Light, airy, and super fluffy, chiffon cake is one of those perfect cakes that most people think they could never manage to bake at home. However, this recipe should make it seem like a literal piece of cake to make.
Classic Chiffon Cake
This classic 7 egg chiffon cake recipe is a fluffy, light as air cake that my Mom has been making since the '80s! See my notes for her lemon and her poppy seed version if you are looking for some slight variations, but the basic version is incredible in its own right.
The obvious key of chiffon cake is beating egg whites separate from the egg yolks, basically making a giant meringue that helps to give the whole cake a ton of air and lift that is the signature quality of the chiffon cake.
Classic Chiffon Cake Ingredients
Make sure you look at the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts so that you know exactly what to buy for this recipe.
• Sifted cake flour
• Baking powder
• White sugar
• Egg yolks
• Cold water
• Canola oil
Egg White Ingredients
• Egg whites
• Cream of tartar
How To Make Classic Chiffon Cake
• Preheat your oven to 325 °F and get out a 10-inch angel food cake pan.
• In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.
• Form a well in the middle, and then add the egg yolks, water, oil, and vanilla into the well
• In a large mixing bowl beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until very stiff and then set aside
• Beat the egg yolks mixture into the dry ingredients until smooth
• Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture over the beaten egg whites and fold in gently – don’t stir it!
• Pour into the ungreased angel food cake pan
• Bake for 45 minutes at 325 Fahrenheit, and then turn up the temperature to 350°F for another 10-15 minutes to finish
• Once a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, remove and turn the cake pan upside down to cool
• Cool completely upside down, then remove and serve
How To Make Sure You Beat The Egg Whites Properly
One of the biggest problems with trying to use beaten egg whites at home is their tendency to become absolutely ruined, almost out of nowhere.
Every inexperienced cook that tries to use beaten egg whites for the first time is bound to make a few mistakes here and there, so how do you do it right? How do you stop your egg whites from falling apart?
For starters, you need to make sure you are super careful. Egg whites develop their insane volume through cool chemical interaction with the proteins within the egg whites, basically creating a little matrix that traps air inside it, which is what gives it so much volume.
If someone is in the egg whites other than just the whites and air, then it can fail to develop its matrix and won’t thicken at all.
A common mistake is to use the same implement to mix something else, like the separated egg yolks, before using the egg whites. This doesn't work because the higher fat content of the yolks disrupts the emulsion forming.
Only whisk the egg white using a clean whisk that has been completely dried of water.
You can also cheat a bit and add some cream of tartar. This is the acidic part that is added to baking soda to make baking powder.
The addition of a little bit of acidity helps to counteract any residual yolks left in the egg whites, and the more acidic environment is better designed to form an emulsion, making the egg whites more like to form properly.
How To Make Some Simple Variations To This Recipe?
Chiffon cake is amazingly delicious in its own right, but there are some really simple changes you can make to completely turn this cake on its head.
For a poppyseed variation, soak ½ cup of poppy seeds in one cup of water for a couple of ours.
Use this to replace the ¾ cup of water in the given recipe to end up with a poppyseed cake!
Or, remove the vanilla flavoring and replace it with lemon instead, as well as a couple of tablespoons of grated lemon zest. Make sure not to include the white pith, though.
Looking for more delicious Cake recipes? Try these out:
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- Prep Time
- 30 minutes
- Cook Time
- 1 hour
- Karlynn Johnston
- 2 cups sifted cake flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 11/2 cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
Egg White Ingredients
- 7 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat your oven to 325 °F and get out a 10 inch angel food cake pan.
- In a medium sized bowl sift together the dry ingredients. Form a well in the middle.
- Place the egg yolks, water, oil and vanilla into the well. Do not mix yet.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until very stiff. Set aside.
- Now you can beat the egg yolks mixture into the dry ingredients until smooth.
- Slowly pour the egg yolk mixture over the beaten egg whites and fold in gently, do not stir!
- Pour into the ungreased angel food cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes, then turn up the temperature to 350°F for another 10-15 minutes to finish. The cake is done when a cake tester or toothpick inserted unto the center comes out clean.
- Remove and turn the cake pan upside down to cool. Cool completely upside down, then remove and serve.
- For Poppyseed : soak 1/2 cup of poppyseeds in one cup of water for 2 hours. Omit the 3/4 cup of water in the recipe and mix in the watery poppyseeds instead. All other instructions are the same.
- Lemon : Replace the vanilla flavoring with lemon and add in 1-2 tablespoons of grated lemon rind. All other instructions are the same.
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.