This show-stopping Chocolate Chiffon Cake is super-moist, fluffy, airy, and bouncy all at once! With a rich chocolate flavor, this chiffon cake recipe will soon be your favorite! Get ready to eat a second serving, because it’s like eating air!
Chiffon cakes are extremely popular in Japan, probably more so than in the U.S. You can find all kinds of chiffon cake flavors in coffee shops, pastry shops, and sweets stores. From Green Tea Chiffon Cake to Black Sesame Chiffon Cake, unique Japanese flavors are all the rage and they are the ones you want to try when you’re in Japan.
Today we’re going classic. Because we can never have enough chocolate in our life, here is the much anticipated Chocolate Chiffon Cake!
Why You Should Make This Chocolate Chiffon Cake
- Easy (compared to Japanese Souffle Cheesecake or Japanese Strawberry Shortcake)
- Just 8 ingredients
- No butter, just 4 Tbsp oil
- Extra moist
- Light and soft with a velvety crumb
- Rich and deeply flavorful
This is, without a doubt, the best chocolate chiffon cake my family loves!
Chocolate Chiffon Cake Ingredients
Each ingredient serves an important role in this cake. For the best results, I do not recommend making substitutions unless stated otherwise.
- Eggs: I use American large eggs and one large egg is about 50 grams without shell (56.7 g with shell).
- Granulated sugar: I use granulated white sugar for baking.
- Neutral flavored oil: I use untoasted sesame oil (no flavor) for this recipe. You can use canola or vegetable oil.
- Whole milk: I used cow’s milk but you can use other types of milk or water.
- Vanilla extract: Use good quality vanilla to add flavor.
- Cake flour: Do not substitute! For chiffon cake, you need cake flour (薄力粉 Hakurikiko if you’re in Japan). Can’t find it? You can make it yourself with all-purpose flour and cornstarch (See Notes in my recipe).
- Baking powder: Some people do not use BP for a chiffon cake, but I use it for lifting.
- Dutch-processed cocoa powder: We’ve been using the Droste brand of cocoa powder (mostly used by my daughter who bakes) and we love it. I found this article online that explains a bit more about which cocoa powder you should buy (in short, they recommend Droste brand). You can purchase it on Amazon (but comes with a pack of 3)
How to Make Chocolate Chiffon Cake
You can make this chocolate chiffon cake with a simple whisk and bowl, but I highly recommend using an electric mixer or a stand mixer for beating egg whites to save your arm from falling off.
First, mix wet ingredients in one bowl and add dry ingredients. Next, beat the egg whites in another bowl with the electric mixer or stand mixer. Then combine with the batter. Finally, pour the batter into the 20-cm (8-inch) chiffon cake pan and bake for 40 minutes!
Need another chiffon cake pan size instead? You can figure out ingredients (eggs, sugar, etc) for your pan that is 7 inches (17 cm), 8.5 inches (22 cm), 9 inches (23 cm), or 10 inches (25 cm) in this post.
Important! You have to take away some cake flour to replace it with cocoa powder for the chocolate chiffon cake, here’s the measurement.
- 7 inches (17 cm): 25 g cocoa powder + 50 g cake flour
- 8 inches (20 cm): 40 g cocoa powder + 80 g cake flour
- 8.5 inches (22 cm): 50 g cocoa powder + 100 g cake flour
- 9 inches (23 cm): 60 g cocoa powder + 110 g cake flour
- 10 inches (25 cm): 70 g cocoa powder + 140 g cake flour
How about Double Chocolate Chiffon Cake?
I knew you would ask this question, so I did try making a Double Chocolate Chiffon Cake recipe several times. What do I mean by “double”? Chocolate is used two times: cocoa powder and melted chocolate.
I tried adjusting the ratio of the cocoa powder and melted chocolate to make the cake as light as possible, but the richer the chocolate cake is, the denser it gets. It loses the bouncy, airly, light “chiffon cake” texture. The cake resembles more like a pound cake, instead of a chiffon cake.
Another issue I had with double chocolate was that the cake does not rise as tall as the chiffon cake with only cocoa powder. For example, I would have to use a 7″ (17 cm) chiffon cake pan for the ingredients for 8″ (20 cm) chiffon cake to get a decent “chiffon cake” height.
In the end, I was not quite satisfied with the result (and can’t call that “chiffon cake”), so I increased the cocoa powder in the batter to get more chocolate flavor. My chocolate to cake flour ratio is 1 to 2 (40 g cocoa powder: 80 g cake flour). If you decrease the cocoa powder to 20 g (1 to 6 ratio), the cake will become taller, but less “chocolate-ty” taste.
How to Make Perfect Chiffon Cake?
Chiffon cakes are one of the easiest cakes you can make at home. However, it took me some trial and error until I could make a really good one. Mostly because I had a hard time beating the egg whites and folding the batter correctly.
So I put together my tips in this post, including ingredient measurements for all the different chiffon cake pan sizes.
Enjoy this light, fluffy, yet rich chocolate chiffon cake with a cup of earl grey tea or coffee! It is a keeper, especially if you like chocolate and light spongy cakes.
Delicious Chiffon Cakes on Just One Cookbook
Chocolate Chiffon Cake
- ⅔ cup cake flour (If you're using a cup measurement, please follow this method to measure. Otherwise, the amount of flour tends to be more than you need. 1 cup should be 120 g. You can make your Homemade Cake Flour.)
- 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
- ½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 5 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell) (separate into whites and yolks)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar (divided in half)
- ¼ cup neutral-flavored oil (vegetable, rice bran, canola, etc.) (4 Tbsp)
- ⅓ cup whole milk or water (⅓ cup +1 ½ Tbsp to be precise)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar/powdered sugar (for dusting; optional)
- Gather all the ingredients and preheat the oven to 340ºF (170ºC). For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). You will also need an 8” (20 cm) chiffon cake pan. If you have a different size pan, please read this post to adjust the ingredients.
- In a bowl, combine cake flour (80 g, ⅔ cup), baking powder (5 g, 1 ¼ tsp), and Dutch-processed cocoa powder (40 g, ½ cup) and mix well with a fork/whisk.
- Separate 5 large eggs to yolks and whites. Keep the egg whites in a stand mixer bowl and egg yolks in a large mixing bowl.
- Refrigerate (or freeze) the bowl with egg whites for 15 minutes so both bowls and egg whites are cold (it’s okay if the egg whites are partially frozen). In Japan, we chill the egg whites to make smooth, fine-textured meringue and do not use cream of tartar.
- Beat the egg yolks.
- Add granulated sugar (65 g, ⅓ cup). Whisk vigorously until it’s a creamy pale yellow color.
- Add the oil (60 ml, ¼ cup) and beat to combine with the whisk.
- Add the milk (90 ml, ⅓ cup +1 ½ Tbsp) and vanilla (5 ml, 1 tsp) and combine well.
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift half of the dry ingredients. Whisk well to combine.
- Add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well until just combined and no lumps (do not overmix).
- Take out the bowl of egg whites and set your stand mixer with a whisk attachment.
- Start whipping the egg whites on medium speed (level 5) until the egg whites are bubbly, opaque, and foamy.
- Gradually add granulated sugar (65 g, ⅓ cup) in small increments while whisking. Once you add all the sugar, change to a higher speed (level 8) and beat vigorously until stiff peaks form.
- To check on stiff peaks, pull up your whisk and see if the egg whites go straight up and just the tip is soft enough that it folds over, like taking a bow. This is a stiff peak stage. By this time, the meringue should have a glossy texture. TIP: I usually pause beating when the egg whites are getting close to the stiff peak stage. Take out the whisk attachment from the mixer and hand-mix the egg whites till homogenous in texture. Typically, the egg whites near the edge of the bowl are looser (not close to stiff peaks) compared to the center of the bowl. Then put the whisk back and continue beating till stiff peaks.
- Using a whisk, take ¼ of the meringue from the bowl and add to the batter. Whisk well to combine until homogenous.
- Take a third (⅓) of the meringue left in the bowl and this time, gently fold in without deflating the air bubbles in the meringue and batter.
- Take another third and repeat the process.
- Take the final third and gently fold in. Make sure to thoroughly mix without deflating the air bubbles.
- The consistency should look like this when you lift the whisk. Switch to the spatula and fold in one last time, scraping from the side and bottom of the bowl, making sure there is no chocolate accumulation.
- From 6-8 inch high, pour the batter into the ungreased 20-cm (8-inch) chiffon cake pan at the same location to prevent more bubbles from forming. Gently tap the cake pan on the working surface to release the air pockets in the batter.
- Run a wooden skewer through the batter to release air pockets. Put the cake pan in the middle rack of the oven and bake at 340ºF (170ºC) for 35-40 minutes (40 minutes for my oven).
- When it’s done baking, insert the wooden skewer in the middle of the cake to see if it comes out clean (If wet, bake longer) and the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed. If the top gets burn too quickly (maybe heat source is too close), cover the top loosely with aluminum foil.
- Remove the cake pan from the oven and gently drop the pan onto the working surface to shock the cake so it stops shrinking.
- Prepare a bottle with a long neck and invert the cake pan to let cool completely in its cake pan so that it stretches downward.
- Once the cake is completely cool, run offset spatulas around both inner and outer edges of the cake (I use a large/long spatula for outside and bottom and a small spatula for around the inner tube). I used to use a knife, but the tip of the knife tends to poke the cake while moving around, so I stopped using it.
- Gently remove the cake from the pan and run the offset spatula on the bottom of the cake.
- Invert the cake onto a plate or cake stand. Chiffon cake is served “upside-down”, the flat bottom side being on top.
To Serve and Store
- Dust with powdered sugar and decorate with raspberries and mint leaves if you like. I strongly recommend consuming the cake soon, however, you can keep the cake at room temperature (cooler place) in a cake stand with a cover for 1-2 days. To keep longer, wrap individual slices in a plastic wrap or put in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 2 weeks.
- 1. Make sure your beaters and mixing bowl are clean and dry. A speck of oil or egg yolk on either one can minimize the volume of the beaten egg whites.
- Avoid plastic bowls as even clean ones may hold oily residue that can affect the beating quality of the egg whites.
- Use a bowl that’s wide enough to keep the beaters from being buried in the egg whites.
- Do not over-beat or under-beat egg whites – your cake may fall. Egg whites should be stiff but not dry.