead, the idea or inspiration tiptoes in on “little cat feet”* then there it is and as obvious as the nose on my face. Caramel. I had to make a version of this chiffon cake with caramel.

Testing ensued with tweaks (large and small) made to the basic recipe to accommodate the rich caramel sauce. Ultimately, the cake was good but it was still missing “something”. Various nuts and spice combinations added very little to the taste. Stumped, I let the recipe rest. The cake was looking not for a contrasting flavor or texture but for one that would boost the deep caramel flavor. Several days later, while cleaning out the fridge, I came across a bag of Heath Bar Toffee Bits® and the mystery was solved. These things happen this way… some of the time.

Please check out my three other chiffon cake recipes in the current issue of Fine Cooking. You also don’t want to miss the fabulous feature from my talented and effervescent friend, Juli Roberts (director of the Fine Cooking Test Kitchen). Her recipes will have you ready and waiting for summer.


*a line from one of my favorite Carl Sandburg poems “Fog”.  Also worth reading is his “Splinter” – my long time favorite.

chifon cake 1



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