A light and airy chiffon cake topped with strawberries and semi-sweet fresh cream, just like the ones at the Asian bakeries. Moist and flavorful even on it's own.
- Why You'll Love Strawberry Chiffon Cake
- What is Chiffon Cake?
- How Does This Cake Taste?
- How Does This Cake Differ to the Roll?
- Can I Use Different Fruits for this Cake?
- Ingredients & Substitutions
- Tips For the Fluffiest Chiffon Cake
- Proper Pans for Baking Chiffon Cakes
- Is This a Sturdy Whipped Cream Frosting?
- Frosting a Cake With Whipped Cream
- Step By Step
This Asian-bakery strawberry chiffon cake is adapted from my Japanese strawberry cake roll recipe. In the past, many readers have wanted to use that super soft and fluffy cake base for a regular circular "birthday" cake so here is the adapted version. This sturdier cake base will allow the cake to be stacked and, in extension, the more difficult process of rolling the cake is eliminated. I just love making and sharing this cake with my family as it reminds them of the fresh fruit cakes that they like to buy at the Asian bakery. Enjoy!
Why You'll Love Strawberry Chiffon Cake
- Easy - approachable baking method using simple tools.
- Light & Fluffy - chiffon cake base is super light and airy, even when it comes straight out of the fridge.
- Semi-sweet - made in the Asian dessert style, both the fresh cream filling and the cake base are mildly sweet.
- Adaptable - use any fruit for an amazing tasting cake
- Fresh Whipped Cream - is so easy to make with 3 ingredients. Tastes light and creamy. It's also pipeable.
- No Frosting Needed - if desired, this cake can be left unfrosted for picnics, lunch boxes, afternoon tea or travel.
What is Chiffon Cake?
The cake base used in this recipe is a chiffon cake. Chiffon cakes are a type of foam cake that relies on egg foam to leaven the cake. It's similar to sponge cake but instead of little or no butter, it uses oil, making it especially soft and fluffy (for example, butter hardens when refrigerated). Many of the light and airy cakes found in Asian bakeries use chiffon or sponge cake as a base.
How Does This Cake Taste?
This chiffon cake is light, springy and semi-sweet. The cake body is very fluffy, to avoid compressing it, avoid using thick icings or rolled fondant. It's best to pair it with lighter frostings like fresh cream or a light glaze. In fact, this cake is so fluffy, moist and flavorful that it can be eaten unfrosted. This makes it perfect for afternoon tea, lunch boxes, picnics or travelling.
How Does This Cake Differ to the Roll?
As mentioned in the introduction, this chiffon cake was adapted from my fluffy strawberry cake roll recipe. Compared to my cake roll bases, this cake will be a bit heavier because it's sturdier. This sturdier cake body allows for a low-stacking cake that won't weigh down the bottom layer. It can be frosted with a simple fresh cream that doesn't need stabilization with gelatin because we're not concerned about maintaining the round shape of a cake roll. Chiffon cakes are still generally lighter and softer than other stackable cakes like butter cake or pound cake.
Can I Use Different Fruits for this Cake?
Yes, you can definitely use different fruits to make a fresh fruit cream cake just like the ones you find at the Asian bakeries. It's best to use fruits that won't release more moisture into the fresh cream which will cause it to separate. For decorating the top, fresh strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mangos, melons are all great choices. Blueberries and blackberries are mushier so try to avoid using them in the filling. A trick to making this cake throughout the year is to use canned peaches or canned mixed fruits that you can keep shelf-stable in your pantry all year long.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Dry Mix for Chiffon Cake Base
- Cake Flour - cake flour is a low protein flour which will help make this cake lighter and softer than if using all purpose flour. Cake flour needs to be sifted before use to prevent clumps. You can also use "cake & pastry flour" which many stores sell, This is a blend of both flours with a lower protein than AP. It's ok to use AP flour if that is all you have.
- Baking Powder - it acts as a leavening agent in case there is any weaknesses in the meringue.
- Salt - brings out the flavors in the cake and acts as a contrast to the sweetness.
Wet Mix for Chiffon Cake Base
- Granulated sugar - this first set of sugar is added into the wet ingredients to help add moisture and separate the grains. If you have it on hand, berry sugar or extra fine granulated sugar is a better substitute. It dissolves and mixes more easily for a finer textured cake.
- Neutral oil - adds moisture to the cake base. Canola, grapeseed, avocado are all good choices.
- Milk - adds extra flavor.
- Vanilla extract - rounds out all the flavors in the cake.
- Egg Yolks - tenderizes the cake, adds structure and emulsification of the cake batter.
Meringue for Chiffon Cake Base
- Egg whites - use fresh egg whites from large size eggs. Eggs separate more readily when it's cold and whip better when it has come to room temperature.
- Granulated sugar - use only granulated sugar, powdered sugar does not work for whipping meringue.
- Cream of tartar - is an acid that helps to stabilize the meringue. It can be substituted with double the amount of lemon juice or vinegar.
Fresh Whipped Cream
- Powdered sugar - provides sweetness and stability to the fresh cream. Can be substituted with half the amount of granulated sugar. If a more stable whipped cream is desired, use this recipe for stabilized whipped cream with gelatin.
- Heavy cream - has a milk fat content of at least 36% (usually labelled as M.F. 36). It can be substituted with whipping cream (with minimum 30% milk fat) but heavy cream will produce an even more sturdy frosting. The cream needs to be completely chilled before whipping or else it won't whip up.
- Vanilla extract - helps bring out the fresh cream flavors. It can be substituted with clear artificial vanilla extract if a "whiter" cake color is desired.
Tips For the Fluffiest Chiffon Cake
Unlike a sponge cake which uses no or little butter, the pillowy soft chiffon cake base in this roll uses oil instead. The secret to this Asian bakery-style roll cake is its super fluffy cake base. Here are some tips:
- Use cake flour instead of AP flour.
- Always sift cake flour to prevent clumps.
- Gently incorporate the dry-mix and wet-mix together until no lumps of flour can be seen. Do not over mix as it will result in a tough cake.
- For the meringue, use room temperature egg whites for better volume.
- Whip the egg whites in a clean non-plastic bowl free of oil and water.
- Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks stage.
- Gently fold the meringue into the cake batter, retaining the air that you've built into the meringue. Do not stir.
- Use parchment paper to line the bottom of the cake pan for a clean release.
Proper Pans for Baking Chiffon Cakes
Why is Chiffon Cake Baked in a Round Tube Pan?
Chiffon cakes are usually baked in round tube pans for easier heat transfer in the center, and to allow the cake to gain height by climbing the sides of the pan. Later, it can maintain its cling while it is cooled upside down. Greasing the pan is not necessary or recommended. However, lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper is strongly recommended for a clean release of the cake, otherwise, it will stick and tear the cake.
Should I Use a Light or Dark Colored Pan?
Generally, aluminum and lighter colored pans are preferred for their ability to let the cake climb and keep the outside from overbaking (resulting in a thick crust). If you don't have any cake pans yet, consider buying lighter colored ones. I happened to have some medium-dark pans already and was able to use them with success. The timing and temperature provided for this recipe is based on a darker pan. If you're using a lighter pan, you might need to bake a few minutes longer. Instead of relying on time only, use the appearance to gauge doneness: cake should spring back in the center and a skewer inserted should pull out clean
Can I Bake This Cake in Other Cake Pans?
Yes, this cake can be baked in circular cake pans as well. I've tested it with 8" circular cake pans. With this size, you'll need two of them and you don't need to cut the cake in half like with the round tube pan. Do not use a single deep cake pan because it will take longer for the center to bake fully and you don't want to overbake this cake making it dry and coarse.
Can I Make This a Cupcake?
Yes, you can bake it into a cupcake pan lined with paper liners. However, it is a lighter cake so pair it with a light frosting like whipped cream. It won't be as sturdy as regular cupcakes so keep that in mind. This cake is best suited to eat with a fork on a plate. See this recipe if you want to make the classic frosting-less Sponge-y Chinese paper wrapped cupcakes.
Is This a Sturdy Whipped Cream Frosting?
This whipped cream frosting is also known as Chantilly cream - a whipped cream that is flavored and/or sweetened. It is prepared using a very popular preparation method used in many cake recipes whereby the cream is stabilized with powdered sugar. It is strong enough for piping and won't deflate after a few days. I like that it is very easy to put together but it's a bit soft for my liking. While I was transferring slices of the cake into a takeout box for my friends, the cream didn't stay as intact after some handling. Of course, this will not be a problem if you're just serving it to friends and family and consuming it right away. Everyone will love the taste and won't be focused on how your cut slices look. I feel I'm just a bit picky in this regard so, for special occasions, I prefer to make a really strong and sturdy whipped cream that is stabilized with gelatin.
Frosting a Cake With Whipped Cream
Usually, frosting a cake requires a crumb coat whereby the crumbs on the cake are "locked" into the cake with a first layer of frosting called a crumb coat. Subsequent layers of frosting are needed to make it more aesthetically pleasing. This method doesn't work as well with a soft frosting like whipped cream, it doesn't bind the crumbs onto the cake as well.
To minimize handling while smoothing the frosting, I like to pipe a thick layer of it onto the outside of the cake and then smooth it out with a scraper tool just once. No crumb coating and no shaping it again and again. As you can see, I left some parts of the cake a bit rough. I could have definitely shaped it some more so it looks more neat but I decided to keep it that way so it looks a bit more "rustic" and "homemade". I know many of you who will be making this type of cake for the first time will probably achieve a similar result so I feel this is a more accurate representation of what it will actually look like. I think it looks less store-bought and a lot more charming this way! What do you think?
Step By Step
Prepare the Dry Mix
Line the bottom of the cake pan(s) with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325 F. In a large mixing bowl, sift in dry mix. Stir to combine.
Combine the Wet and Dry Mixes
Create a well in the center of the dry mix. Inside it, add the wet mix. With a whisk, stir to combine until fully incorporated with no visible lumps, do not over mix. Set this milk-flour mixture aside.
Make the Meringue
Now make the meringue. In a clean and dry, non-plastic mixing bowl, whip egg whites on slow speed until frothy, add cream of tartar. Increase speed to medium, once the whites become opaque and bubble size have decreased, add sugar a little bit at a time. Increase speed to med-high, whip until stiff peaks. This is the meringue.
Fold Meringue into Batter
Gently fold ⅓ of the meringue into the milk-flour mixture to get it moving. Once incorporated, fold in the rest of the meringue. Do not stir. Use batter immediately.
Pour batter into lined cake pan from one spot, spread out the batter evenly with an angled spatula. Tap the pan on the counter to release large air pockets. Bake for 25-28 min. until a skewer pulls out clean and the cake springs back in the center.
Flip the cake pan upside down on the cooling rack and let cool for 30 min. before removing cake from pan. Use an offset spatula to gently release the sides of the cake from pan. Remove paper, let the cake cool completely while you make the fresh cream.
Whip Fresh Cream
Place beaters and mixing bowl in fridge to chill. Check that the heavy cream is sufficiently chilled. Cool tools and chilled cream will ensure that the cream whips to volume. Optional for warm weather: Place chilled bowl over a bed of ice. Add powdered sugar into bowl and then pour in heavy cream. Whip mixture on medium speed until large bubbles form. Increase speed to high and whip until the mixture gains volume and the beaters starts to leave tracks inside the cream. Add vanilla extract and whip until stiff peaks. Use cream immediately to assemble cake.
Wash, pat dry and hull strawberries. Dice 4 strawberries, reserve the rest for decorating the top. With a piping bag apply an even layer of cream on the top of the first layer, spread evenly and add cut strawberries. Pipe more cream on top and smooth out layer evenly. Place second layer on top. Pipe thick bands of whipping cream onto the outside of the cake, use a scraper to shape the sides and top with a clean finish. Pipe the borders with a decorative piping tip (I used 4B). Decorate with strawberries as desired. Allow cake to set in fridge before cutting.
How Can I Make Other Flavors of Chiffon Cake?
There are various methods for adapting the flavors in a chiffon cake. Dry ingredients can be added to the dry mix (e.g. coffee cake roll, gingerbread cake roll), extracts can be added to the wet mix (e.g. cotton candy cake roll, tiger cake roll, fancy pattern cake roll), flavors from dry goods can be infused into the ingredients of the wet mix (e.g. chocolate cake roll, matcha cake roll, pumpkin cake roll, carrot cake roll, Earl Grey tea cake roll) or a completely different flavored filling/frosting can be used all together to complement the cake (e.g Bear cake roll with cheesecake filling).
Why Did My Chiffon Cake Crack?
Chiffon cakes can crack when the temperature in the oven is too hot. Most chiffon cakes are baked at 325F. Use an oven thermometer to keep track of the actual temperature in the oven and be cognizant of how close it is to the heat source. Place the pan in the middle rack or slightly below it (especially if the heating coils are on the top). Darker pans also conduct heat more readily so you might need to lower the temperature a bit (start with a reduction of 25F). After the cake comes out of the oven, invert it right away over a cooling rack.
Why is My Chiffon Cake So Dense?
Chiffon cakes rely on egg whites to leaven the cake. If the meringue is not prepared properly, it can cause the cake to be dense. Meringue should be whipped until it reaches the stiff peaks stage (see step-by-step photo above). Under-beaten meringue doesn't have enough air trapped inside it to leaven the cake while over-beaten meringue will cause the cake to collapse, both resulting in dense cakes. While folding, be careful to evenly distribute the meringue into the cake batter. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to bring up the batter and fold until no meringue lumps are visible.
Can I Make This Cake in Advance?
Yes! To prepare this cake in advance, wrap the cake base in plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month. Defrost in the fridge overnight before assembly. Because it's not ideal to freeze whipped cream due to separation, it's best to assemble the cake with freshly whipped cream 1-3 days before serving.
How Do I Store This Cake?
The assembled cake can stay fresh inside the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Because it contains whipped cream, follow standard food safety guidelines, leave it outside of the fridge for no longer than 2 hours. In hotter climates, take it out only right before serving.
- Regular kitchen tools PLUS
- 9.5" round tube pan OR 2 8" round cake pan
- Offset spatula
- Parchment paper
- Piping tip 4B for border decoration.
- Piping bag
Dry Mix for Asian Bakery Chiffon Cake
- 112 grams cake flour*
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Wet Mix for Asian Bakery Chiffon Cake
- 85 ml whole fat milk
- 75 ml neutral oil (e.g. canola, grapeseed, avocado)
- 75 grams granulated sugar*
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Meringue for Asian Bakery Chiffon Cake
- 5 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar*
- 75 grams granulated sugar*
Fresh Chantilly Cream
- 2 ½ cups heavy cream, chilled*
- 5 tablespoon powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling and Decorating
- 10 medium strawberries
Asian Bakery Chiffon Cake Base
- Line the bottom of the cake pan(s) with parchment paper.
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- In a large mixing bowl, sift in dry mix. Stir to combine.
- Create a well in the center. Inside it, add the wet mix.
- With a whisk, stir to combine until fully incorporated with no visible lumps, do not over mix. Set this milk-flour mixture aside.
- Now make the meringue. In a clean and dry, non-plastic mixing bowl, whip egg whites on slow speed until frothy, add cream of tartar.
- Increase speed to medium, once the whites become opaque and bubble size have decreased, add sugar a little bit at a time.
- Increase speed to med-high, whip until stiff peaks.* This is the meringue.
- Gently fold ⅓ of the meringue into the milk-flour mixture to get it moving. Once incorporated, fold in the rest of the meringue. Do not stir. Use batter immediately.
- Pour batter into lined cake pan from one spot, spread out the batter evenly with an angled spatula.
- Tap the pan on the counter to release large air pockets.
- Bake for 25-28 min. until a skewer pulls out clean and the cake springs back in the center.
- Flip the cake pan upside down on the cooling rack and let cool for 30 min. before removing cake from pan.
- Use an offset spatula to gently release the sides of the cake from pan. Remove paper, let the cake cool completely while you make the fresh cream.
- Place beaters and mixing bowl in fridge to chill. Check that the heavy cream is sufficiently chilled. Cool tools and chilled cream will ensure that the cream whips to volume.
- Optional for warm weather: Place chilled bowl over a bed of ice.
- Add powdered sugar into bowl and then pour in heavy cream.
- Whip mixture on medium speed until large bubbles form. Increase speed to high and whip until the mixture gains volume and the beaters starts to leave tracks inside the cream.
- Add vanilla extract and whip until stiff peaks. Use cream immediately to assemble cake.
- Wash, pat dry and hull strawberries.
- Dice 4 strawberries, reserve the rest for decorating the top.
- With a piping bag apply an even layer of cream on the top of the first layer, spread evenly and add cut strawberries. Pipe more cream on top and smooth out layer evenly. Place second layer on top.
- Pipe thick bands of whipping cream onto the outside of the cake, use a scraper to shape the sides and top with a clean finish. Pipe the borders with a decorative piping tip.
- Decorate with strawberries as desired.
- Allow cake to set in fridge before cutting.
- Strawberry chiffon cake can stay fresh inside the fridge for 4-5 days. Refer to post body on how to make cake in advance and how long it keeps at room temperature.
- Some ingredients are repeated, use them in the same order as outlined in instructions.
- Cake flour is a low protein flour which yields soft fluffy cakes. It is preferred but can be substituted with AP Flour.
- Granulated sugar can be substituted with extra fine granulated sugar a.k.a berry sugar for a finer textured cake.
- Cream of tartar in the meringue helps stabilize it. It can be substituted with double the amount in lemon juice or vinegar.
- Heavy cream has a milk fat content of 36% (denoted as M.F. 36) and above. It produces a more stable whipped cream than if using whipping cream (33%).
- Stiff peaks in characterized by the egg whites having pointed peaks that point upwards without drooping when the whisk is pulled out.
- The timing and temperature provided for this recipe is based on a medium-dark pan. For lighter pans, you might need bake it a few minutes longer. Use appearance to gauge doneness: springy center and skewer inserted into cake comes out clean.
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Chicago Metallic Professional 2-Piece 9.5-Inch Angel Food Cake Pan with Feet, 9.5" x 4"
Tebery 3 Pack Round Cake Pan Set for Baking, 8 Inch Nonstick Circle Cake Pans with Wide Handle, 3 Pieces Layer Cake Tin Cheesecake Mold for Birthday Wedding
PaperChef Culinary Parchment Multipurpose Non-Stick Paper, 205 sq ft
Ateco 1385 Offset Spatula with 4.5-Inch Stainless Steel Blade, Wood Handle, 4.5 Inch, natural
Ateco Disposable Decorating Bags, 18-Inch, Pack of 100
Wilton Decorating Tip, No.4B Star
Amount Per Serving Calories 450Total Fat 29gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 130mgSodium 212mgCarbohydrates 44gFiber 0gSugar 32gProtein 5g
This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although indulgewithmimi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.