This classic chiffon cake is tender and light as air. It has the richness of a butter cake and the fluffiness of a sponge cake. Check out my easy method of making this wonderful and special cake that fits any occasion.

A chiffon cake on a silver serving plate with strawberries and lemon slices.

What is chiffon cake?

Chiffon cake is a type of foam cake, which has a high ratio of eggs to flour and is leavened mainly from the air beaten into the egg whites. It’s similar to an angel food cake, but instead of using just egg whites, chiffon cake recipes use the whole egg. This gives a richer and more flavorful taste to the cake, and there is no question of what to do with the leftover egg yolks. It’s also similar to a sponge cake which is basically just eggs, sugar, and flour, but there is oil added to the batter. This makes the texture of a chiffon cake more moist and silky which is why it’s my favorite type of cake out of the three. It’s a very light and simple, yet delicious cake. So it’s a nice change from all the heavy decadent desserts out there.

A slice of chiffon cake on a white plate with strawberries, lemon slice and whipped cream.

Why this recipe is so great:

Easy and no waste – There are many variations out there, but what I like about this recipe is that there are an even number of egg whites to egg yolks used, so there is no waste. I kept the flavoring simple with just vanilla, but you can add some lemon zest or a touch of almond extract as well. The rest of the ingredients are all your usual pantry staples. The method of this recipe is easier than most. The dry ingredients and all of the wet ingredients, except for the egg whites, are prepared in the same bowl. The meringue and the egg yolk batter are prepared using the same beaters. So there is no mixing of everything separately or using a bunch of different utensils.

Here are some reviews:

“Thank you so much for sharing this awesome recipe. I made this cake today and turned out so perfect!! My First time to make a Chiffon Cake but this recipe did not fail me. So thank you very much.” – Ana

“Thank you for a great recipe that is easy to follow with added bonus of a video. My family loved it. I had out of date cream of tartar so substituting 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice for the 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. It worked well to whip the egg whites.” – Linda

How to make chiffon cake:

How to make chiffon cake steps 1-4

  1. You start by sifting the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. Add the egg yolks, vegetable oil, water, and vanilla. Set aside.
  2. Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  3. Using the same beaters, combine the egg yolk mixture until smooth.
  4. Fold in 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolk batter to lighten it up. Then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites in two equal parts until no white streaks remain.
  5. Pour the batter into an ungreased 10″ tube pan and bake at 325F for about 1 hour.
  6. Invert and let cool completely before unmolding.

how to make chiffon cake steps 5-6

Expert tips:

  • Beat your egg whites to stiff peaks – Since the meringue is the main leavening agent in this cake, it is really important to take the time to beat your egg whites to stiff peaks to ensure your cake has a nice rise and fluffy texture. Once your egg whites reach medium peaks (a tip that folds over), continue beating but check often and once you reach stiff peaks (a tip that points straight) STOP. You don’t want to over-beat your egg whites. They could possibly break and will be harder to fold.
  • Fold in stages – Start by folding in only 1/4 of the meringue into your egg yolk batter to lighten the density of the batter, making it easier to combine the rest. Then fold in the remainder of the meringue in two equal parts using an under-and-over motion with your rubber spatula. Be gentle so you maintain as much of the air bubbles as possible.
  • Do not grease your tube pan – The batter needs to be able to stick to the sides of the pan to help it rise to its maximum height.
  • Cool upside down – As soon as you remove it from the oven, flip the cake over and cool it upside down in the pan to prevent it from collapsing. The reason is the structure of the cake crumb is not stable until it’s completely cooled. Some tube pans have feet that you can flip and stand it on. You can also set the tube pan over a bottleneck or two drinking glasses like I did.

Substitutions:

  • Cake flour – It’s best to use cake flour for the most tender and soft chiffon cake. You can make your own cake flour by mixing 2 cups of all-purpose minus 4 tablespoons mixed with 4 tablespoons of corn starch. If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use straight all-purpose flour in a pinch, but please note the texture of the cake won’t be as soft.
  • Cream of tartar – You can substitute the 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Tube pans – It’s best to use a 10″ tube pan with a removable bottom. The shape of a tube pan is perfect for the height of this cake and the hole in the center actually helps it bake evenly. If using a tube pan without a removable bottom, you can grease the bottom of the pan (not the sides) to make it easier to remove the cake. You can also bake this chiffon cake in two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Just make sure they are at least 3″ deep and grease only the bottom of the pans. Once the cakes are done, cool upside down on a cooling rack.

FAQ:

  • How to store chiffon cake – You can cover it in a sealed airtight container or tightly wrap in saran wrap and store it at room temperature for 3-4 days.
  • Can you freeze chiffon cake? Yes, you can. Place the cooled cake on a baking sheet or large plate and place in the freezer until completely frozen. Tightly wrap in a layer of saran wrap and a layer of aluminum foil and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

You might also like:

A slice of chiffon cake on a white plate with strawberries, whipped cream and a copper fork.
You can serve this cake as is or with some whipped cream and fresh fruit. You can also cut it horizontally and make it into a layer cake with your favorite frosting. The choice is yours; just enjoy and have fun with it.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE KINDLY LEAVE A COMMENT AND STAR RATING BELOW.

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Vanilla Chiffon Cake Recipe


  • Author: Lily Ernst
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 60 min
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12

Description

This classic chiffon cake is tender and light as air. It has the richness of a butter cake and the fluffiness of a sponge cake.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups (235g) cake flour
  • 1&1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp (12g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (5g) salt
  • 7 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup (188ml) cold water
  • 1 tbsp (15ml) vanilla extract
  • 7 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp (2g) cream of tartar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Sift the first 4 ingredients into a bowl. Make a well and add the next 4 ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add in the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  4. Using the same beaters, beat the egg yolk batter. Scrape the bowl as needed. Beat until combined and smooth.
  5. Fold in 1/4 of the egg whites into the egg yolk batter to lighten it up. Then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites in two equal parts until no white streaks remain.
  6. Pour into an ungreased 10″ tube pan with removable bottom. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top should be golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed.
  7. Let cool completely upside down. Unmold and serve. Slice using a serrated knife.

Notes

Leftovers can be stored in a sealed airtight container or tightly wrap in saran wrap and left at room temperature for 3-4 days.

You can also freeze chiffon cake by placing baked and cooled cake on a baking sheet or large plate and place in the freezer until completely frozen. Tightly wrap in a layer of saran wrap and a layer of aluminum foil and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Tips:

  • Beat your egg whites to stiff peaks – Since the meringue is the main leavening agent in this cake, it is really important to take the time to beat your egg whites to stiff peaks to ensure your cake has a nice rise and fluffy texture. Once your egg whites reach medium peaks (a tip that folds over), continue beating but check often and once you reach stiff peaks (a tip that points straight) STOP. You don’t want to over-beat your egg whites. They could possibly break and will be harder to fold.
  • Fold in stages – Start by folding in only 1/4 of the meringue into your egg yolk batter to lighten the density of the batter making it easier to combine the rest. Then fold in the remainder of the meringue in two equal parts using an under-and-over motion with your rubber spatula. Be gentle so you maintain as much of the air bubbles as possible.
  • Do not grease your tube pan – The batter needs to be able to stick to the sides of the pan to help it rise to its maximum height.
  • Cool upside down – As soon as you remove it from the oven, flip the cake over and cool it upside down in the pan to prevent it from collapsing. The reason is the structure of the cake crumb is not stable until it’s completely cooled. Some tube pans have feet that you can flip and stand it on. You can also set the tube pan over a bottleneck or two drinking glasses like I did.

Substitutions:

  • Cake flour – It’s best to use cake flour for the most tender and soft chiffon cake. You can make your own cake flour by mixing 2 cups of all-purpose minus 4 tablespoons mixed with 4 tablespoons of corn starch. If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use straight all-purpose flour in a pinch, but please note the texture of the cake won’t be as soft.
  • Cream of tartar – You can substitute the 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar with 1 teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Tube pans – It’s best to use a 10″ tube pan with a removable bottom. The shape of a tube pan is perfect for the height of this cake and the hole in the center actually helps it bake evenly. If using a tube pan without a removable bottom, you can grease the bottom of the pan (not the sides) to make it easier to remove the cake. You can also bake this chiffon cake in two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. Just make sure they are at least 3″ deep and grease only the bottom of the pans.
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chiffon cake recipe, easy chiffon cake, best chiffon cake, vanilla chiffon cake

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com.

This post was originally published on June 16th, 2016 and has been recently updated with more information and step-by-step photo instructions.

A delicious soft, fluffy, light as air cake in it's simplest form. Chiffon cake is similar to angel cake, but more flavorful because of the egg yolks and more moist because of the oil. See how easy it is to make a classic chiffon cake. {Video Recipe}

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