What Is Chiffon Cake? Is It The Same As Angel Food Cake?

I have never been a cake gal.  Give me a plate of brownies, and I am in heaven.  But lately, I have been craving cake. So I went in search of cake recipes.  And man, there are so many kinds of cake out there that it makes a girl dizzy. Pound, sponge, butter, angel food, fruit, chocolate, vanilla, and the list goes on and on.  But when I came across chiffon cake, I thought to myself. ” What is chiffon cake?  Is it the same as angel food cake?” After reading the recipe, I knew I had to try it. And am I glad I did! This delicious light airy cake has quickly become my favorite to bake and eat:) 

What Is Chiffon Cake? Is It The Same As Angel Food Cake?

A chiffon cake is a sponge cake that has a light airy, fluffy texture. An angel food cake is also a type of sponge cake but the Ingredients in these cakes make them different in their textures. Both have that light airy texture due to the whipped egg whites folded gently into the batter. The difference?  A chiffon cake also has oil, egg yolks, and baking powder in its list of ingredients.  The oil contributes to the lightness of the cake and also helps the cake to stay moist for a longer period of time.  The Baking powder gives the cake an extra lift.  And the egg yolks add richness. So a chiffon cake is not exactly the same as an angel food cake.

History Of Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cake was invented in 1927 by the California insurance salesman, Harry Baker.  He kept the recipe secret for 20 years.  Want to know more? Check this out!

I found the story very interesting. And the name of the inventor, ironic.  I can’t imagine keeping a secret for a year, let alone 20 years:)  

What Kind Of Oil Do I Use In A Chiffon Cake

It is best to use a neutral-flavored oil such as vegetable or canola oil.  Doing so keeps the cake from taking on the flavor of the oil, such as olive oil which will result in a slightly savory flavor.  Although it might be interesting to use coconut oil.

A note here.  If you are out of oil and want to use melted butter instead?  The end result of your cake will be a denser and richer cake.  So if you want that light and fluffy texture it would be best to stick to using oil.

Do I Have To Whip The Egg Whites Separately?

Yes. This step is what creates that light and airy texture in a chiffon cake.  Always whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  And then gently fold them into your batter.  Adding lemon juice or cream of tartar to the egg whites while whipping them will stabilize the foam and prevent it from collapsing. 

Separate the whites from the yolks when the eggs are still cold.  This will make separating them so much easier.  Then just set them aside to come to room temperature. Also, be very careful when separating your eggs so that you do not get any yolk in the whites, otherwise your whites will not whip correctly. 

What Type Of Flour Do I Use When Making A Chiffon Cake?

Some chiffon cake recipes call for all-purpose flour but I use cake flour because of the lower protein content.  This produces less gluten when mixed with liquid and results in a lighter more tender cake.  If the recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose flour just substitute it with 1 cup of cake flour. On the other hand, if you do not have cake flour then for every cup of cake flour needed just measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour, then remove 2 tablespoons and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.  

Always remember to sift your flour after measuring. I actually sift all my dry ingredients together at least 2 times after measuring them  I want to get as much air into them as I can.  And also makes for a smoother batter as well. 

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What Type Of Pan Do I Use To Bake A Chiffon Cake?

Chiffon cakes are usually baked in a tube pan or angel food cake pan. As with an angel food cake, you do not grease the pan or use a non-stick pan as this will not allow the cake to “climb” up the side.  I have been on a kick lately making mini cakes.  I bought these cute 6-inch by 3-inch pans and made a few mini lemon chiffon cakes.  I used a normal size cake recipe and filled the pans a little more than 1/2 full.  It made 4 mini cakes. Just enough to give one to my dear friend, a neighbor, and my daughter and that left me one for myself.  They turned out great but I think for more height The next time I am going to try this pan. 

The idea of making mini cakes is great for gift-giving or just because you want to share. It is just my husband and me in our household and when I crave a cake I know that by making a mini one, it is not going to go to waste:)

Here is my mini lemon chiffon cake I used a lemon glaze for the top and sides of the cake.

what is chiffon cake?

Now that you know what a chiffon cake is why not make one for yourself?  I can honestly say that you are going to love this cake.  Here is my favorite recipe for a Lemon Chiffon cake with a lemon glaze.


  • 8 large eggs, separated.  It is easier to separate eggs while cold. Place egg yokes in one bowl and the whites in another and set aside to come to room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Whip egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks and set aside
  3. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  I sift at least twice.  This helps with a smoother batter
  4. Add the egg yokes, oil, water, lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract to the flour mixture and whisk until very smooth
  5. Add a small amount of the whipped egg whites to the batter and fold gently until combined
  6. Add the egg yolk mixture slowly back into the egg whites in 3 separate batches and fold gently after each addition until everything is combined.
  7. Pour batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan
  8. Bake 55 minutes, turn the oven up to 350 degrees, and continue to bake another 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  9. Cool cake upside down. Once cool remove from the pan.

Lemon Glaze

2 cups confectioners(powdered sugar) sugar

3 tablespoons lemon juice

Mix together well and pour over the cooled cake.

When I make this cake I use 4 6 inchx3inch cake pans.  I filled the pans to just a little past 1/2 full and baked them at 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick came out clean.

Final Thoughts

A chiffon cake is a light airy cake in the sponge category like an angel food cake but with s slightly different texture due to its ingredients.  An angel food cake only uses whipped egg whites for its rising power A chiffon cake uses both egg whites and egg yokes that are added separately. A chiffon cake also used oil that enhances the cake’s lightness and allows it to stay moist longer. A chiffon cake is also usually baked in a tube pan that is not greased to allow the cake to “climb” up the sides of the pan.

It is my wish that this article helped in understanding what a chiffon cake is.  If you try the recipe above please leave me a comment below with your experiences.

And As Always

Keep On baking


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