What sets chiffon cake apart from other yellow cakes is its versatility—use it for classic layer cake recipes, for ice cream cakes, and even for a breakfast cake. Because it’s made with oil, not butter, chiffon cake stays moist in the fridge or freezer. Extra virgin olive oil adds a subtle yet rich flavor—you’ll never call chiffon cake bland again! What’s more, it’s wonderful for getting all the benefits of olive oil in a sweet way. This recipe yields two 9-inch rounds. I love to cut a wedge from one layer and top it with yogurt and fruit for breakfast or a snack. You can also cut each layer in two horizontally to build a four-layer cake with your favorite filling.
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1/2 + 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup water, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 + 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Separate the whites from the yolks when the eggs are cold and then leave them on the counter for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature (the whites will whip much better than when cold). Center one of the racks in the middle of your oven and preheat it to 325°F. Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and 1/2 cup sugar for about 2 minutes until fully blended and light in color. Whisk in the olive oil, vanilla, and water. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and then whisk this into the yolk mixture until it’s fully incorporated.
In a standing mixer or large bowl, beat egg whites, salt, cream of tartar, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar on low speed for about 30 seconds and then gradually increase the speed to high. Continue beating for 8–10 minutes until you get a glossy meringue with firm peaks.
Fold about a cup of the meringue into the yolk mixture to lighten it and then gently fold in the rest in three batches, just until there are barely any streaks of meringue visible. Divide the batter between the two pans and gently smooth the surfaces with an offset spatula. Bake the cakes on the same rack for 15 minutes and then reverse their positions and continue baking until the tops are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip—about 15 minutes more, depending on your oven.
When done, invert the pans onto two wire racks to cool for about an hour. Turn them right side up and run an offset spatula around the sides of the cakes to loosen them, then invert them again, take off the pans, and remove the parchment. If you aren’t using the layers right away, you can stack them with a piece of parchment paper between them and store them in a covered cake holder for up to three days on the counter.
Yields two 9-inch cake layers