Ethereal chiffon cake gets its pillowy texture from baking powder and whipped egg whites. It’s a blank slate for layer cakes filled with strawberry sauce and covered with cream cheese frosting, or try it covered with chocolate frosting or vanilla buttercream.
Game plan: Watch our CHOW Tip on how to separate egg yolks from the whites.
- Yield: 1 (8-inch) cake
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 65 minutes, plus cooling time
- Butter, for coating the pan
- 1 cup cake flour, plus more for coating the pan
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, whites and yolks separated (see Game Plan note), at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat an (8-inch) cake pan generously with butter, then flour, tapping out any excess flour; set aside.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to combine; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine oil, water, vanilla, egg yolks, and 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Whisk on medium speed until mixture is light in color and looks slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Turn off the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add reserved dry ingredients, turn the mixer to low, and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer batter to a large bowl.
- Wash and dry the mixer bowl and whisk attachment. Place egg whites in the bowl and whisk on high speed until soft peaks form (they should droop over like soft-serve ice cream), about 30 seconds. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form (they should stand straight up), about 1 minute more. Using a rubber spatula, fold a quarter of the egg whites into the batter until evenly incorporated; gently fold in the remaining egg whites until just combined and no large white streaks remain.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the surface of the cake is golden brown and springs back when pressed and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the perimeter and turn the cake onto the rack to cool completely.