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What is chiffon cake?

Chiffon Cake
Cakes go through trends just like everything else, and while chiffon cakes were hugely popular just a few decades ago, these days they tend to get upstaged by butter cakes and don’t get served quite as often. Chiffon cakes are foam cakes, cakes that are leavened primarily with beaten egg whites, just like angel food cakes are. In fact, they are very similar in appearance to angel food cakes and are usually baked in the same type of tube pan. Chiffon cakes, unlike angel food cakes, contain both egg yolks and vegetable oil. These two ingredients keep the cake moist, soft and tender and result in a cake that tastes great and keeps well.

Legend has it that the chiffon cake was invented in Los Angeles in the late 1920s by a baker and caterer named Harry Baker. The light and airy, yet moist, cake was a huge hit right off the bat. Although it was popular, Baker kept the recipe a secret for 20 years before finally selling the recipe to General Mills, which introduced it to the American public (via Betty Crocker) in 1948.

They may look delicate, but once the basic cake is in place, you can add all kinds of different flavors into a chiffon cake, whether you want a plain vanilla cake or want to add in some fresh strawberries. The finished cakes have a texture similar to that of an angel food cake, although they tend to be a bit sturdier and a bit more moist. They are typically baked in tube pans as angel food cakes are, but these cakes can also be baked into sheet cakes and cupcakes.

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7 Comments
  • Cat @ Oh My! Sugar High
    July 22, 2010

    I guess we really do learn something new everyday. Up until this post I’ve never even heard of Chiffon cake but if it’s anything like Angel Food cake I would guess it’s quite tasty.

  • Tori Lyn
    December 2, 2010

    I just baked an apricot lemon Chiffon cake. It was yummy! Very light. Next time I bake for a bake sale I’m going to make these into cupcakes!

  • Pamster
    November 16, 2012

    My first chiffon cake recipe was from a Wesson Oil cookbook, my mom got it in the late 1950’s. The chiffon cake is wonderful, a rich flavor and firm texture that can take a sturdy filling.

    Its also a great base to create a dessert that is close to a Twinkie or a Zinger. Actually tastes much, much better.

  • Yai
    December 22, 2012

    I just recently graduated and I have a baking & pastry major and I mus say this is my all time favorite cake, I always use it to do my cakes although not for cupcakes, should definitely give it a try. One of the things I like to do with it is make a syrup and add rum, leave to cool down and brush the cake with it, soooo delicious…i want to make one now!

  • Floto
    October 20, 2014

    Thanks for this info! Would you know if I can make a chiffon cake in an angel food cake pan? Do you use the same pan for both of these cakes?

  • Nicole
    October 21, 2014

    Floto – Yes, you can use the same pan for both of these cakes.

  • […] Chiffon cakes are made with vegetable oil instead of butter. Also, the eggs are separated: the whites whipped to soft peaks leaven and lighten the batter. The yolks, as well as the oil, keep the cake moist and tender. […]

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