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Very Vanilla Chiffon Cake

Very Vanilla Chiffon Cake
Vanilla is probably my favorite flavor of cake and I’ll almost always pick up a slice of vanilla cake or a vanilla cupcake when given the choice between vanilla and chocolate. I do love chocolate, of course, but there is something about the delicate, floral flavor of vanilla that I find absolutely irresistible. When I was a child, I also had a strong preference for vanilla cakes and I always wanted a vanilla cake for my birthday. Unfortunately, the people in charge of providing birthday cakes – *cough* parents *cough* – often felt that vanilla cake was “too plain” to be a birthday cake. As a result, I had some delicious cakes that were not vanilla and had to wait until I could start making my own cakes to treat myself to what I really wanted.

These days, I have the freedom to chose any kind of birthday cake that I want and I usually go for vanilla. I also usually opt for a plainer cake than for one of the over-the-top frosted cakes that I might have chosen as a child. A simple, pretty cake with a great flavor is all it takes to make me happy, and this Very Vanilla Chiffon Cake ticks all the boxes. The cake has a moist, fluffy, cloud-like texture and it stands taller than many layer cakes. It is generously flavored with vanilla and it is just sweet enough that you can get away with eating a slice without frosting – although a scoop of whipped cream and a pile of berries is a nice accompaniment. It might not have the typical birthday cake look, but it is the kind of cake that will make a vanilla-lover very happy.

One of the benefits of making your own birthday cake is that you have complete control over both the flavor and the quality of the ingredients you use. I frequently find that not every vanilla cake is going to capture the real essence of vanilla, either because they use poor quality vanilla flavoring or because they simply don’t use enough of it. For this cake, I used McCormick’s Extra Rich Vanilla Extract. The extract is a new product that the company released for its 125th birthday celebration and it boasts an intense vanilla flavor that is 25% more concentrated than the flavor in their classic vanilla extract. It’s ideal for vanilla lovers (like me!) who want to ensure that they are getting the vanilla flavor they want in baked good without having to pour in half the bottle.

Your finished cake will look and taste amazing, even though it is a “plain” vanilla cake that isn’t loaded down with frosting. One bite and you’ll be sold – and some of those chocolate cake-lovers probably will be, too.

Very Vanilla Chiffon Cake

Very Vanilla Chiffon Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
7 large egg yolks
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
9 large egg whites, room temperature

Preheat the oven to 325F. Take out a 10-inch tube pan, but do not grease it.
In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, 3/4 cup of sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and almond extract until well combined. Add in the dry ingredients and whisk until ingredients are well combined and batter is smooth.
In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. With the mixer on high speed, gradually blend in the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar, beating until the egg whites reach stiff peaks and all the sugar has been dissolved.
Once the egg whites have reached stiff peaks, gently whisk 1/4 of the egg whites into the vanilla batter to lighten it. Then, working in two or three additions, fold the remaining egg whites into the batter, mixing until no streaks of egg white remain visible and the batter is a uniform color.
Pour into the ungreased tube pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when gently touched and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Invert cake over a bottle (or onto a wire rack if your pan has “feet” to hold it up) and let cool completely. Once cooled, run a knife around the edges and turn cake out onto a serving platter. Store in an airtight container.

Makes one cake; serves 12.

Disclosure: This recipe is sponsored by McCormick to mark their 125th anniversary celebration. I was provided with the Extra Rich Vanilla Extract for recipe creation. Any opinions expressed and commentary given are my own, and the recipe is a Baking Bites original.

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  • Julie @ HostessAtHeart
    September 24, 2014

    This cake looks delicious and perfectly moist!

  • Maya
    September 24, 2014

    I am a vanilla lover myself; hardly fancy anything chocolate, unlike most people. Love the way you write. All your blog posts are so drool-worthy.

  • Joanie from NC
    September 25, 2014

    What a beautiful cake!!! Thanks for the heads-up on the new extract, too. Agree, nothing beats a slice of vanilla/white cake and some berries. So says the chocolate fiend! 🙂

  • Miriam
    September 25, 2014

    When I was a kid, I wanted pie for my birthday, reasoning that I liked pie better than cake. One year the “people in charge of providing birthday cakes” humoured me-but all of the other adults at the party complained so much that I was forced to have a cake the following year. In short, I feel your pain (and now i make myself whatever dessert I feel like for my birthday).

  • Gayle
    June 30, 2016

    I have just made this cake for the fourth time. It is far and above the best party cake I make. First time I made it was for my granddaughter’s first birthday and it is now named our Happy Cake. Today I’ve made it for tomorrow, July 1st, Canada’s birthday. Thanks for this recipe

  • Jenny Q
    July 8, 2016

    What kink of milk did you use? I usually use evaporared milk :/

  • Nicole
    July 9, 2016

    I used regular milk. I only use evaporated milk if specified in a recipe.


  • Tiffini C
    August 15, 2016

    I see that everyone seems to love this without the frosting, but could it be used with frosting? or I guess the better question is have you tried it with frosting before? I’m wanting to start my own “from home” cake company and this cake looks phenomenal. Thank you!

  • Nicole
    August 16, 2016

    Hi Tiffini – You can use frosting, but chiffon cakes are usually unfrosted or finished with only a glaze because they are very light in texture. I recommend trying it with your favorite frosting to see how you like it.

  • ilkay
    January 6, 2017

    Hi from Türkiye…

    I made this beautiful cake but sometimes cake fold down from the cake moll…
    I could not solve this problem ?Why ?
    If you help me I will be very very very happy :):):)

  • Nicole
    January 6, 2017

    Ilkay – It sounds like you might not be cooling this cake upside down, as gravity keeps it from pulling away from the sides of the pan. If the cake is shrinking back from the pan while you bake it, you may have your oven set a bit too high and the cake is over-baking.
    I hope this helps!


  • Josie
    June 4, 2017

    This cake looks amazing. Do you think I can double it? I have a huge tube pan and I was wondering if I can make this cake in that pan

  • Nicole
    June 5, 2017

    Hi Josie – This cake is quite large, so that must be one huge tube pan! I honestly don’t think that a double size tube pan would fit in my oven, but you could give it a try. If the thickness is the same, the baking time should not be too different. If the cake is much deeper, it will need a longer baking time .


  • Maimai
    July 24, 2017

    My hubby loved it! He’s not much into cakes, & ate only a slice if store brought. But this, he said it’s delicious!

    Thanks for ur recipe. This will be my go to chiffon cake! Btw, do u have a chocolate version of this?

  • Caitlyn
    July 30, 2017

    This looks wonderful!

    Do you think you could make it in two or three 8-inch rounds and adjust the baking time??

  • Nicole
    July 31, 2017

    Caitlyn, Yes, you definitely can transition this cake to either two or three 3-inch rounds (I would recommend 3 here) and adjust the baking time down. You’ll have to test the cakes for doneness with a toothpick or by lightly pressing the top and seeing if it springs back. I can’t be sure because I haven’t used this recipe in rounds myself, but I would expect the baking time to be in the 20-25 minute range with 3 8-inch rounds.

  • Caitlyn
    August 1, 2017

    Thank you very much Nicole! I appreciate your expertise.

  • Ellen
    August 4, 2017

    I’ve been seeing that this cake is usually baked in a tube pan and I was wondering can I bake this in a 9 inch springform pan? And if so, will the baking times differ much?

  • Maimai
    October 28, 2017

    Hi! Do you have chocolate version of this? Been making this cake many times now & my friends & family loved it!

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