The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Chiffon Cake - soft or stiff peaks? And how to get butter flavor?

BakerNewbie's picture

Chiffon Cake - soft or stiff peaks? And how to get butter flavor?

I'm struggling with recipes I find on the Internet regading how to make a super soft chiffon cake. Particularly, I'm confused about whether the meringue is supposed to be at the soft peak or stiff peak stage before adding to the batter. Which will result in a softer cake?

Also, I want my chiffon cake to be buttery flavor. The recipes I have found seem call for oil to be mixed with the egg yolk batter. Should I subsitute oil with butter to get a buttery flavor? If so, will it be a 1 to 1 ratio? Is there anything else I can do to really get a noticeable butter flavor?

Heidela123's picture

I make chiffon cake several time a year. Old school. It coes out perfect every time. I have tried regular as well as clarified butter, while it made a nice buttery cake, it wasn't chiffon cake.

Maybe there is a true flavored butter extract or essence you could try?

I do use duck eggs and find the fatty yolks add a buttery richness ( not butter flavor, but intense yellow and rich fatty flavor, while maintaining the chiffon texture)

This truly is a great cake to have in your repertoire, it can be flavored so many ways, but the oil vs butter? Having tried both I would stick with the oil
And again always soft not stiff
Your peak should hold form and curl itself on the top not stand at a point
Have fun!

BakerNewbie's picture

Heidela123, why soft peaks? 

FlourChild's picture

If you must have butter look for a different cake, such as genoise.  Chiffon needs the oil to create a softer, lighter texture than butter can produce.

As for the eggs, I have always made chiffon with stiff, but just barely stiff whites.  A small amount left on the whisk should hold its shape.  

As for a super-soft texture, chiffon is a sponge cake and should blend the sponginess of its type with the softness and moistness provided by oil and yolks.  If you want a completely tender cake, sponge cakes in general may not be the way to go as they are designed to be springy.

 For butter flavor and tenderness with a light crumb, perhaps look at one of the butter cakes where a few of the egg whites are separated, whipped and folded in separately at the end.  I think Lisa Yockelson and some of the Baked books have this style of butter cake.

BakerNewbie's picture

FlourChild, Heidela123 says to have soft peaks. You are saying almost stiff peaks. And thus my confusion. Thoughts?

FlourChild's picture

I suspect the two are not that far apart.  My understanding is that, on the one hand, you want to whip as much air as possible into the whites.  But on the other hand, you need to leave them soft and moist enough both to tolerate additional manipulation as you fold them into the batter and to expand in the oven.  If they are quite stiff and beginning to dry out they will be difficult to fold into the batter and won't expand properly in the oven.

Another thought is that different recipes may have different amounts of ease built into them.  Chiffons with more flour and whites whipped to soft peaks are a little more foolproof, while those with less flour and whites whipped a little longer may have a superior texture but also be more exacting and prone to fail if not executed properly.  

dabrownman's picture

made chiffon with butter flavored Crisco? Oil and butter mixed - doesn't sound very healthy though - but neither does butter :-)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I use it for popcorn.  But if you really want your chiffon to taste buttery ya might want to try it.   

CelesteU's picture

I wouldn't use a butter-flavored popcorn oil, but rather a butter flavoring intended for baking.  LorAnn makes a full range of bakery flavorings suitable for confectionary & pastry use, with several variations of 'butter' or 'bakery cake' or 'buttery sweet dough' available.  Here's a link to LorAnn's website:  You can buy the LorAnn flavorings at many places that sell cake decorating supplies or online at King Arthur Flour's website.

You can't substitute butter for oil, or it won't be a chiffon cake.  IOW, the texture & properties will change completely.  One of the benefits of a chiffon cake is its tenderness at very cold temperatures--it is typically used for ice cream cakes or frozen trifles.  A genoise or butter cake will be unpleasantly stiff at refrigerated or frozen temps.

gerhard's picture

I would not use a butter flavour, or oil that is butter flavoured.  Generally big companies use these things on low end products, hit the customer over the head with artificial flavour and in case the customer doesn't realize it's butter yet we better colour it fluorescent yellow as well.  I believe that flavour as well as colour should be subtle, personally hate anything that hits you with over the top dominant artificial flavour and colour is even a bigger turn off.


Heidela123's picture

I use duck eggs for baking and forget to mention in the meat of the dialog...softer peaks with duck eggs work better ... with hen eggs semi stiff but not stiff the point still bends a bit
I make this cake often because my ducks give two eggs each most days
It is a great cake to really learn well

I did not get it right until I made it right :)

We ate a lot of variations of triffles with my mistakes