Cottony-soft chiffon cake – {A Baking Experiment + Pictorial}

Cottony-soft chiffon cake

Ah! Asian bakers, and our never ending quest for softer, almost cottony-like cake!

With this recipe, I think we have come very close to that perfect chiffon cake. Almost perfect (see below).

The secret to the cottony-soft chiffon cake is in the method. If you take note of the ingredients, the proportion of liquid (oil + milk) is higher than other recipes, and the amount of flour is much less. These changes help to improve the texture of the crumbs, making it soft and moist.

To increase the amount of liquid in the cake, a trick is used – making a roux of flour and all the wet ingredients instead of just mixing them together like normal recipe. This additional step enables larger absorption of liquid, hence, a softer cake as a result. (The method is not new. The water roux approach to bread making has been very popular among home bakers. Most vow that it helps to produce much softer bread – see here.)

So, how does this cake fair? Well, it is undoubtedly the softest and yummiest chiffon cake I have made. It is moist and has that creamy taste resembling the popular Japanese cottony cheesecake (without any dairy!). Light-as-air, and I really mean it. The cake stays soft until the second day – we finish it rather quick!

Cottony-soft chiffon cake

The drawback? With a higher amount of moisture, the cake is quite hard to handle. I used the chiffon mould, and it sort of collapse a bit after taking out of the tin (this hardly happened with the normal chiffon cake – but then I forgot to raise the oven temperature properly prior to cooking, which might affect the result. Also, my kitchen was really cold at the time, too). Because of the soufflé-like texture, don´t bother to decorate the cake. It will collapse, most likely. Thankfully, the cake is lovely enough by itself, with a bit of whipped cream or fabulous wholefat yoghurt.

I will experiment with the new method a bit more later. 😉

Cottony-soft chiffon cake

Cottony-soft chiffon cake

Based on a Chinese recipe. I´ve changed it a bit to add more flavors to the cake (the original would yield a too eggy cake IMO). But the technique stays the same.


60g plain flour
55g fresh milk
50g corn oil
20g sugar

5 egg yolk

1 tbp vanilla paste
Zest of 2 lemon

5 egg whites
60g sugar (extra)
A pinch of cream of tartar (optional)

* make sure all the ingrdients are at room temp.


(1) Preheat oven to 165C

(2) In a small pan, add milk, corn oil and 20g sugar, bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Constantly whisk them together

(3) Sift the flour into the milk mixture, stirring constantly to form a soft paste. (See pic) – When the mixture is lukewarm, add in the egg yolks and mix well. Stir in lemon zest and vanilla.


(4) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with cream of tartar until glossy. Slowly add in the sugar (60g), spoon by spoon until soft peak forms.

(5) Fold 1/3 of the egg white into the yolk-flour mixture to lighten the mixture. Then, gently fold the rest of the eggwhites into the yolk-flour mixture. be careful not to deflate the batter.

(6) Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for about 30-35 mins. {Make sure to check after 30 mins – Mine took quite quick to cook through). Test with a toothpick – it should come out clean when the cake is done.

(7) Take the cake out of the oven and invert the tin straightaway. Cool the cake in the pan completely.


(8) To release the cake: run a knife around the cake and gently release it from the tin (the cake might collapse a bit). Serve with cream or yoghurt.


+) This is the result from a Vietnamese baker who loved this recipe as much as I did! PIC (Link in Vietnamese, but just marvel the result ;))

+) Another factastic result – via yumsiilicious

+) Recipe taster’s interpretation

50 Responses to Cottony-soft chiffon cake – {A Baking Experiment + Pictorial}

  1. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    That chiffon-cake is splendid! I love that kind of cake. Very summery especially when served with berries…

  2. A Thought For Food says:

    I'm so glad that Shulie at Food Wanderings posted a link to your blog because it is WONDERFUL! The photos are absolutely stunning. Will definitely be coming back later!

  3. Tangled Noodle says:

    The moment I saw that you were giving away secrets, I had to check it out! 8-D How could I possibly resist anything called "Cottony-soft Chiffon Cake"? This is outstanding and something I will definitely make (bookmarking page right now). I do love how it uses the whole egg, rather than just yolk and whites (which would then require another recipe to use up . . .) Thanks for sharing!

  4. Deeba PAB says:

    Looks so good Ahn… cottony, billowy and soft; very tempting! Just remembered that I have to ask Mum for a tin…

  5. Maria says:

    I have seriously fallen in love with this cake and made a matcha version of it myself just recently. It's so soft and light I could eat the whole cake on one sitting all by myself!

  6. Ana Powell says:

    I love all the detail and care that you put on all your posts.

  7. mademoiselle délicieuse says:

    I'm torn – think my mother definitely prefers this sort of texture whereas I think I now like denser cakes more…Also, don't own a tube pan! Perhaps an excuse to get one? =p

  8. Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul says:

    I've seen these cakes in a few Asian bakeries and always wondered how they were so moist…looks delish Anh.

  9. chocolatesuze says:

    as soon as i saw the words cottony soft i knew i absolutely have to make this! looks fabulous anh!

  10. penny aka jeroxie says:

    Ar … yes we do love our soft cotton like cakes don't we? Can you please come over and teach me?

  11. girlichef says:

    Now, that is pretty! I'm guessing a chiffon cake is what I would call an Angel Food Cake!? My favorite…so easy…too easy…to eat! Looks fabulous =)

  12. Anh says:

    @girlichef: Chiffon cake is different from angel cake. Angel cake is madw with egg whites only, while chiffon cake uses both yolks and whites.

  13. Gloria says:

    Yummy and nice Cakde Ahn! gloria

  14. Hannah says:

    That texture looks absolutely picture-perfect to me! I sure wish I could master this technique without eggs… It's one of the few things that still alludes me.

  15. tigerfish says:

    I can see how it conforms when you just squeeze on it slightly! Oh so soft! I like that :)

  16. Forager @ The Gourmet Forager says:

    That does look amazing- light & airy like a puffed bread loaf. Now – can you send me some please?

  17. shaz says:

    You are such an expert at these cottony cakes Anh. Have to confess I've never made a chiffon cake before even though I love to eat it. I do agree with you, I find a lot of asian cake recipes a bit eggy, I often add a dash of vanilla extract to compensate :)

  18. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Ahh very interesting about the water roux method! I've yet to try that. Will await the verdict of your experimentations (although it looks pretty perfect as is) :)

  19. Patricia Scarpin says:

    It looks so light and soft, Anh! Like a little cloud!

  20. Shirley @ Kokken69 says:

    This is really interesting! I am a chiffon fan and will definitely try out your method! Thanks for sharing and will let you know how it turns out for me :)

  21. Christine@Christine's Recipes says:

    Aw, the most delicious, soft, airy chiffon cake. It's our family's favourite cake amongst all other kinds.

  22. FFichiban says:

    Hahha so true! I love the Asian bread that strives to be a cloud of buttery cotton. This looks very promising and I must give it a go sometime!

  23. pigpigscorner says:

    Looks gorgeous! I've yet to try making chiffon cake!

  24. ajcabuang04 says:

    YUM!! I def agree on the asian quest for soft cake!! Every "asian" cake I've had almost always has a chiffon cake as the base!! It's so good!! This looks delicious and fluffy as well!

  25. whisk-kid says:

    It looks so beautiful and light!!

  26. Little Corner of Mine says:

    Wow, didn't know there is this water roux approach in making chiffon cake. It's just too many things to wash after you are done with the cake. Gosh! I am lazy!

  27. El says:

    It looks very fluffy and delicious!

  28. maameemoomoo says:

    To be honest, i kinda forgot about chiffon cake. It's been ages since i bake one. Reading and seeing your post bring back memories… memories of having a mouthful of this cottony soft cake!

  29. OohLookBel says:

    Anh, your chiffon cake looks unbelievably soft. I bought some chiffon cake the other day that you didn't even need to chew – yours looks even better, melt in the mouth.

  30. Ellie (Almost Bourdain) says:

    I love chiffon cake but haven't found a good recipe. I will definitely give this a try soon :)

  31. Swee San says:

    making a roux to increase water absorption.. how clever .. I should try this soon.. I love chiffon cakes

  32. Veggie Belly says:

    just your title made me drool! look how soft this cake looks! oh my, im droooooling!

  33. redmenace says:

    I grew up in San Francisco and ate my fair share of chiffon cake. This one looks lovely. I love the pictorial too!

  34. Jen says:

    I love chiffon cake, thanks for sharing the results of your experiment! I'm definitely bookmarking this recipe 😉

  35. Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets says:

    I guess I'm too Americanized that I haven't attempted any of these cottony, soft breads and cakes yet. But I've been fascinated by every post about the roux method I've seen and your lovely cake has fully converted me. I must try this soon!

  36. Pravs says:

    beautiful cake..have not had one yet..but that porous texture tells how soft it is.

  37. Amy @ cookbookmaniac says:

    That is superduper soft and bubbly. looks lovely and delicious!

  38. Piggy says:

    I love cottony-soft cake! Thanks for the recipe, I've bookmarked it as one of my "must-try" recipes!

  39. Agnes says:

    Oh Anh, this cake sounds AMAZING. I have to try it!

  40. Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! says:

    Last time I made chiffon cake it came out of a large bag as a premix – just add water, well I think that's all I added. Mum bought the premix stuff for me to make but I would really like to do it from scratch one day.

  41. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says:

    I just made this, it was absolutely wonderful. Like a gush of air. Thanks :) I couldn't wait for you to complete the experiment :P

  42. Aparna says:

    I've never made a cake like this, mostly because I'm not sure how "eggy" the cake will smell and taste.

  43. Anh says:

    I find it's just right – but you can increase the amount of zest or vanilla as your taste

  44. ala says:

    I would like to try this cake, it looks good and very easy to make. Can you help me with the measurement, I measure liquids in ml, so how much is 55g of milk and 50g of oil in millilitres?

  45. Alessio says:

    Made this the past weekend for the Secret Recipe Club, it was delish! My tine oven made half of it collapse but I loved its texture in all of its sections 😀

  46. Anonymous says:

    How do you remove the cake from the tin? Everytime i try, it breaks :(

  47. at says:

    hi, i tried yr recipe as soon as i read it. unfortunately when i added flour to the hot liquid, mixture turned into grainy dough & when eggs beaten into it, dough turned glossy, like a cream puff dough.

  48. Heya! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone!

    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all your posts!
    Keep up the fantastic work!

  49. Dp says:

    Not sure how to do your measurements. Can you convert them into cups and teaspoons?

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