What is Chiffon Cake?
Chiffon cake is a light cake made with eggs, vegetable oil, sugar and flour, baking powder and flavorings.
There are two characteristics of chiffon cake. First, it uses vegetable oil instead of butter, which is used in traditional cake recipes. Second, a chiffon cake is a cross between a high ratio cake and a sponge cake.
Chiffon cake was invented in 1927 by Harry Baker, a California insurance salesman and a home baker. Baker sold the recipe to General Mills in 1948. Chiffon cake was aggressively promoted from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. It was promoted as “the first new cake in 100 years” when it first came out.1
How chiffon cake works
Chiffon cake uses vegetable oil, which is difficult to incorporate air into. Therefore, egg and sugar are first whipped into a thick foam and then a batter containing flour, egg yolk, oil and water is folded into the egg white foam.2 The aeration properties of the mixture rely on both the quality of the meringue and the chemical leavening in the batter.
Chiffon cake combines the richness of high ratio cake which is created by the batter and the lightness of sponge cake which is created by the meringue. As the vegetable oil is liquid at a cooler temperature, chiffon cake does not tend to harden or dry out as traditional butter cake. This makes it better-suited for fillings or frostings with ingredients that need to be refrigerated or frozen.
The FDA gives the reference amounts customarily consumed per eating occasion for chiffon cake in the regulation of food labeling, which is 55 grams per piece for distinct piece or per fractional slice for large discrete units.3
- Olver, Lynne. “Chiffon Cake.” The Food Timeline: Cake History Notes. N.p., (2015).
- Wilderjans, Edith, Annelies Luyts, Kristof Brijs, and Jan Delcour A. “Ingredient Functionality in Batter Type Cake Making.”Trends in Food Science & Technology 30.1 (2013): 6-15.
- “21CFR101.12.” CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21.