Chiffon cakes are my favorite kind of cakes. I even use them as the cake base for my mousse and whipped cream cakes. I like chiffon cakes more than sponge cakes as they are fluffier and more moist. You don’t need to brush any simple syrup on top of the chiffon cake when assembling the cake. Adding syrup = adding sweetness. So definitely that is something I am always trying to avoid.
Updated Oct 15, 2018. I have taken some new pictures last week and made slight adjustment to the recipe. My countertop oven is pretty small and the chimney of my 7” tube pan is almost touching the upper heating element (my 10” tube pan won’t even fit in!!!). I couldn’t use oven temperature that is too high so I could hardly bake chiffon cakes with a golden brown crust. My new strategy is to start off with a lower temperature, like 300℉/150℃ instead of 325℉/160℃ that I would typically use throughout the entire baking process, and bake for approximately 40 minutes until the cake has reached its maximum height. If you prefer neater cracks on the surface of your cake you may even take out the cake and cut some slits after the first 10 minutes of baking. I will attach some pictures at the end. Then I would cover the cake loosely with aluminium foil then raise the oven temperature to 340℉/170℃ with fan on and continue baking until the cake has reduced slightly in height and is golden on top, which could take any time between 10 and 15 minutes. This method takes longer but after trying a couple of times, my cakes all have deep golden brown crusts. With a lower initial temperature my cakes also rose steadily and evenly and would not touch the top heating element. Just note that the indicated times as well as oven temperatures both serve as a reference only. Most of us has ovens of various brands, functions and capacities (for example my Cuisinart oven has a capacity of 0.95 cubic feet or 26.9 liters and the temperature of the upper and lower heating elements cannot be adjusted independently). You will need to find out your optimal baking temperature and time through trial and error. If you have tried my method and are satisfied with the result, do send me some cake pictures and let me know!
Vanilla Chiffon Cake
For 7” tube pan
80 g cake and pastry flour
A pinch of salt
4 egg yolks, large
45 g milk
40 g grapeseed oil
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites, large
1/2 tsp white vinegar or lemon juice
60 g granulated sugar (I used organic sugar)
Notes: The eggs I use are about 55 g each without shells.
Preheat oven to 325ºF/160ºC.
Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre then pour in the egg yolks, milk, oil and vanilla. Whisk gently until incorporated. Set aside.
Place egg whites in another clean mixing bowl (I usually wipe the bowl and the wire beater with paper towel dampened with vinegar or lemon juice to remove traces of grease). With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites until foamy. Add vinegar (to stabilize the meringue) and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar in batches and continue beating until glossy and firm peaks form. When you lift up the whisk, the peak will hold its shape but the tip will fall back slightly.
Scoop about one third of the meringue into the yolk batter and fold with a whisk to lighten. Then scrape this back into the bowl of meringue. Fold gently and thoroughly (so you don’t deflate the meringue) with a spatula until homogeneous.
Pour batter into an unprepared tube pan. Tap pan against the kitchen countertop several times to get rid of any large air bubbles. Smooth top with an offset spatula.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. If you are like me who use a small-capacity oven or would like a more golden crust, please follow the instructions at the beginning of the blog post. Every oven is different so adjust baking time accordingly. Drop cake pan on the kitchen countertop at a distance upon removal from the oven. This will release any gas trapped in the cake cells and minimize shrinkage. Invert pan on a wire rack to cool completely before unmolding.
By cutting some slits on top once the skin has formed, you can control where the cake will crack open. I’ve made four slits here.
Without any disturbance, the cake cracks randomly on top.