Chiffon cake was the invention of a former insurance salesman named Harry Baker, who turned to catering and concocted the cake recipe in 1927. He began selling his chiffon-like creations to the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, and pretty soon all of Hollywood was swooning over his cakes and their fluffy texture. Baker kept the recipe a secret for 20 years before finally selling it to General Mills, who own the Betty Crocker brand. General Mills then published the recipe for the newly named “Chiffon Cake” in Better Homes & Gardens in 1948, marketing it as “the first new cake in 100 years.”
The cake skyrocketed in popularity and it’s secret to fluffiness was finally revealed – Baker had used vegetable oil instead of butter to get the light airy texture everyone loved. Using vegetable oil, combined with eggs, sugar, flour, and baking powder, chiffon cake takes on a structure which is a combination of batter and foam cakes. It is left with a moist texture that stays at it’s best when refrigerated, meaning you can amp up the flavor with the addition of fresh fruit, ice cream, or pastry cream.
Because of their lack of butter, chiffon cakes are inherently lower in saturated fat than regular batter cakes. The lack of butter also contributes to chiffon cakes being less rich in flavor, so compensations are usually made by the addition of icings and other toppings and fillings.
If you would like to celebrate today, here are a few recipes we found for some deliciously tart and fluffy lemon chiffon cakes:
- Betty Crocker’s Lemon Chiffon Cake
- Taste of Home’s Lemon Chiffon Cake
- Cake Journal’s Lemon Chiffon Cake