Chiffon Cake

star rating (5) rate this recipe »
Recipe photo

Chiffon Cake

star rating (5) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

Chiffon cake can be made plain and fancy in just about any flavor you could think of: lemon, orange, chocolate, peppermint, banana, or with bits of chocolate or nuts. It's often served with just a dusting of confectioners' sugar; with whipped cream and fresh fruit, or frosted with a fluffy boiled icing. (Skip the buttercream icing, it just seems to weigh it down.) The cake can also be hollowed out and filled with chiffon filling for a truly elegant dessert. (Cookbooks of the '50s seemed to use the word "elegant" quite often. We assume that after the ration-ticket war years, being able to be elegant once again was every housewife's dream!)

Chiffon cakes may be baked either in tube (angel food) pans, or in 9-inch round cake pans. Like an angel food cake, they must be cooled upside down to maintain their full height. This recipe makes a large cake, enough for 16 to 20 slices. It also freezes well, and is a good base for Baked Alaska or filled cakes that need to be served cold, because unlike butter -- or shortening -- based cakes it retains its soft texture in the fridge.

7 eggs, separated*
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk (whole or skim, or buttermilk for chocolate cake)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract (or 1/4 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia flavoring)

*Separate the eggs carefully; even a small amount of yolk in the whites will prevent them from beating up properly.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar or lemon juice until foamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup of the sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy. Set aside.

Whisk together the remaining 1 cup sugar with the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the oil, milk, egg yolks and flavorings until pale yellow. Add the dry ingredients and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes at medium speed using a stand mixer, or longer with a hand mixer.

Gently fold in the whipped egg whites, using a wire whip or cake blender. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so the batter is well-blended. Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan or angel food pan, or two 9-inch round ungreased cake pans. Bake the cake in a preheated 325°F oven. If it's in a tube or angel food pan, bake it for 50 minutes, then turn up the heat to 350°F for the final 10 minutes, making a total baking time of 1 hour. If you're using two 9-inch cake pans, bake for about 40 minutes at 325°F, then 10 minutes more at 350°F. Don't open the oven during the first 45 minutesof baking; the cake will rise high above the pan, then settle back almost even. It's done when a finger gently pressed in the middle doesn't leave a print, and you can hear a crackling sound if you listen carefully. Cool the cake upside down for 1/2 hour before removing it from the pan. If you've used a tube pan, set it atop a thin-necked bottle, threading the bottle neck through the hole in the tube. Frost the cake, and cut it just before serving; you'll need to dip a serrated knife in hot water between each slice if you want smooth, even pieces. Yield: One cake, about 18 servings

To assemble, if you've made a tube-shaped cake: Make one recipe of our Chocolate Cream Filling.

Cut a 1-inch slice off the top of the cake, and reserve it. Slice a 3-inch-deep tunnel out of the middle of the cake, leaving 1-inch walls on each side. Fill the trench with chocolate filling. Place the top back on the cake and refrigerate it until ready to frost. If you've made round layers, simply spread the filling on one layer, and top it with the second layer. The cake should be made at least 4 hours before serving to allow time for the center to set properly.

Variations

To make a lemon chiffon cake, use lemon extract instead of vanilla extract and almond flavoring, and add 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind. Or substitute 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil for the extract and peel. For a chocolate chiffon cake, decrease the flour to 1 3/4 cups, and mix in 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa. Also, use buttermilk for the liquid, if you have it; it'll give you the most intense chocolate flavor.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 09/17/2010
  • 4clevenger from KAF Community
  • The cake was beautiful, tall and golden and very moist. At first it tasted a little egg yolky to me. I thought perhaps my eggs were too large, being X-Large from Costco. Can this be? Reminded me of one my Mom used to make, hers had only 5 eggs rather than 7 and method was different. She called it a Sunshine Cake, every heard of that?I just made it in chocolate but it seems a little dry. My daughter-in-law made it in chocolate and is was not light and tasted like German chocolate, not chocolate chocolate! I doubled the amount and reducted the flour, could that have made it a little dry?
    Yes, all of these changes will influence the texture of the cake. We use large eggs for all of our recipe development. For recipe assistance contact us on the hotline: 800-827-6836. Frank @ KAF.
  • star rating 06/07/2010
  • Terry from Va
  • I've made this twice now, both times with a boiled milk frosting, and it's come out great.
  • star rating 05/01/2010
  • Yi from Sayreville, NJ
  • highly recommend this recipe...my 1st time baking chiffon cake, it comes out nice and delicious
  • star rating 04/17/2010
  • Rachel from Iowa
  • I made this cake from the Baker's Companion becuase we have our own farm fresh eggs and the fridge was getting full. It turned out beautifully and the flavor was outstanding. I served it plain and also with whipped cream and strawberries. My daughter thought it was so wonderful that she asked if I would make it for her birthday. I highly recommend this recipe!
  • star rating 04/01/2009
  • Michael from CNY
  • Growing up my grandmother made this amazing (what we called) 'Sponge Cake'. My dad always liked to flatten a piece with his hand and watch the eyes of the unsuspecting as it completely regained it's shape.) Years before her passing, I asked Gramma for the recipe and she gave me her copy (as she had it well memorized). It was tucked away with other old recipes that I recently rescued. It was entitled 'Bitto Chocolate Chiffon Cake' and except for 3 squares of ground chocolate (which my grandmother never added), it is this same recipe EXACTLY. Okay, I guess it's not the family secret I thought it was! lol This is a fabulous cake recipe and I'm amazed there are no previous reviews here. I'll admit that whipping and folding the whites and cooling it upside down (like angel food) makes for a bit more work, but the results are more than worth the effort. I made this cake last weekend, following the recipe here exactly and it's every bit as good as my childhood memories. This cake is excellent alone or works well as the foundation for many deserts ...berries and whipped cream, ice cream, etc. (My daughter enjoyed it with some chocolate syrup drizzled over a thin slice. If frosted, only a light (fluffy) frosting or whipped cream would do as butter cream would be much too heavy I think. Adventurer that I am, I think I'll make it chocolate (w/buttermilk) next time! Footnote: In carrying on the family tradition, I flattened a piece and watched my (11 year old) daughters eyes bug out as it regained it's shape! way cool.
1