Everyone will enjoy this gluten free chiffon cake and will never know it is gluten free. Serve this cake topped with strawberry or cherry compote or pie filling and whipped cream. Remove a small section and fill with chocolate ganache. The possibilities are endliess! The best part about this recipe is that you can leave it covered at room temperature for several days. (Most gluten free baked goods need to be kept frozen to stay fresh.)
Chiffon, Sponge, and Angel Food Cake Differences
If you’re curious about the differences among chiffon, angel food, and sponge cakes, keep readding. I explain them in detail. You can also view photos and recipes of my Gluten Free Angel Food Cake Recipe and Gluten Free Sponge Cake.
Chiffon cakes are light and airy, but a tiny bit heavier than angel food cake. Angel food cake contains only egg whites. Sponge cake contains whole eggs that are beaten separately. Eggs in chiffon cakes were not originally separated, but now, bakers are separating them to create lighter cakes. Chiffon cakes contain oil to create a tender and moist texture where sponge cakes contain butter, creating a heavier cake. Angel food cakes rely completely on eggs for leavening as do sponge cakes on occasion. Chiffon cakes always contain an additional leavener, in this case, baking powder. Angel food cakes and sponge cakes do not contain a liquid such as milk or water. This gluten free chiffon cake most certainly does, just like its gluten counterpart.
I converted this gluten free as well as adapted it from this recipe from Taste of Home. You will notice that I added sugar to the egg whites where they did not. You see, when you fold in the egg whites, you sometimes take a bite of cake that has a little more egg white than the floured batter. You surely want that sweetness evenly distributed throughout the cake. However, you cannot add too much to the egg whites or the sugar will weigh down the whites.
I almost always fold in egg whites in thirds, not fourths. It’s a minor a minor point. You can do either. It really depends on how large your bowl and spatula are. I was using a super large silicone spatula and stainless steel bowl.
I reduced the salt to lower the sodium level.
I also chose to beat the egg whites first and set aside to avoid having to wash my stand mixer’s mixing bowl after beating the batter. You see, you can never get anything such as butter or egg yolks in egg whites that you wish to beat to stiff peaks or it doesn’t work well. However, it is okay to get egg white into a cake batter.
Lastly, I baked the cake for only 45 minutes. You have to be careful when baking gluten free to not underbake a cake. It’s tricky because sometimes a recipe will turn out toothpick or skewer clean but will fall upon cooling because it was underbaked. However, because this cake cools upside down, falling is not an issue. However, the cake does need to spring back when lightly pressed with your fingers.
See the texture of this cake in the video here.
A moist, light, and tender gluten free chiffon cake that you can make in several flavors: chocolate, vanilla, lemon, and almond.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F with a shelf at the very bottom of the oven.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer, add the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on medium speed just until stiff but not dry.
- Add 1/4 cup sugar and beat about 1 minute to break down most of the sugar. Scoop into another bowl; set aside.
- To the original mixing bowl, add 1-1/4 cups sugar, egg yolks, water, and oil. Beat on medium speed until combined. Add the vanilla and mix until evenly distributed.
- Sift the flour blend, baking powder, and salt together twice. Then, sift the flour blend a third time right on top of the wet mixture in the bowl. Mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined.
- Fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter at a time, turning the bowl while folding until no white streaks remain before adding any more.
- Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube/angel food cake pan. Using a silicone spatula or spoon, swirl into the batter all the way around to remove any air pockets. Smooth out the top using a silicone or plastic spatula.
- Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 45 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched with your fingers.
- Remove the pan from the oven and invert onto the neck of a bottle. Allow the cake to cool at least 1 hour prior to slicing. (It will still be warm.)
- Run a knife or offset frosting spatula around the sides of the pan. If you have the type of pan that separates into two pieces, remove the cake using the center piece of the pan, which removes the sides. Transfer the pan to a wire rack. Allow the cake to continue to cool, 15 - 30 more minutes. Alternatively, allow the cake to cool 1 hour 15 minutes upside down.
- Run a knife around the center piece to loosen the cake. Transfer the cake to a cake platter.
- Slice using a serrated knife and serve each piece topped with strawberry or cherry compote or gluten free pie filling (Comstock or Wilderness brands were gluten free the last time I checked) and Homemade Whipped Cream. You can also slice off the top inch of the cake. Then dig out a tunnel, leaving 1-inch walls, and fill with chocolate ganache. Then, place the top of the cake back on.
Chocolate: For a chocolate chiffon cake, reduce the flour to 1-3/4 cups, and mix in 1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa, Use buttermilk for the liquid when using Dutch processed cocoa to create an intense chocolate flavor. However, if you need a dairy-free version, use natural cocoa powder and water.
Lemon: To make lemon chiffon cake, replace th vanilla extract with lemon extract and almond flavoring and add 2 tablespoons lemon zest. Alternatively, replace the lemon extract and zest with 1/2 teaspoon lemon oil.
Almond: Replace one teaspoon of vanilla with an additional teaspoon of almond extract and if desired, replace 1/2 cup of flour blend with 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill Superfine Almond Flour.
*I used cornstarch in the flour blend. You can use tapioca instead if desired.
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