Chiffon Cake Mixing Method & Basic Recipe
- The Creaming Method for Cake Making
- Chiffon Cake Mixing Method & Basic Recipe
Learn how to make chiffon cake using the chiffon mixing method. This method ensures the perfect chiffon cake texture that is light and fluffy. Use this basic chiffon cake recipe as a template for a variety of chiffon cake flavors!
What is a Chiffon Cake?
Chiffon cake is my favorite cake of all time. It is incredibly light and tender while still being moist. This has to do with the makeup of the batter.
A chiffon cake is a light and fluffy cake that is made with oil, or other melted fats, instead of solid fat. Chiffon cake is considered a foam cake in that an egg white foam (aka meringue) is folded into the batter to do a majority of the leavening. However, chemical leavening is also used in chiffon cakes.
Because chiffon cake has a higher fat content compared to other foam cakes, the mixing method is a bit different than the egg foam method or the angel food method. This results in a very fluffy cake that is still rich and moist.
What Kind of Pan is a Chiffon Cake Baked In?
It is traditional for a chiffon cake to be baked in a tube pan. However, it can also be baked as layers and in fact is my favorite cake to use as a layer cake. This batter is enough to make into two 9-inch round layers or three 8-inch round layers.
Chiffon Mixing Method Overview
- Skill Level: Intermediate
- Techniques Used: French Meringue, Folding
Chiffon cake contains oil or other liquid fats. Because oil does not solidify at room temperature it creates a cake that remains very moist, even when cold.
With the creaming method for making cakes, air is beaten into solid fat and sugar. This process helps to leaven the cake. Because air cannot be beaten into liquid fat, a simple meringue is created and folded into the batter. The web of air that the meringue holds serves the same function in a chiffon cake that creamed butter and sugar serves in pound cake.
How to Make Chiffon Cake
The chiffon mixing method is the process used to make chiffon cakes very light and fluffy. Chiffon cake recipes are broken down into three main parts: dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and the meringue. These three parts are then combined and baked.
Step 1: Combine the Dry Ingredients
A basic chiffon cake combines cake flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Cake flour is used to keep the cake light and tender, however, all-purpose flour can be substituted.
For the fluffiest chiffon cake, sift the dry ingredients to aerate them and remove any possible lumps. Then whisk the ingredients together to combine them well.
Note: To flavor your chiffon cake, spices or fresh herbs could also be added to the dry ingredient mixture.
Step 2: Combine the Wet Ingredients
The wet ingredient lineup for chiffon cakes can vary a little but it always includes egg yolks and oil or other liquid fat. I like to use a combination of oil and melted butter. The oil keeps the cake very moist and the butter adds some flavor.
I also use buttermilk to add a slight tanginess and to activate the baking soda. A variety of extracts could also be added into the wet ingredient lineup to further flavor the cake.
Whisk the wet ingredients together and set them aside until you are ready to combine all of the components.
Step 3: Make the Meringue
A simple meringue made of egg whites and sugar, also known as French meringue, is made to be folded into the batter. The egg white foam leavens the cake and creates a very light and fluffy texture.
Whip the egg whites to medium peaks and then slowly start streaming in the sugar and whip until you reach stiff peaks.
Step 4: Combine the 3 Components Together
Using a rubber spatula, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. You don’t want to over-mix the batter.
Add about 1/2 cup of the egg whites and stir them completely into the batter. This will lighten the batter and make it easier to fold the rest of the egg whites in. Add about half of the rest of the egg whites and gently fold it into the batter being careful not the deflate the whites. Add the rest of the whites into the batter and continue folding in until combined.
Step 5: Bake
Chiffon cakes are typically baked in tube pans which produces the lightest texture because the cake can climb up the center tube when baking. However, chiffon cakes can also be baked in regular cake pans.
Grease the bottom of the pan but not the sides of the pan. If the pan is greased the cake will not be able to cling to the pan to rise.
Tips, Tricks, & Techniques
- This chiffon cake is perfect served as is, though powdered sugar or vanilla whipped cream are beautiful accompaniments. It can also easily be flavored with various spices, citrus zests, and extracts. This is also a perfect canvas for a simple powdered sugar glaze.
- When folding in the egg whites, take extra care not to deflate the air out of them. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold them in so you can keep as much air in the batter as possible.
- While chiffon cake is traditionally baked in a tube pan, this cake can also be split between two 9″ (22 cm) round cake pans and baked into two layers.
Chiffon Cake Ingredient Functions
- Cake Flour is the main structure for the cake. Cake flour has a lower protein content than all-purpose flour so it makes a more tender cake, however all-purpose flour can be substituted.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda are chemical leavenings and help the cake to rise.
- Salt rounds out the sweet flavor of the cake.
- Sugar is divided into two parts. The bulk of the sugar does the sweetening of the cake, however part of the sugar is also used to create the meringue that makes the cake super fluffy!
- Oil adds richness and keeps the cake very moist.
- Butter also adds richness and adds a slight buttery flavor.
- Egg Yolks adds some moisture and more richness to the cake.
- Buttermilk is acidic and works to activate the baking soda while adding a slight tanginess and moisture to the cake.
- Egg Whites are beaten to create a meringue which creates an incredibly fluffy and light chiffon cake.
Basic Chiffon Cake
This is a basic chiffon cake recipe that can be served simply with powdered sugar or whipped cream or can be flavored in a variety of ways. This cake is incredibly light and tender and stays moist for days!
- 2 1/2 cups (280 gr) cake flour (*see substitution)
- 1 tsp (4 gr) baking powder
- 1/4 tsp (2 gr) baking soda
- 3/4 tsp (3.6 gr) Morton kosher salt or table salt (use 1 1/2 tsp if using Diamond kosher)
- 1 1/2 cups (294 gr) granulated sugar
- 5 TBSP (70 gr) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/2 cup (118 ml) vegetable, canola, or avocado oil
- 1 cup (237 ml) buttermilk, room temperature (*see note for substitute)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50 gr) granulated sugar
NOTE: this cake is traditionally baked in a tube pan but also works beautifully baked into layers for a layer cake. This is enough batter for three 8-inch round pans or two 9-inch round pans.
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 F (177 C). Prepare your pan(s). If you are using a tube pan grease only the bottom of the pan and not the sides or the tube. If using traditional round tins, line the bottom with parchment and grease the bottom and sides of the pans. Measure out all of your ingredients for each section of the recipe and keep each grouping together to help with the flow of the recipe.
- Mix the Dry Ingredients: Sift the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a large bowl and then whisk together to combine. Set aside.
- Mix the Wet Ingredients: In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, oil, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and egg yolks and set aside.
- Make the Meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites on medium/high speed until they start forming medium peaks. With the mixer still running, slowly stream in the sugar and keep beating until you reach stiff peaks.
- Combine the Components: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl and stir together with a rubber spatula. Once the dry ingredients are saturated, add about 1/2 cup of the egg whites into the mixture and stir it in completely to lighten the batter. Next add in 1/2 of the rest of the egg whites and gently fold them in being careful not to deflate them. Add in the rest of the egg whites and fold them in gently until completely combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake at 350 F (177 C) for 38-45 minutes if baking in a tube pan or 20-24 minutes if baking in layers. To check if the cake is done, gently press in on it and if it is firm but springs back it is done.
- Cool & Serve: Set the cake pan on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely before turning it out of the pan. Serve plain, dusted with powdered sugar, with a powdered sugar glaze, or frosted as a layer cake!
- Store cooled cake covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- It is traditional for this cake to be baked in a tube pan because it can climb up the center, resulting in a very spongy texture. However, this cake can also be baked in 2- 8" or 9" round cake pans and be stacked as a layer cake. Adjust baking time to 20-22 minutes when baking it in round cake tins.
- Cake Flour: Cake flour is really the best option for making the most light and airy chiffon cake. However, if you need to make a substitute combine 2 cups plus 2 TBSP of all purpose flour with 6 TBSP of cornstarch. Sift the two together 4 times (yes, 4 times) before adding into the cake.
- Buttermilk: The acidic properties of buttermilk are necessary in this recipe to activate the baking soda. If you do not have buttermilk you can make a substitute by measuring out 1 TBSP of white vinegar or lemon juice and adding enough regular milk to equal 1 cup. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes before using. As another option, combine 3/4 cup of sour cream or plain yogurt with 1/4 cup of water and use in place of the buttermilk.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311
77 Comments on “Chiffon Cake Mixing Method & Basic Recipe”
It sounds delitful, but how long should I bake it for?
Hi there! I just noticed part of the recipe got cut off! So sorry! it is updated now. It takes about 45 minutes to bake. It is a very tall cake!
Look at that color, it’s so beautiful and delicious! I’ll be making this soon.
Thanks Kim! Let me know how it turns out!
Hi, I am really excited to try out your recipe! I do have a question about the meringue part. How come it is for 3 egg whites instead of 6? What is the difference with more? Thank you!
Just found you and very happy to have! I am on a keto diet and will have to substitute the flour with almond flour and the sugar with stivia combination, so I will start with half quantity and see what turns out. Thanks for the great explanations that go with the recipe!
Hi Maura! Let me know how the keto version turns out! I have never tried those substitutions with this cake.
Hello Maura pls can you ahare your keto recipe for chiffon cake
Hi Gwen, unfortunately I do not have any experience with Keto baking as I do not eat that way. If you do a google search for “keto chiffon cake” a few recipes come up! Good luck!
Thanks for the useful tips. It was really nice.
You are welcome! I’m glad you find them useful!
Wonderful recipe but what temp is it baked at??
Hi Vilya, If you look at the bottom of the post in the actual written recipe it specifies “Bake at 350 F (177 C) for 40-50 minutes until a tester comes out with moist crumbs clinging to the tester.” Let me know if you make it and how you enjoy it!
HI, I dont see what the substitute for buttermilk is
Hi Angela! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. My website went through some updates recently and some of the notes from my recipes went missing. I have updated the recipe to include the substitution notes.
Hi Bettie! First I want to say that I am very happy to find your site and videos! I am really trying to learn all the fundamentals of baking and your approach is just what I was looking for, so thank you!
I tried this cake and while it is so moist and flavorful, it didn’t rise as much as I thought it would and it is a little dense. Any thoughts why?
I did two 8” pans for about 25 min. I felt like the sides got pretty browned and pulled away from the sides but I was concerned that the middle was still very pale looking. I decided to take it out because the tooth pick did come out clean. It was definitely baked just like I said very moist and a little dense. After all my research I know chiffon cakes usually rise a lot and are very light so I am just trying to troubleshoot where I went wrong because the flavor was very delicious ☺️
I appreciate your time and feedback! Thanks!
I tried this recipe in 2x 9inch round pans. Used the Wilton’s baking strips for the first time. Each cake came out barely domes (due to baking strips) and only rose just under 1 inch in height. Did I do something wrong? Does the cake usually come out higher?
Hi Darlene, It sounds like possibly the egg whites were deflated when they were mixed into the batter. That is what makes the cakes rise. Make sure your egg whites are whipped to stiff peaks and that you are very gentle with them when you fold them into your cake batter.
Hi, the indgredients mentioned sugar twice? 294g, and right at the end 50g. But the recipe only mentions add sugar to egg whites? Am I missing something?
Hi there, the first quantity of sugar goes into the cake batter and the second portion goes into the meringue that is folded into the cake batter. I just reformatted the ingredient list to make it more clear. Hope that helps!
I do not see where the egg yokes go in the merengue part? or are they to be added to the wet ingredients in the cake side of things?
Hi there! Thank you for pointing this out to me. The recipe got unformated with a recent website update. I have corrected it now! The egg yolks go into the wet ingredients apart from the meringue!
Hello! Wondering how this could be adapted for 6in cake pans? Thank you!
Hi Lucy! If you want to use 6″ cake pans you would divide the recipe in half to make 3 layers and you might have a little extra batter for a couple cupcakes. I haven’t tested this with 6″ pans, so I’m not sure about baking time. I would check on them at 20 minutes and watch them closely.
If I make it into a layer cake, will it still be spongy like when it is baked with a tube cake? As from the explanation, using tube will make it cling the walls and climb higher. Or it would still be spongy but not as high?
Hi Alya! It will still be spongy! But because you are baking it into layer instead of one large cake, it doesn’t need as much help to climb. I use this as my layer cake all the time and it is super fluffy! It’s my favorite to use for a layer cake!
Thank you, Bettie for the explanation
A follow up question:
Should it be baked in a round pan or can use in a square one?
Should I just grease the pan or cover the grease with flour?
I’ve never tried this cake in a square pan, only in a round. I think it would work fine in a square, but I haven’t tested it. I line the bottom and grease the whole pan. You can actually see me doing it for this exact cake on my youtube video here: https://youtu.be/jj0ZoELb_Zc?t=82
Thanks a lot for the clear explanation…
How long should I bake it if I want to bake it in a 9 inch pan
Happy new year!
I’ll be utilizing 2 pcs of 7 in tube pan.
Should I cut the recipe into half?
Hello – is the egg white quantity correct? It says 3 egg whites. I’d like to try this recipe but wanted to be sure.
Hi Shirl, yes you should use 3 egg whites for the Meringue portion of the recipe.
hello i’m new to baking, due to quarantine, and would like to ask if i can add ingredients like grated carrots to the recipe? and if yes, do i have to adjust on the liquids?
Hi there, I have never tried that with this cake so I’m not sure how to make adjustments exactly without testing it. However, chiffon cake is a very light and fluffy cake so I think that would likely weigh it down some.
Greetings, good evening i was wondering how much is the total egg incredients being used here.
I just tried this and it was delicious. However the cake was more crumbly regular cake texture instead of the fine chiffon texture. Any idea why?
Hi, I suspect that maybe your egg whites weren’t completely at a stiff peak or maybe they deflated- that can cause a more crumbly texture.
What is the function of buttermilk?
Buttermilk activates the baking soda and add a tanginess in flavor.
Hi, just dropping by to say that I made this cake as a base for birthday cakes 3x – with meringe frosting, lemon meringue, and frrsh fruits. Sufficient to say this is my go to chiffon cake recipe. Thank you for sharing this to the world!
You mentioned that this cake can be adjusted to make different flavors. How should I do that? Thanks.
Hi, If using tube pan to make the chiffon cake recipe, may I know what is the pan size?
Guys, Thanks For sharing this Great Recipe. My Family Loved it. I am definitely sharing this recipe and this website with my friend. Hope they also love it. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe.
Thank you so much! I’m so glad you like my site!
hi i want to bake this cake.so my question is can i use 3 eggs instead of 6?
I was just winderin why only 3 egg whites are in the meringue when you used 6 egg yolks in the wet ingredient? What happens if i use 6 egg whites?
Hi, you should definitely stick with the recipe as written. 6 egg whites will cause your cake to not be stable and fall apart. And it will effect the taste of your cakes negatively.
Can used any brand of cake flour
Yes! Any brand is fine, the one I typically find at my store is Swan’s Down brand.
Hi Bettie, can I use caster sugar instead of granulated?
Hi. Could this recipe be baked in a bundt pan?
Could I add cocoa power to make this into a Chocolate chiffon cake?
Helpful instructions specially when measurements
are given in grams instead of cups. Thank you.
Hi! How can I make this into a flavored chiffon cake, specifically, chocolate chiffon? Thank you,
I’m interested in this too
Hi! To make a flavored chiffon, at what stage do I need to add the coffee or cocoa? Should the flavoring be in liquid or powder form? Thanks!
You can add cocoa powder and/or instant espresso or coffee extract. I wouldn’t add straight coffee as it will add too much moisture. You can add cocoa powder or instant espresso to your dry ingredients mixture. And add any extracts to the wet ingredients mixture.
Hi, how do you adjust for a 10inch tube pan? Like your tip abt greasing the base but not sides of tube pan, and use of buttermilk
Hi, you can use this recipe for a 10″ tube pan. It will be slightly less tall. Start checking to see if it’s done at about 35 minutes.
When making “large” cupcakes it’s always a guessing game as to how long to bake. Any guidelines you can share would be helpful.
I would start checking jumbo cupcakes around 25 minutes. You can press your finger on the top to see if it’s still wet or firm. Or you can also insert a toothpick or fork. You want a moist crumb but not wet.
Hi Bettie! What a beautiful website, im so glad i found you:-) I just saved your Chiffon recipe and i have a question before i make it. My plan is to bake it in two 9inch round pans, then slice each one in half and make a 4 layers White forest cake.
I am not sure if it will fall apart if i attempt to slice each 9 inch round cake in half.
I will fill whipped cream and canned fruit cocktail in between the layers and probably drizzle some fruit juice on the layers before adding the whipped cream and the strained fruits.
Thank you so much!
Hi if I wanted to make this a passion fruit chiffon cake, how much passion fruit would I add?
Hi there! I have made this two times and is so good, but I’m wondering if Can I sub buttermilk for sour cream ? Thank you
Yes, you can!
I really like your baking tutorial. Im from philippines. I really wanted to learn baking..more recipes for cakes pls.thanks
thanks for following!
If using regular cake pans, why do you grease the bottom and sides? I thought the pan needed to be ungreased for this type of cake. (I noticed one person commented they tried 9” pans and cake didn’t rise much. Could that be why?). Thanks!
I will try this recipe today. I’ll let you know how it turned out. I’m excited
When making 3 cakes in tube pans, how long can sit at room temperature before baking
I would store the batter in the fridge until you are ready to bake with it. Don’t store it for longer than a couple hours.