This fluffy cake seems to defy gravity. Recipe below – follow along! And thanks to our special guest, Pastry Chef and cookbook author Helen Goh, co-author of “Sweet” with Yotam Ottolenghi!
Whereas an airy angel food cake uses only whipped egg whites and has no added fat, a chiffon cake makes use of whole eggs, separated, and has added oil. The result is a moist, satisfying cake with a deeper flavour. This coconut version pairs perfectly with fresh tropical fruits like pineapple or mango.
- Recipe Information •
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) cake
Serves 12 to 16
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
The cake will keep, well wrapped, on the counter for up to 3 days.
- Ingredients •
10 large eggs, separated
1¼ cups (250 g) granulated sugar, divided
1½ cups (195 g) cake & pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp fine salt
¾ cup (175 mL) coconut milk
½ cup (125 mL) vegetable oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract (optional)
- Directions •
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C) and have ready a 10-inch (25 cm) ungreased angel food cake pan.
Note: An ungreased, straight-sided pan is essential for this chiffon cake recipe, which needs lots of space to rise. An angel food cake pan works well. Its straight sides make it easier to remove the cake from the pan after cooling and the centre hole allows the heat to circulate through the batter evenly. A Bundt pan, while pretty, would make removing the cake difficult.
- Whip the egg whites using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment on high speed until they are foamy. Slowly pour in ½ cup (100 g) sugar while whipping, until a medium peak is reached. Set aside.
- Mix the dry ingredients and liquids. In a separate bowl (or you can use the same bowl of the stand mixer), sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the reserved egg yolks, remaining ¾ cup (150 g) sugar, coconut milk, oil, lime juice, vanilla extract and coconut extract, if using. Whip at medium-high speed until the batter is well blended and smooth.
Note: Cake & pastry flour has less protein than other flours, which keeps this batter from toughening up as it mixes. Don’t worry about overmixing.
- Fold a third of the whites into the batter, folding until only a few streaks are visible. Add the remaining two-thirds and fold quickly but gently until combined. Pour the batter into the angel food cake pan and spread to level, if necessary.
- Bake the cake for about 50 minutes, until the cake springs back when gently pressed. Invert the cake on a rack to cool, unless the cake has risen to the top of the pan or above it. In that case, set three or four ramekins on the rack and place the edges of the inverted cake pan on the ramekins so the top of your cake doesn’t rest directly on the cooling rack.
Note: Cooling a chiffon cake upside down is critical so that gravity can pull down the hot, fragile sponge mixture and keep the delicate air bubbles in the cake stretched until they are cool and stable. If cooled upright, the cake collapses somewhat and the texture becomes slightly dense rather than light and airy.
- Remove the cake from the pan. Run a palette knife along the inside edge of the outer ring of the cake (the centre ring will loosen itself, or you can help it along by dropping a bamboo skewer down the sides of the inner ring, but do not try to loosen with a palette knife). Give the bottom of the pan a not-so-gentle tap to pop the cake out onto the counter. Transfer to a serving plate.
Note: Don’t be afraid to give the cake pan a good smack on the counter so it comes out in one piece—just make sure to do it on a counter or cutting board, not on your serving plate.