This Chocolate Chiffon Cake is light, fluffy, airy and not dry. Just like how a Chiffon Cake should be. A simple easy cake that is great for any occasion, even on regular days.
When I say easy, it is really easy. I made this cake juts right before I go to bed. Those moments when all of a sudden I have the itching to bake something. This is that kind of cake.
What is Chiffon Cake?
Chiffon Cake is a light, fluffy and airy cake. It do not use too much fat like butter. Instead, to keep the texture soft, it uses oil. Another technique that Chiffon Cake uses is the separation of egg yolk and egg white, and whipping the egg white to stiff peaks. Chiffon Cake usually do not use any leavening agent (although you can if you want to). It relies on the whipped egg white for volume and lift. This is why it is very important to have the eggs in room temperature so they mix and whipped easily. It will take about 6-8 minutes to get to stuff peaks. Stiff peaks simply means the egg white will hold its shape, the pointed tip remains up and standing and when you turn the bowl upside down, the mixture will not slide down or fall.
What makes chiffon cake lighter as compare to other cakes is the method of separating egg yolks from egg whites and whipping the egg whites to stiff peaks before mixing it to the batter, and of course the use of vegetable oil instead of butter. If you have done at least one Chiffon Cake, it would be similar for all the rest of chiffon cake, like my Match Chiffon Cake, Mocha Chiffon Cake and Orange Chiffon Cake.
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With or Without Frosting
Chiffon Cakes are simple cakes, which makes it easier to prepare. You can serve it even without any icing. A dusting of confectioners sugar or cocoa powder will be enough to make a good presentation. Serve it as is, or with fresh fruits on the side or better yet some vanilla ice cream. There’s nothing an ice cream cannot make even better. Now, if you feel like making it more fancy looking, feel free to decorate it just like what I did here. I used a combination of Chocolate Ganache Frosting and Chocolate Buttercream Whipped Frosting to decorate this cake, but other frosting will work as well. I have my favorite frosting recipe HERE, check it out.
NO to Non-Stick Tube Pan for Chiffon Cakes
This is one time where I would not recommend using a non-stick pan or even to grease the pan itself. Since this cake has a very light and airy texture, it will collapse as soon as you take it out of the oven. To prevent that, the cake need to stick to the bottom and side of the pan which makes a non-stick tube pan NOT suitable for this purpose. A tube in the middle gives the cake more surface area to cling to and using a regular pan gives extra grip to the cake. Once it comes out of the oven, the cake needs to be inverted (upside down) to prevent it from collapsing. This will retain the tall structure we built from whipping the egg whites and adding extra leavening agents.
Key Things to Note in this Recipe
- This recipe uses a very small amount of cocoa powder but do not worry, that small amount of 2 tablespoon was enough to give the cake the chocolate flavor. The cocoa flavor was very notable in this cake, so no need to add more. Cocoa powder has a tendency to dry up the cake, so little is more than enough for flavor and to keep the cake soft and moist.
- This recipe uses small amount of flour, only 4 tablespoon and this is because we are aiming for a sift, airy and light cake. Adding more flour could make the cake heavy, remember there is no leavening agent use in this recipe, no baking powder or baking soda. The cake relies on the whipped egg white for volume and lift. The lighter the cake, the easier for the whipped egg white to provide volume.
- No need to use a mixer to mix the egg yolk mixture. Mixing the egg yolk, oil, and milk manually is good enough. The volume will come from the whipped egg white so make sure to have the egg white at stiff peaks stage.
- Bake at low temperature, bake low and slow. Chiffon cake is very fragile and it can easily dry up when baked at high temperature.
- 3 Eggs (separated, room temperature)
- 2 tablespoon Flavorless Oil
- 8 teaspoon Full Fat Milk
- 4 tablespoon Cake Flour (can be substituted with All-purpose flour but with slight difference in texture)
- 2 tablespoon Cocoa Powder
- 5 tablespoon Caster Sugar (or granulated Sugar)
Caster Sugar is similar to granulated sugar except it has a finer texture so it dissolves easily which makes it great when whipping the egg white. You can make caster sugar by simply processing granulated sugar in food processor.
- Pre-heat the oven to 300F.
- Wet Ingredients: In a bowl, transfer the egg yolk. Pour the oil and milk then whisk to break the egg.
- Dry Ingredients: Sift the cake flour and cocoa powdered onto the wet ingredients. Manually carefully fold the flour until fully incorporated and no more lumps.
- Whip Egg White: In a separate clean bowl, whisk egg whites until froth (bubbly), around 30 seconds. Add cream of tartar or 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice or plain white vinegar. Continue whisking for another 2 more minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar (in 3 additions to allow the sugar to dissolve). Continue whisking in medium speed until stiff peaks (6 more minutes). You will know if it is already stiff peaks when you turn the bowl up side down, the egg whites will not fall. The texture is stiff and glossy, like in the photo. Manually and gradually fold the egg white to the flour and egg mixture (from step 3).
- Pour into a 6″ tube pan. Tap 3-4 times on the counter top to release the bubbles. Run a knife or a BBQ stick in the batter to pop the air bubbles.
- Bake for 35 – 40 minutes. The sides will slowly turn brown, and it will start to lift away from the side of the pan.
- Cool: Take out from the oven, cool and invert the pan.
- Decorate. Serve as is with dusting of icing sugar or cocoa powder or frost and decorate the cake as desired.
This Chocolate Chiffon Cake is everything a chiffon cake should be. Soft, airy, light and fluffy. The best thing about chiffon cake is that you do not really need any frosting to make it standout on your table. I personally enjoy it without frosting, just a dusting of cocoa powder on top to keep the rustic chiffon look. I feel that I get to appriate it better plain and simple.
- You can keep the cake in the refrigerator for a week or freeze it for 2-3 months,without frosting. Tightly wrap in with cling wrap, then put it inside a ziplock bag and then inside a container. When ready to serve, take the cake out of the freezer and leave it in the refrigerator to thaw. Decorate as desired.
- Orange Chiffon Cake
- Mocha Chiffon Cake
- Coffee Chiffon Cake
- Chocolate Chiffon Cake
- Matcha Chiffon Cake
- Mango Coconut Chiffon Cake
- The Fluffiest Banana Chiffon Cake
- Ube Chiffon Cake
- Vanilla Chiffon Cake
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