Chiffon Cake. I just love the name “chiffon”. Before making this cake, I honestly didn’t even know what a chiffon cake was. My Grandmother's Betty Crocker Cookbook has lots of variations of the chiffon cake, including maple pecan, pineapple, chocolate chip, spice, bit o’ walnut, holiday fruit, cocoa, peppermint chip, cherry nut, and banana. And the main recipe for chiffon cake is lemon. The cookbook also gives directions for making large cakes as well as for making small cakes. The butterscotch version caught my eye. Plus brown sugar was on sale this week at grocery store. And when I read that the recommended frosting for this recipe was penuche frosting, I knew I had to make it.
So what exactly is a chiffon cake and what makes it different from other cakes? The difference is that the egg whites are beaten and added separately from the yolks. This cake also uses oil (or as it is referred to in the cookbook--salad oil) instead of butter. This makes the “light as an angel food, rich as butter cake.” The cookbook also describes the cake as the “first new cake in a hundred years”, and that got me wondering about the history of the chiffon cake. Wikipedia says cake was created in 1927 by Harry Baker, a California insurance salesman and caterer. It became popular in Hollywood, but the recipe was kept a secret for 20 years until it was sold to General Mills and released to the public in a Betty Crocker pamphlet. I guess it was quite the cake to make in the 1950’s!
For the butterscotch version of the chiffon cake, the directions are to omit 1 1/2 cups of white sugar in the original recipe and substitute 2 cups of brown sugar. The recipe didn’t specify how to pack the brown sugar in the measuring cup. Usually recipes state “firmly packed” or “packed”. Since the 2 cups of brown sugar were replacing 1 1/2 cups of white sugar I did not firmly pack the brown sugar . And I guess it is a good thing that I didn’t because as the cake was baking I paged through the cookbook and found a section in it on how to measure ingredients. It says to pack the brown sugar just enough to hold its shape. This is different than many recipes which require firmly packed brown sugar. It also states that if the brown sugar is lumpy, to press through a coarse sieve or heat in a “slow” oven, or to crush lumps using a rolling pin.
The cake has a fairly mild flavor which works well with the penuche frosting. I really like the texture--it is tender, moist, and airy. I have never cared for angel food and sponge cakes, but I do like this chiffon! I look forward to trying some of the other versions, especially the lemon.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 10" cake
Butterscotch Chiffon Cake with Penuche Frosting
A chiffon cake and penuche frosting recipe from my grandma's cookbook.
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
- 2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cooking oil
- 5 egg yolks, unbeaten
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup (7 to 8) egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 2/3 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2/3 cup shortening
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; then add the brown sugar to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.2. Make a "well" with the dry ingredients then add the oil, egg yolks, cold water, and vanilla and beat until smooth.3. In a separate bowl add the cream of tartar to the egg whites and beat until they have very stiff peaks; don't underbeat.4. Carefully pour the egg yolk batter over the surface of the beaten egg whites.5. Gently fold the egg whites into batter by bringing a scraper from the bottom of the bowl, up the sides, and over the batter until completely blended.6. Pour into ungreased 10" (4" deep) tube pan and bake for 55 minutes at 325°F and then for 10-15 minutes at 350°F.7. Invert cake and let it hang upside down until completely cooled.8. Loosen sides with a knife or spatula, then turn pan over and knock pan to release cake. 9. To make penuche frosting, stir all ingredients over low heat until combined then bring to a full boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute then remove from heat and beat until it is the right consistency to spread on the cake.