Chiffon cake with strawberries
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|Flour, vegetable oil, eggs, sugar|
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Instead of the traditional cake ingredient butter, vegetable oil is used; but this is difficult to beat enough air into. Therefore chiffon cakes, like angel cakes and other foam cakes, achieve a fluffy texture by beating egg whites until stiff and folding them into the cake batter before baking. Its aeration properties rely on both the quality of the meringue and the chemical leaveners. Its oil-based batter is initially blended before folding into the meringue.
The high oil and egg content creates a very moist cake, and as oil is liquid even at cooler temperatures, chiffon cakes do not tend to harden or dry out as traditional butter cakes might. This makes them better-suited than many cakes to filling or frosting with ingredients that need to be refrigerated or frozen, such as pastry cream or ice cream. Chiffon cakes tend to be lower in saturated fat than butter cakes, potentially making them healthier than their butter-heavy counterparts. The lack of butter, however, means that chiffon cakes lack much of the rich flavor of butter cakes, and hence they are typically served accompanied with flavorful sauces or other accompaniments, such as chocolate or fruit fillings.
The chiffon cake was invented in 1927 by Harry Baker, a California insurance salesman turned caterer. Baker kept the recipe secret for 20 years until he sold it to General Mills. At this point the name was changed to "chiffon cake" and a set of 14 recipes and variations was released to the public in a Betty Crocker pamphlet published in 1948.
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- The New Best Recipe. Brookline, MA: America's Test Kitchen. 2004.