This recipe yields a very fluffy (think cloud or pillow), very soft, and still very juicy orange chiffon cake.
Chiffon cake is probably one of the most delicate cake one can bake. In Indonesia, we call this type of cake “kue bolu”. We always serve it plain, and it is argueable one of the most commonly served daily during tea-time when we fancy some cake. This orange version is very popular, not only in Indonesia, but also among other Southeast and East Asian countries.
Chiffon cake pan
Most people will insist that you need to bake this in a tube pan. I grow up calling it a chiffon cake pan, but here in United States, it is sold as angel food cake pan.
The one we use widely in Asia is actually the 7-inch angle food cake pan, which can be harder to find compared to the regular 10-inch pan. You can try Amazon, or Bed Bath and Beyond. I myself use the one from Wilton.
There are also many people baking chiffon cake with an 8”x3” round cake pan with great success, so if you already have that in your kitchen, you may want to give it a try. You need to make sure that the pan you use is made with aluminum, and you need to get a NOT non-stick version.
Chiffon cake, like an angel cake, must be baked in an ungreased pan. So please be sure to skip greasing the pan with any butter/oil.
Any chiffon cake you bake will probably produce some sort of cracks on top. Once the cake is removed from the pan, the cracks are usually hidden from view if you place the top part on the bottom of your cake plate.
But, you can actually control how the cake cracks by pulling it out from the oven at around 15 minutes of baking time and quickly cut some slits on top. This way, the cracks look designed, and you can serve the cake as is, without flipping the top to bottom and the bottom to top.
Invert the pan to cooling the cake
Another key technique when preparing chiffon cake is the method to cool the cake. You need to invert the cake pan and cool the cake upside down.
I usually just grab three little bowls and place them on a wire rack, then stand the three little feet from the tube pan on top of the bowls. Only remove the cake from the pan once it has fully cooled.
If you don’t follow this method of cooling the cake, you risk ending up with a collapsed cake, which after all the care you take to bake the perfect chiffon cake, is just a shame if that happens.
Orange Chiffon Cake
- 100 gram (3.5 oz. / ~ 14 tablespoon) cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 egg yolks
- 30 gram (1 oz. / ~ 3.5 tablespoon) powdered sugar
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) neutral flavored oil (e.g. vegetable, canola, e.t.c.)
- 100 ml (6 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon) freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 5 egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (or 1 teaspoon vinegar)
- 60 gram (2 oz. / ~ 7 tablespoon) powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit (180 Celsius).
- Sift together cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and 30 gram powdered sugar until well mixed. Add in oil, orange juice, and orange zest. Beat until well mixed. Add the cake flour mixture in 3 batches, and beat until well mixed. Set aside.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk egg whites until foamy. Then add cream of tartar (or vinegar). Add powdered sugar in 3 batches, and keep whisking until stiff peak.
- With a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolks batter in 3 batches.
- Pour into a 7-inch angel food pan (I use the one from Wilton). Gently tap to remove air bubbles. (*)
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- [Optional] Remove pan from oven, quickly make thin slits on the top to control the cracking pattern of the chiffon cake.
- Reduce heat to 320 Fahrenheit (160 Celsius). Continue baking for another 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool the cake by inverting the pan to prevent the cake from collapsing. Once the cake is completely cool, gently run a thin knife along the edges of the pan to unmold the cake.
- (*) I am using a smaller size angle food cake pan which holds 50% volume of a regular 10-inch pan.