National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day on March 29th offers a bright and zesty celebration among the cake holidays.
For a nice refreshing spring dessert, chiffon cake is a very light cake made with vegetable oil, eggs, sugar, flour, baking powder, and flavorings. The fluffy texture is made by beating egg whites until stiff and folding them into the cake batter before baking. Chiffon cakes tend to be lower in saturated fat than butter cakes, potentially making them healthier than their butter-heavy counterparts.
The Secret of Chiffon
The recipe for the chiffon cake was a closely guarded secret for years. In the 1920s, angel food cake was quite popular, but Henry Baker thought he could make a lighter, richer cake. The insurance salesman-turned-caterer tinkered with ingredients until in 1927 when he came upon the perfect combination of ingredients and methods to produce the airy richness he was looking for.
Keeping the recipe to himself, he offered his services to the Brown Derby Restaurant in Los Angeles which catered to Hollywood’s elite. Until 1947, Baker was the only person to bake chiffon cakes. Baker’s secret combination and methods relied on what bakers and chefs already knew about cakes and leavening. The lightness of angel food cakes relies on egg whites to create the loft and airiness. Traditional cakes used baking soda or powder for leavening. Baker combined both egg whites and baking powder to achieve a lightness like no other. And yet there was one other trick up Baker’s sleeve. Where angel food cake contained no butter, fat or shortening of any kind, Baker added vegetable oil.
While today adding vegetable oil to cake recipes is commonplace, back in 1927 these oils were a newer ingredient to home kitchens. His cakes continued to grow in popularity and as they did so did the variety of chiffon cakes he made. Then, in 1947, Baker sold his recipe to General Mills for an undisclosed amount. The rest is baking history.
HOW TO OBSERVE #LemonChiffonCakeDay
Challenge yourself to the lightness of chiffon. So many recipes offer us the zesty flavor we can’t resist! We’ve even found a few to try.
Use #LemonChiffonCakeDay to post on social media.