Invented in the late 1920s, the chiffon cake became wildly popular after the public release of the recipe in 1948 in "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine. Hundreds of variations on the recipe sprang up. The cake owes its popularity to its simplified mixing method and its use of baking powder and vegetable oil, which ensure its reliability and light, airy texture. It also uses equal quantities of egg yolks and whites, which makes it practical and economical. The chiffon cake remains a favourite dessert, whether served simply with fresh fruit or made elaborate with chocolate and whipped cream.
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Things you need
- 575 ml (2 1/3 cups) sifted plain flour
- 15 ml (3 tsp) baking powder
- 300 ml (1 1/4 cup) sugar
- 5 ml (1 tsp) salt
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
- 175 ml (3/4 cup )cold water
- 5 Egg yolks, beaten
- 10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla
- 10 ml (2 tsp) grated lemon or orange rind
- 5 Egg whites
- 2 ml (1/2 tsp) cream of tartar
- 75 ml (1/3 cup) sugar
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C (325F). Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
Whisk together, in a mixing bowl, the flour, baking powder, sugar and the salt. Add oil, water, egg yolks, vanilla and rind to the dry ingredients. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar to soft peaks in a large mixing bowl. Add 75 ml (1/3 cup) sugar gradually while beating whites, to create a meringue with stiff peaks.
Pour the egg and flour mixture, one third at a time, carefully over the meringue. Fold or whisk this in gently after each addition until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the batter into an ungreased 25 cm (10 inch) tube pan. Bake the cake at 160 degrees C (325F) for 55 minutes. Increase the heat to 180 degrees C (350F) and continue to bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer.
Remove the cake from the oven. Invert the pan and let it cool for about an hour.
Tips and warnings
- Vary flavourings by using different rinds and extracts. Omit rind and add cocoa with dry ingredients.
- Dust with icing sugar or glaze with a simple mixture of icing sugar and juice or milk.
- Be gentle with the batter to avoid deflating egg whites.
- Make sure all sugar is absorbed into whites before adding liquid mixture.