Another soft, light and airy chiffon cake. If you cannot make up your mind weather to choose chocolate or vanilla, then go for this variations, half and half Vanilla Chocolate Chiffon Cake. A simple and easy chiffon cake recipe with 2 different flavor variations, so no need to choose. Enjoy both flavor in a slice (or two) of this cake.
Chiffon Cake has definitely become my favorite cake to make. The light and airy texture made me smile every time I ate it, no exception. A delicate cake, simple and easy and a true definition of simplicity is beauty. This variation is a combination of vanilla and chocolate flavor. Both these two flavors are for me the basic flavor of most baking. Both are very versatile and simple and could be presented in an elegant way in so many different ways. Although chiffon cake can be frosted, I always prefer having it naked. Just a simple dusting of icing sugar on top and a garnishing of fresh fruits on top or in the middle. For this once, I kept it simple so as not to hide the beauty of the dual flavor of the cake. It will be such a shame to cover it with frosting and hide the divided vanilla and chocolate layer. But by all means, feel free to decorate this with any frosting that you like. I would recommend a light whipped cream frosting for best taste.
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 cakes, just a slight difference in flavor
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 and some fresh fruits on top or on the side is enough to make a good presentation. If you are inclined to add some frosting, I would recommend a light Whipped Cream Frosting to complement the light and airy texture of the cake. For more of the frosting inspirations, check out my frosting recipe HERE
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
- Cake Flour: This recipe uses cake flour or low gluten flour. This kind of flour is suitable for cakes (hence the name cake flour) because of its low protein percentage. cake flour produces a light and airy cake as compared to any other flour. You can substitute it with all-purpose flour but there will be a difference in texture. I made this both using cake flour and all-purpose flour and I can really tell the difference.
- This recipe uses small amount of flour, 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 320F. First 10 minutes baking will be at this temperature, then after 10 minutes baking temperature will be lower down to 260F
- Wet Ingredients: In a bowl, transfer the egg yolk. Add the salt and caster sugar then whisk to break the egg yolk. Add oil and milk and stir.
- Dry Ingredients: Sift the cake flour into the wet ingredients. Mix to combine until fully incorporated and no more lumps.
- Divide the Batter: Divide the batter in half. Add cocoa powder to half of the batter, mix until fully combined. Set aside.
- 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.
- Vanilla Batter: Divide the mixture into half. Transfer half of the mixture and gently fold with the vanilla batter. Set aside
- Chocolate Batter: Pour the chocolate portion to half of the egg white mixture, gently fold until combined.
- Pour into a 6″ tube pan. Pour the vanilla batter first in the pan, followed by the chocolate batter. 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 at 320F first for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and run a sharp knife on top to create a line mark. This will help the inside bake evenly. Return to the oven and bake at 260F for 35 – 40 minutes
- 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.
- 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.
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