Chocolate Chiffon Cake is a fluffy, yet moist cake, where vegetable oil is used as its liquid base instead of heavier ingredients like butter or milk. It is very light in texture, somewhere between a batter and a foam cake, because of the presence of ‘stiffly’ beaten egg whites. It is believed that chiffon cake was first created in 1927 by a caterer Harry Baker, who kept the recipe a secret for 20 years. He finally sold it to General Mills which coined the term “Chiffon Cake” and published the recipe and its variations in its Betty Crocker publication. The best thing about chiffon cake is that since we use oil here, it does not harden like a butter cake if kept in the fridge. Although you can make it in any flavor — vanilla, lemon, orange — I prefer chocolate because it adds just the right amount of richness to an otherwise light cake.
Ideally chiffon cake is baked in an aluminium tube pan. Most foam cakes, such as Angel Food Cake, are baked in an ungreased tube pan so that the cake rises well and does not collapse after cooling. Although we associate the tube shape with a chiffon cake, you can make it in a regular pan too; I have used a 9-inch round springform pan. Just do not grease the pan with butter and flour in order to allow the batter to cling to the pan while rising. There is a difference in the baking temperature and time for a tube pan, which I have described in the recipe below.
I baked this Chocolate Chiffon Cake for my friend’s birthday. As you can see in the picture, this is a two-tiered cake. But both the cake and the frosting recipe is for a regular 9-inch pan, that is, the bottom layer as seen in the photograph. You can increase the amount of the ingredients if you want more layers or tiers.
Plain Flour: 2 cups
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: ¼ cup
Baking powder: 2 tsp
Baking soda: ¼ tsp
Salt: ½ tsp
Egg yolks: 6
Egg whites: 7
Vegetable oil: ½ cup
Freshly brewed coffee: 1 cup, room temperature
Vanilla extract: 1 ½ tsp
Sugar: ¾ cup
Icing/powdered sugar: 4 cups
Vegetable shortening: 1/2 cup
Unsalted butter: 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
Milk: 1/4 cup
1) Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
These steps will help get rid of air bubbles.
6) Bake for 35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes clean. If you use a tube pan, then bake the cake at 325 degrees F for 55 to 60 min.
1) While the cake bakes, whisk together all the ingredients of the frosting. You can also cover it and store it in the fridge for up to 10 days. Just whisk it again before using to make it fluffy.
2) Once the cake cools completely, spread the icing/frosting over the cake with an offset spatula. If you want layers, cut the cake in the middle into two equal halves and spread some icing in between the top and bottom layer.
3) A revolving cake stand is very helpful for icing. You can mix a few drops of food coloring in the frosting and make designs like roses, shells or leaves using a piping bag and the appropriate frosting tips.