Classic Chiffon Cake
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.
- Author: Lily Ernst
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 60 min
- Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
- Yield: 12
- Category: dessert
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: American
- 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
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Sift the first 4 ingredients into a bowl. Make a well and add the next 4 ingredients. Set aside.
- 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.
- Using the same beaters, beat the egg yolk batter. Scrape the bowl as needed. Beat until combined and smooth.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let cool completely upside down. Unmold and serve. Slice using a serrated knife.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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