Recipe: Durian Chiffon Cake

photo by Aunty Yochana

I've been posting cake recipes for a while now. This is the last one before I post the Ultimate Durian Cake Post on Sunday. Stay tuned!

Chiffon cake is all the rage in Southeast Asia. Seriously, while many of us Americans have only a vague notion of this cake (which happens to be of American origin), Chinese bakeries are full of these tall, elegant and fluffy cakes flavored inherently Asian: sesame seed, pandan, green tea and of course, durian, the best flavor of them all.

I discovered Chiffon Cake in Singapore, where this delicate, sophisticated cake fits right in. My first thought on hearing the word "chiffon" was that it must be yet another eccentric European fad that had already spread to the internet-savvy Asians but not yet hit America, like those onesies for grown ups they call rompers.

Actually, I wasn't too far off on the word origin, although I could have hit a barn with my guess to the origin of the cake. Chiffon is the French word, adopted by English, for a light, sheer fabric typically made of silk or nylon. We (the Americans) then applied it to the lightest, fluffiest, moistest, tallest cake ever invented by man.

It really was invented too. Unlike pretty much every other cake, which sort of evolved out of the mud of new sugar and flour refining technology, chiffon cake has a creator. His name is Harry Baker, and he lived in Los Angeles in the 1920's. Ironically, he was not actually a baker. He was an insurance agent who baked as a hobby.

Durian Chiffon Cake by Sweet Sensations

Mr. Baker became famous when he invented the chiffon cake in 1927. For twenty years he kept the recipe a secret, fueling a passionate Hollywood craze. When the recipe was finally sold and published in the 1948 Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, it was described as "The first really new cake in 100 years!" It was so popular, sales of cake flour went up 20 percent that year.

Chiffon cake is basically Angel Food Cake 2.0. It even has that random hole in the middle. It's just as light and fluffy but moister, and it doesn't dry out the way angel food does. The secret ingredient? Vegetable oil. The oil stays liquid at a lower temperature, allowing the cake to remain moist. Cakes made with lard, shortening, or other sources of saturated fat have a tendency to dry out.

Why chiffon cake is no longer popular in America I have no idea. I also have no idea how or when it jumped the Pacific Ocean to gain popularity in Asia. At any rate, if you're the type of person who likes to make durian flavored cakes, you're going to love this recipe.

Bon Apetit!
photo by ancoojournal

Note: I didn't have time to do the conversions to American cooking units. I promise to do so soon! 

Durian Chiffon Cake

Recipe by My Kitchen


4 egg yolks
20gm caster sugar
40gm vegetable cooking oil
30ml milk
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp durian essence (optional)

100gm cake flour (or 85gm all purpose flour + 15gm cornflour)
½ tsp baking powder

4 egg whites
100gm caster sugar
⅛ tsp cream of tartar

½ cup durian flesh, pureed

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degree C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together ingredients A until combined.
  3. Sift together ingredients B, then add into (2) and mix well. Set aside for later use.
  4. In another large mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks. Add in sugar and cream of tartar and continue to beat until stiff.
  5. Take ¼ of the meringue and mix with (3) until well mixed. Gradually add in remaining meringue, and lastly stir in durian puree. Stir until just combined.
  6. Transfer batter into chiffon pan and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
  7. Invert the cake immediately after taking out from oven, and cool on rack completely before turning out from mold.

  8. More Durian Cakes:

1 comment:

  1. is that 40g of vegetable oil or 40ml of vegetable oil? if 40g of vegetable oil, that's how many ml?


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