Chad Robertson
Buckwheat, Bergamot & Blood Orange Chiffon Cake
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Buckwheat, Bergamot & Blood Orange Chiffon Cake

Chad Robertson, Tartine: Book No. 3 - December 29th, 2013

This recipe has been adapted from Tartine: Book No. 3 by Chad Robertson―a book featured in Word-to-Table Cooking, Food Arts' yearly roundup of chef-authored cookbooks.

“The idea here is to concentrate a few strong complementary flavors to create a cake that is pleasantly bitter and not too sweet. Tartine chiffon cake is made with whole-grain dark buckwheat flour, and then layered with blood orange marmalade and bergamot-infused blackout chocolate ganache. The ganache sets quickly, so cut your cake layers and have your filling and syrup on hand when ready to assemble.”

Yields a 10" cake

Candied kumquats:
Yields 2 cups (340g) candied fruit

  • 2 cups (395g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (456 ml) water
  • 4 cups (454g) kumquats, sliced into 1/4" rounds, seeds discarded

Combine sugar and water in saucepan over medium heat; bring to aboil, stirring with wooden spoon until sugar dissolves; add kumquat slices; cover with cartouche and weight with nonreactive heatproof plate; reduce heat until liquid gently simmers; cook until kumquats are tender and translucent, 30 to 45 minutes (liquid should register about 230°F (100°C) on instant-read thermometer); remove from heat; transfer kumquats to heatproof container and ladle syrup over, just to cover; discard remaining syrup; cool kumquat slices to room temperature; place in airtight container; cover; reserve in refrigerator up to 1 month.

Blood orange marmalade filling:

  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsps. powdered gelatin
  • 1/2 cup (170g) blood orange marmalade

Pour juice into medium nonreactive bowl; add gelatin; stir to dissolve; add marmalade and 1/2 cup candied kumquats; refrigerate until cool and set, about 2 hours (can be made and refrigerated up to one day ahead).

Buckwheat chiffon cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups (206g) whole-grain buckwheat flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsps. (224g) superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup (114g) whole milk
  • 3 (65g) lg. egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup (56g) grapeseed oil
  • 2 Tbsps. plus 1 tsp. (37ml) water
  • 10 (289g) lg. egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar or lemon juice
  1. Heat oven to 325°F (165°C). Line bottom of 10” springform cake pan with parchment paper.

  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into large bowl; add 1 cup (200g) of the sugar; whisk to combine; in separate bowl, whisk together milk, egg yolks, oil, and water; make a well in the flour; add yolk mixture; whisk thoroughly and quickly for 1 minute until very smooth.

  3. Put egg whites in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium speed until frothy; add cream of tartar; beat on medium-high speed until whites hold soft peaks; slowly add remaining 2 Tbsps. (24g) sugar; beat on medium-high speed until whites hold firm, shiny peaks; fold one-third whites into batter; gently fold remaining whites into batter until just combined; pour into prepared pan; bake until done, about 1 hour 15 minutes; remove from oven; let cool in pan on wire rack; unmold cake; reserve. (The cake will keep, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.)

Bergamot syrup:

  • 1/2 cup (114 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (114 ml) bergamot or blood orange juice

Combine water, sugar, and bergamot juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves; remove from heat; cool completely.

Earl Grey crème anglaise ganache:

  • 1 1/3 cups (220g) bittersweet chocolate (70 percent), preferably Valrhona, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps. (6g) loose-leaf Earl Grey tea, steeped overnight in 1 cup (220g) cold heavy cream
  • 1 cup (220 ml) whole milk
  • 4 (86g) lg. egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 3 Tbsps. (42g) granulated sugar
  • cocoa powder (for dusting)
  1. Melt chocolate halfway in double boiler; stir gently; remove from heat; cool chocolate until it registers between 95°F (35°C) and 115°F (46°C).

  2. Remove tea-infused cream from refrigerator; strain through fine-mesh sieve into medium saucepan; add milk; place over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

  3. In separate bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar; whisking constantly, pour one-third of the hot cream mixture into yolk/sugar mixture; add mixture to remaining cream; stir constantly over medium heat with wooden spoon until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon; remove from heat; strain; cool until it registers 140°F (60°C); reserve.

  4. Measure 2 1/4 cups (600g) crème anglaise; add to melted chocolate in 4 or 5 additions, using vigorous strokes to incorporate—the temperature should not exceed 113°F (43°C) [the mixture may appear broken at first but should come together by the final addition of cream to be smooth and glossy]; cool mixture slightly; using handheld immersion blender, blend ganache until completely smooth and uniform (a whisk is also fine, but an immersion blender makes for an ultra-silky ganache that pours very nicely); use immediately.


  1. Cut the cake horizontally into five equal layers; place one layer in bottom of springform pan; using a pastry brush, soak cake layer in the pan with one-quarter of the bergamot syrup; with offset spatula, spread thin layer of ganache over layer; top with second cake layer; soak with one-quarter of bergamot syrup; spread with half of the marmalade filling; top with third layer; repeat process, alternating with layer of ganache and layer of marmalade; top with final cake layer; soak with remaining syrup; refrigerate until cake is firm, 1 to 2 hours; dust with cocoa powder.

  2. To serve, remove cake from refrigerator 2 hours before to bring to room temperature. To store, cover tightly and keep in cool place for up to 4 days.

Chad Robertson, Tartine Book No. 3, Chronicle Books (2013).