Vanilla Chiffon Cake

Vanilla Chiffon Cake is made with whipped eggs and oil. Oil makes the chiffon cake moist and tender, and whipped eggs make it super-light. This recipe can be baked as a layer cake or in a tube pan.

A vanilla chiffon cake on a cake stand being sprinkled with sugar

I think “chiffon” is a great word. Not only is it a pretty sounding word, it also conjures up images of softness, airiness and luxury, like the namesake fabric.

Those are all lovely traits for a cake, no? Who doesn’t want a cake that is soft, airy and luxurious?

a four layer strawberry and cream cake on a glass cake stand
Strawberry Tall Cake

What is Chiffon Cake?

What makes chiffon cake unique is the fact that it’s sort-of a cross between a rich buttery cake and an airy sponge cake. It’s got the best of both worlds.

The lightness comes from first whipping up the yolks with the other ingredients and then folding in whipped egg whites. There’s also a generous dose of baking powder in the batter to help expand all those air bubbles.

When baked in an ungreased tube pan, this cake puffs up super-high and is light as a cloud.

The cake is made with oil and water in the batter, which help create the soft crumb in the cake. The oil not only adds moisture to the cake, but the oil coats the flour which prevents gluten formation. So this cake is very, very tender.

Oil stays liquid when chilled, so a chiffon cake will stay soft, even when refrigerated.

That means this is the perfect base for cakes that require refrigeration. One of my favorite ways to use vanilla chiffon cake is to make a spectacular cream-filled Strawberry Tall Cake. You could also fill this cake with light and airy Fresh Strawberry Mousse.

Watch the recipe video to see exactly how to make Vanilla Chiffon Cake:

a bowl of cake batter and an angel food cake pan
Traditionally, the cake is baked in an ungreased Angel Food Cake pan.

FAQs about Vanilla Chiffon Cake:

What type of baking pan should I use for vanilla chiffon cake?

Chiffon cakes are traditionally baked in an angel food cake pan. The batter can also be baked in two 8″ or 9″ round pans to make a layer cake. This recipe can also be baked into a dozen cupcakes (use cupcake liners).

How do I cool the chiffon cake?

If the cake is baked in a tube pan, treat it like an angel food cake and cool it upside down. Cool layer cakes in the pans.

Why did my Chiffon Cake collapse?

If you baked the cake in a tube pan and greased the pan the cake can sink. If you took the cake out of the pan before it was completely cooled, or if you didn’t cool it upside down, the cake could sink. If you overwhip the eggs your cake won’t rise as high as it could.

How long does Vanilla Chiffon Cake stay fresh?

A chiffon cake will stay fresh at room temperature (if it doesn’t have a filling) for 3-4 days.

How do I store Chiffon Cake?

A cake without filling can be stored at room temperature for 3-4 days. If the cake has a perishable filling, it should be refrigerated.

Cake Chiffon Cake be refrigerated?

Yes, because it’s made with oil instead of butter, chiffon cake will be soft even if refrigerated.

Can Chiffon Cake be frozen?

Yes, wrap the cake in two layers of plastic wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. You can also freeze individually wrapped slices. Defrost in the wrapping at room temperature.

a slice of vanilla chiffon cake on a plate

You also should try my Lemon Chiffon cake and Chocolate Chiffon cake recipes.

I have so many cake recipe for you to try. Vanilla Buttermilk Cake, White Cake, Vanilla Butter Cake, Chocolate Butter Cake, Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake, Genoise sponge cake, Angel Food Cake and Chocolate Genoise.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

Print Recipe
4.54 from 200 reviews

Vanilla Chiffon Cake

Chiffon cakes are made with whipped eggs and oil. Oil makes the chiffon cake moist, and whipped eggs make it light. This recipe can be baked as a layer cake or in a tube pan.


Prep Time20 minutes
Bake Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
16 servings
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Ingredients

  • 3 ½ oz vegetable oil (½ cup)
  • 6 large eggs (separated)
  • 6 oz water (¾ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 10 oz cake flour (2 ¼ cups, see note)
  • 12 oz granulated sugar (1 ½ cups, divided)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 °F. For a traditional chiffon cake, use an ungreased 10" tube pan. If you want to make a layer cake line two 8” cake pans with parchment paper or butter and flour the bottom of the pans only.
  • Combine 3 ½ oz vegetable oil, 6 egg yolks, 6 oz water and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract in a mixer bowl. Mix on medium speed until well combined.
  • Sift 10 oz cake flour with 1 cup of the sugar, 1 tablespoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon table salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients to yolk mixture. Whip on high speed for 1 minute, then set aside
  • Whip 6 egg whites on medium speed to soft peak. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup sugar, increase the speed to medium high and whip to full peak. Fold the whites into the yolk mixture in three increments.
  • If making a layer cake, divide the batter between the two pans. If you’re using a tube pan, pour all the batter into the pan. Bake until the middle of the cake springs back with lightly pressed, 30-35 minutes for the layers or about 50-60 minutes for the tube pan.
  • Cool the cake completely in the pan.

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Video

Notes

If measuring the flour by volume use the “dip & sweep” method. That is, dip the measuring cup into the flour bin, overfill it, then sweep away the excess.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 227kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 177mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 89IU | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1mg
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @eileen.bakingsense or tag #bakingsense!

81 Comments

  1. I’ve seen chiffon cakes with milk instead of water. Could this recipe be replaced with 2% milk?
    I have 8 inch pans that are only 1 1/2 inches Or 9 inch pans also 1 1/2 inches.
    Which would work better and how long would the bake time be?

    1. I couldn’t say how substituting milk for water would affect the cake since I haven’t tried it. I like the texture of the cake as is so I’m not sure you need to use milk instead. If you only have shorter pans you may want to bake 3 or 4 layers since the cake would probably overflow the pans. Don’t fill the pan more than about 2/3 full.

  2. Hello! I have these baking strips to put around the cake pans to prevent the domes from forming. Would I be able to use them to get even layers or would you not recommend them?

    Thank you.

    1. I think you’d be pushing it with 2″ tall pans. I would divide the batter in 3. Bake the first two cakes. Then when the cakes come out of the oven reuse one of the pans for a third layer.

    1. Yes. Since this recipe fills two 8″x3″ pans, you probably want to double the recipe to fill all three pans.

  3. If I would want to make this a lemon chiffon cake, how would you suggest doing that; maybe with limoncello? Also, all I have is 8×2 pans, is that deep enough?

    1. To flavor the cake with lemon, use finely grated lemon zest and lemon extract. You can use 8″x2″ pans but don’t fill them more than half way.

  4. I tried this cake, but when it came out of the oven and for me to hang it, it took 2 minutes and then fell out of the pan. Is that supposed to happen.

    1. Yes, I do need to get on it to post a chocolate chiffon recipe. I haven’t tested it yet, but I would try replacing 1/2 cup of flour with cocoa.

    1. I don’t know. Maybe the bowl wasn’t clean enough or maybe some yolk got into the whites? Are you using fresh egg whites?

  5. Hi Eileen,

    If I wanted to make this into cupcakes, how many do you think it would make? Will it overfill as if rises? And around what temp?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. I would guess it would make 24 cupcakes. Don’t fill the cups more than 2/3 full to give it plenty of room to rise.

  6. If I wanted to make this into a half sheet cake, would that be possible? Anyone know the exact measurements?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Christina, you can bake the batter in two half sheet pans. The layers will be thinner. If you want one thick half sheet cake then you can bake the batter in one pan.

      1. Same temp. But in a shallow sheet pan it will bake much faster. I would start checking on it after 10 minutes.

  7. I gave this cake a 5 star rating as my go to recipe. Perfect everytime.
    Please can you advise what filling you made with the fresh strawberries.
    Thank you Gillian

  8. Hi Eileen,

    I have tried many many chiffon recipe…none is as good as yours. I just made yours today and it became so nice and fluffy and quite high. Thank you for this easy recipe.

    Regards
    Shan

  9. Hi Eileen,

    I tried to find a response in previous comments but can’t

    Ingredients says
    2 ¼ cups = 10 oz, 280 g cake flour
    1 ½ cups = 12 oz, 336g granulated sugar

    Is there really more sugar than flour or is the conversation wrong?

    Thank you

    Sendrine

  10. Can we use butter instead of vegetables oil while using this method of mixing? If yes, how much butter is to be used?

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure what the result would be. You could replace with the same amount of melted butter.

  11. I normally dont comment on recipes Ive tried but i HAD to for this recipe! It was amazing and super easy to make! Ive always been scared to make a chiffon cake but this recipe definitely eased my mind.

  12. Guys, Thanks For sharing this Great Recipe. My Family Loved it. I am definitely sharing this recipe and this website with my friend. Hope they also love it. Thank you again for sharing such a great recipe.

  13. Overall a great recipe! I was actually quite surprised by how fluffy the batter was and the cake in general. It’s pretty interesting that there are two leavening agents used in this recipe – fluffed-up egg white as well as the baking powder.

    I’m also not sure why, but I my cake had a slightly bitter taste on the top of the cake that I presume is due to the tablespoon of baking powder. It wasn’t apparent within the cake, however, it was distasteful enough to me that I had to cut off the tops of my cakes. I’ll most likely adjust the baking powder next time to perhaps 2 teaspoons or so. Otherwise, a great recipe and very easy too!

    Thank you for this 🙂

  14. Can i use this recipe for 10x10x2 square pan? The first time i made a chiffon cake it was okay then the 2nd time i tried adding 1 egg because the recipe i followed says 6 large eggs but we only have small eggs, the upper part is kinda sticky, some parts of the cake are dry and other parts are moist. I just want my chiffoncake to be moist and not dry

    1. Have you been using this recipe or another one? Regarding the eggs, 6 large eggs would weigh about 10.5 oz (without shell). I’m not sure of the weight of a small egg, but use enough that you have 10.5 oz total. Baking in a 10″ square pan should be fine. Don’t fill the pan more than about 2/3 full since it won’t bake from the center as it does in a tube pan. As far has the cake having dry spots, moist spots and sticky spots- that sounds like a mixing problem.

  15. Hello, I baked the cake in a 12x12x2 inch rectangular pan for 33 minutes, sometimes they came out dry and i think it’s because I over baked them. Does the height of the batter in the pan changes the baking time? Thank you.

    1. Yes, the height of the batter and the shape of the pan can make a big difference. Also, baking times are always just an estimate. How quickly the cake bakes can be affected by the material, weight and color of the pan, by the room temp and by the accuracy of your oven. Use the time listed in the recipe as a guideline but go more by the touch and toothpick test.

      1. Thank you, your recipe always gives me great results every time I make them. It’s really delicious, soft and kind of melts in your mouth. I always used this for my cakes and got a good response from my friends and family even though it’s a little bit dry. They don’t mind but I do so thanks for the advice, I will keep this in mind. Thank you so much.

    1. I think it would probably bake OK in a 9×13, but I can’t say for certain since I haven’t tried it.

  16. Hello, please can I use all purpose flour in the absence of cake flour as well as the substitute cornstarch.thanks

    1. Yes. For each cup of cake flour use 3/4 cup of all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoon of corn starch.

  17. Hi! I’m from the UK and we don’t have cake flour here. It’s only plain flour (all purpose) or self raising flour. Would plain flour work as a good substitute for cake flour? Thank you 🙂

    1. I loved this cake! Thank you so much. The only thing I found was that it was quite sweet. Can I reduce the Mount of sugar or will it affect the rise and texture?

    1. Sorry, I couldn’t give a good substitute without extensive research and testing. The eggs are an important part of the structure for this cake.

  18. I made this a couple of weeks ago and it turned out so good! I wanted to use the same recipe for my daughter’s birthday cake but turn it into a confetti cake. Do you think the cake can support Jimmy sprinkles added to it? Any advice is appreciated!

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I would think so. I would fold the sprinkles into the batter just before folding in the egg whites.

  19. Hi Eileen!

    Thank you for the posting this wonderful recipe. I baked this for my daughter’s birthday and it was delightful. I used two different sized pans to make it a tier cake.
    I baked it a second time though using half the recipe in a 8*2 inch pan, my cake did rise but shrunk and deflated after taking out from the oven. And wasn’t light airy fluffy like the first time I baked it. It’s dense and flat 🙁 in your experience what could I have done wrong? An idea?
    Thanks!

    1. I couldn’t say for sure. Are you sure you halved all the ingredients, including the baking powder? Are you sure the cake was baked through?

      1. Hi Eileen! Thank for replying, Yes I used exactly half the ingredients, including baking powder. I baked the cake for 30 mins and it was cooked through, I’ll try again I guess till it’s perfect 🙂

  20. I made this cake using the suggested Grand Marnier…it was the BEST cake I’ve ever tasted…THE BEST!! I want to make this cake again but I’m out of strawberries and was wondering if I could substitute blueberries instead? If so, would I still use the Grand Marnier?

    1. You could use any fresh berries in this cake. I like lemon and blueberry so Limoncello would be a nice pairing. But Grand Marnier would be good too.

  21. Hi, please reply this asap! Do we use large eggs or small eggs for this recipe? Also can someone please explain the part about cooling it upside down? Thanks so much!

    1. My recipes always use large eggs. I’ve updated the recipe card to note they are large eggs. If you bake the cake in a tube pan, cooling it upside down keeps it from sinking as it cools. If you bake the cake in round pans for a layer cake, cool the cake upright.

  22. Can I use orange juice instead of water? The size of my tube pan is 8′.. How to reduce this recipe to fit in my 8′ tube pan? Please reply. Thank you.

    1. Yes to the orange juice. If you want an orange cake I would also recommend putting the finely grated orange zest in the batter as well. The zest has the orange oil which has more orange flavor than the juice does. This is a big recipe, so if you have a smaller pan you can maybe do 2/3 of the batter or mix the entire batter and bake extra in cupcake pans.

  23. If I wanted to make this is chocolate do I sub. Some flour for Dutch cocoa?
    Cake flour: 226 + 54g cocoa=280?

    Thanks regards

        1. Do you want to know how much flour and cocoa to use (in cups) to make this a chocolate cake? If so, try using 1 3/4 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of cocoa.

      1. I can’t say exactly, but I would start checking after 10 minutes. When you press the center of a cupcake and it springs back, it’s done.

  24. Hi !

    I was wondering if you did some testing about substituing some of the water for cream and/or buttermilk ?

    I thought because in a chiffon cake we use oil for a super moist cake instead of butter. I was thinking using cream ínstead of water would give a nice taste. What do you think ? Would you recommand it ? If yes would you make any adjustment ? Can you still refrigerate if you do with cream, because cream is a liquid fat ?

    I was also wondering why we put water ínstead of buttermilk, since buttermilk make moist and tender cake ?

    Thank you 🙂

    1. The oil contributes both fat and moisture to the batter. Using cream instead of water would add more fat to the recipe and might make the cake too dense. The chiffon cake just have a different flavor and texture profile than a Buttermilk Cake. It is supposed to be light and fluffy. Adding cream of buttermilk would change the texture.

      1. Hi, are these ingredients for two 8″ pan or for one 8″ pan only? Hope you notice my comment, thank you.

  25. I made this for my mum for her birthday and the recipe was great! I didn’t have cake flour so did the cornstarch substitute and it seemed to work perfectly. I did my cakes in two 8” rounds, and cut each in half to make four tiers, and it was the perfect amount. I also cooled my cakes in the tin upside down since that seems to be the thing to do with chiffon cakes and it did the trick. Absolutely perfect recipe – the cake was light, fluffy, and super tasty!!! Definitely will continue using this recipe and definitely would recommend!!!!!!

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