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Orange Chiffon Cake

Orange Chiffon Cake
Orange Chiffon Cake pictures (3 of 4)

Chiffon cake—much like angel cake in the US (but tastes better)—is one of the most popular cakes in Malaysia and Singapore. Walk into any cake shops or supermarkets, you can always find various flavors of chiffon cake for sale. Chiffon cake is prized for its very light, soft, and cottony texture. Everyone loves it.

Believe it or not, I was quite a Orange chiffon cake baker when I was in high school. During one of my high school years, I remember my eldest sister-in-law started baking chiffon cake at home. She had learned how to bake chiffon cake from her co-worker and started testing out the recipe. I loved pottering in the kitchen, watching the preparation and baking process. She started teaching me her recipe. I remember vividly she had to beat the egg whites until soft peaks formed, during which she would turn the container with the egg whites upside down to test the readiness. She cautioned me that if the egg whites were runny, the cake would fail. The foamy texture of the egg whites mesmerized me…I thought it was amazing that the egg whites defy gravity!

Orange Chiffon Cake

Soon after that, I started testing out her chiffon cake recipe, with great success. While the most popular is pandan chiffon cake, I loved making orange chiffon cake. My late aunt would always buy me oranges. Once in a while, I would bake coffee chiffon cake and she would ask her friend from the coffee shop for some Nescafe coffee mix. For a month or two, my favorite pass time was baking orange chiffon cake. I loved the citrusy fragrance and the mild tangy flavor of orange chiffon cake.

As with many teenage obsessions, soon I found another hobby and I stopped baking. Fast forward to many years later, the last chiffon cake I made was this lemon chiffon cake I posted many years ago. If you asked me if I still remember my sister-in-law’s recipe, the answer is a clear no. However, I am happy that my contributor CP Choong is sharing her Orange Chiffon Cake recipe with us, which brings back many memories of my high school days.

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46 COMMENTS... read them below or add one

  1. I was hoping that instagram photo I saw via your twitter account was indeed a recipe that would be available on your website and it is! Will do this with my daughter next month for our monthly baking event.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Elaine

    Is superfine sugar equivalent to caster sugar? I used caster sugar in another baking and I found it was difficult to dissolve in the egg yolk batter. Any tips on that?

      • John

        The original recipe for chiffon cake calls for the sugar to be added to the sifted flour along with baking soda and salt. I measure the flour, sift, measure again, add the sugar, baking soda and salt. Then whisk the dry ingredients to combine. The egg yolk mixture is then added to the flour mixture. Try this and it does not matter what kind of sugar you use. We did not have self rising flour in 1947, so baking soda was used. The orange juice activated the baking soda.

  3. John

    The recipe for Chiffon Cake was developed by Harry Baker in 1927. He lived in Los Angeles, and his cake soon became very popular among celebrity parties in the Hollywood area. He kept his recipe a guarded secret until 1947 when he sold the recipe to General Mills.

    General Mills was formed in 1921 when the Washburn Crosby Company merged with five other Milling companies. The name Betty Crocker was developed by General Mills to promote their products. The public soon became so enamored to Betty Crocker that they considered her a real person, and General Mills actually put a picture up to portray Betty Crocker.

    The General Mills company then fine tuned the recipe so the average cook could duplicate it. The recipe was unveiled in the May 1948 issue of “Better Homes and Garden Magazine” giving Betty Crocker the credit.

    In 1950 General Mills published the “Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook”, and featured the recipe for Chiffon Cake.

  4. John

    The original recipe calls for regular sugar. I was born in 1947. I still have my Grandmother’s “Better Homes And Garden Cookbook”. Perhaps superfine sugar was not available in 1947. I don’t think it matters.

  5. janet

    Chiffon cakes were also omnipresent in the midwest when I was growing up. I think they lost popularity when cake mixes took over the US in the 70s and 80s. As I remember, both lemon and orange were very popular and also strawberry which used the syrup from frozen strawberries to flavor and color the cake, and was frequently served with a dollop of the thawed berries and some whipped cream. The berries came in a rectangular container, were sliced, and had a mushy consistency–sounds disgusting now that fresh berries are available year round, but they were actually pretty tasty.

  6. John

    After the war the trend was for fast and easy. Cakes made from scratch became a thing of the past. My Grandmother always made cakes from scratch, and my mother always used a cake mix from a box. All food started to come in a can or a box. After coming to the Philippines the availability of processed cake mixes was limited. I became interested in making all dishes from scratch. I never use soup from a can. I make my own sauces and dips. This way I can control sugar and MSG. This is also why I enjoy Bee’s recipes from Rasamalsysia. Her recipes are always tested, and changes are rarely needed. I always try her recipes exactly as written, and they always come out great.

    • Hi John, awww, thanks so much for sharing such wonderful information about this chiffon cake. I didn’t know the history of this cake. Thanks. Also, thanks for being such a great fan of Rasa Malaysia and my recipes!

  7. ShirleyBerry

    Hi Bee, tested this Chiffon cake today. The looks of it is great but when I cut it I was a bit dismay. Overall it’s good but it is not as fluffy as yours. Edible and taste good too. I baked it for 50 mins maybe at 60 mins it may turned out fluffier. Where did I go wrong ?

    • John

      I keep referring back to the original recipe by Harry Baker. There are differences between the original recipe and this recipe. These differences may not be the cause of your problem. Please consider these suggestions. Did you sift the flour then measure again? If you weigh the flour as Bee suggests it would be better. I would weigh the flour then sift. The original recipe calls for cake flour. Cake flour is a fine-textured, soft-wheat flour with a high starch content. It has the lowest protein content of any wheat flour, 8% to 10% protein (gluten). It is chlorinated (a bleaching process which leaves the flour slightly acidic, sets a cake faster, and distributes fat more evenly through the batter to improve texture. When you’re making baked goods with a high ratio of sugar to flour, this flour will be better able to hold its rise and will be less liable to collapse. This flour is excellent for baking fine-textured cakes with greater volume. If you cannot find cake flour, substitute bleached all-purpose flour, but subtract 2 tablespoons of flour for each cup used in the recipe. Or add 2 tbsp cornstarch to all-purpose flour for each cup of cake flour required. The tube pan must be ungreased, do not use wax paper on the bottom of the pan. The egg whites must be totally free of egg yolk. I separate each egg in a separate bowl, and when certain there is no yolk, then I add it to the other whites. The cake must be cooled upside down. This may take up to 1 hour. The secret ingredients for chiffon cake are vegetable oil, and egg yolks. But both vegetable oil, and egg yolks, have a negative affect on egg whites, preventing the whites from forming peaks. So why does it work with a chiffon cake? The answer is “I simply do not know”. Do not dismay, have fun but follow the fundamentals.

  8. Sharon

    Hi, Its a little difficult to get self raising flour in Taiwan . Is it ok to use all purpose flour and then add baking powder? Also, will it be ok to use a normal cake pan instead of the tube pan. Thanks

  9. ShirleyBerry

    Hi Bee and John,
    Thank you for the tips and advice. Will definitely try it again. I measure the flour first then sift. The flour I used was self raising instead of cake flour. Maybe I should try using that :) Thanks so much and will let you guys know the outcome.

  10. ShirleyBerry

    Hi Bee,
    Bake again today and it turned out great. Its fuffly and light. This time I used cake flour as suggested by John. Thank you to both of your advice and motivation.

  11. Judy

    After about 20 years of not baking I made this cake yesterday. It was light and fluffy. I could’ve had a bit more sugar and oranges peel but that’s me not this lovely cake. Thank you very much.

  12. Hi. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I’ve always wanted to try this. Can I ask why there are two indications of the superfine sugar in the ingredients? One is for 50g and the other listing is 130g?

    Am I supposed to have 180g total?

  13. Annie

    How would it work if I use a bundt mold? Do I let it cool upside down? Or flip it right way after its out of the oven?

  14. Lori

    Terrific recipe! This is the first chiffon cake I have ever made with such a lovely texture (this is my second try, my first cake – different recipe – came out dry and hard). Moist and delicious.

  15. Celine

    I baked this cake today. My 2nd try for chiffon cake. As I didn’t hv lemon juice or tartar cream, I substituted it with apple cider vinegar instead. I reduced the quantity of sugar by 30gms. However, it still turned out rather sweet for my taste bud. With all these tweaks, I m glad that cake turned out fluffy and moist. My hubby loves this cake and he has eaten half of it, all by himself.
    Many thks for this recipe. I will replace orange juice with pandan juice in my next bake for a pandan chiffon cake instead. From a fellow Penangite.

  16. Helen Chin

    My chiffon cake tube pan ungreased and it didn’t come out well like yours. It stuck to the pan.

  17. Nadine

    I tried this recipe, and it turned out fabulous just like I remember it when I was younger. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make it because growing up as a kid we use to buy orange chiffon cake in the stores, and it was always a favorite to everyone in Hawaii. Now you don’t find it so much around. I’ve tried making it once before when a neighbor showed me how to do it, but it never turned out like hers. When I saw this recipe, I had to give it another try. To my surprise it turned out so awesome just like when we bought it at the store. My husband and I ate the whole thing by ourselves. It was light, fluffy, and spongy, and had the orange taste which we love. It is not too sweet but just right. It was perfect. Thank you Rasa for sharing your recipe!

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