Chiffon Cakes with Chocolate Chunks
Have you had chiffon cake before? Are you curious why chiffon cake is unique and particularly delicious?
Well, chiffon cakes are traditionally made with vegetable oil instead of butter, which makes them lighter and more moist than butter-based cakes. (They also stay moist and delicious longer than butter cakes as a result!)
The other element that gives chiffon cakes such a light, delicious crumb is the addition of whipped egg whites to the batter. Just before baking, whipped egg whites are folded into chiffon cake batter. The egg whites take the cake to the next level, both figuratively and literally: chiffon cakes really rise in the oven because of those fluffy egg whites!
I stray a little bit from tradition with my chiffon cake recipe because I do use butter. The flavor of butter is just too good not to use it! I use half melted butter and half vegetable oil in my recipe, and I think that by doing so, you truly get the best of both worlds in my chiffon cake: flavor from the butter, but also the moist, light crumb from the vegetable oil. (Just writing about these cakes is making me wish I hadn’t eaten the last one earlier today!)
My Chiffon Cakes with Chocolate Chunks are really perfect to enjoy year round, but they’re particularly perfect for Valentine’s Day if you make them in this adorable heart pan [aff. link]. Seriously, it’s so cute, and makes the most gorgeous personal-sized heart cakes!
Even better, it is soo easy to get the cakes out of this pan! They seriously just slide right out. Absolutely no fighting with this pan, I promise! I use this cake pan any time I want to bring a little personality to my baking. (My Audrey Hepburn Chocolate Cakelettes is another recipe that would be adorable in this heart pan!)
If you want the perfect evening with your Valentine, make my Chiffon Cakes with Chocolate Chunks. Even better, enjoy them while watching a romantic comedy with one of my favorite onscreen romantic teams, Doris Day and Rock Hudson! This fantastic DVD collection [aff. link] includes all three of the films Doris and Rock made together (and even throws in one of my favorite Doris and James Garner films too!)
Some Tool Tips!
You may be able to make this recipe without an electric mixer, but it would be a workout! I’ve only ever made chiffon cake with my handheld mixer. I’ve used this very budget-friendly Oster hand mixer for nearly ten years [aff. link]. It still works like a charm!
(But I’ll tell you, when my Oster mixer dies, this is the handheld mixer I’ve got my eye on [aff. link]. IT’S PINK!!!! Need I say more?)
Also, you’re going to want a good silicon spatula to help with folding those whipped egg whites into the chiffon cake batter. If you’re looking for a super cute and incredibly functional one, here is my favorite from Le Creuset [aff. link]. Such an affordable product from a designer chef brand like Le Creuset would also make a phenomenal Valentine’s Day gift! If your Valentine likes to bake or cook, you can’t go wrong with this spatula.
A Short Chocolate Chunk and Folding Technique Guide
For reference, here’s what the chocolate chunks should look like in this recipe, as well as a short photo tutorial on whipped egg whites and folding technique!
And Because I Can't help Myself...
And because I can’t help myself, here are a few of my favorite Classic Hollywood Couples to get you in the romantic Valentine’s Day mood!
Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn
Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner
Fred MacMurray and June Haver
Chiffon Cakes with Chocolate Chunks
For the wet ingredients:
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp vanilla
- ½ cup almond milk, or milk of choice
For the dry ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 egg whites
- 8 oz baking chocolate, chopped, (milk, semi-sweet, dark, whatever your preference! I like to use milk chocolate best!)
- 1 Tbsp flour
Prepare the chocolate chunks
- Chop 8 ounces of baking chocolate into chunks. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of flour over the chocolate chunks, and work the flour into the chocolate chunks until they are well coated. (See photo above for reference!) This will keep the chocolate from sinking to the bottom of the batter while the cakes bake!
Whip the egg whites
- Separate 2 egg whites from their yokes (we won’t need these yokes in the recipe), and put the egg whites in a very clean mixing bowl.
- Quick note: I’ve never had an issue getting the egg whites to whip to stiff peaks straight from the refrigerator in this recipe, but feel free to bring the egg whites to room temperature before whipping if desired. Some cooks find room temperature egg whites easier to whip to stiff peaks.)
- With a handheld or stand mixer with very clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form, about 3-4 minutes. (See the photos above for reference.)
- Another quick note: when you begin beating the egg whites, they will first become a bubbly foam, but after 3-4 minutes the egg whites will get really light and fluffy—like clouds—and stiff peaks will form. You know the peaks are stiff enough if when you take your egg beaters out of the egg whites, the peaks hold their shape and kind of lift out of the bowl with the egg beaters. (See photos above for reference!)
- Set aside, and proceed quickly with the following steps. The shorter the egg whites sit the better!
Cream the wet ingredients
- In a medium sized mixing bowl, use a handheld or stand mixer to cream together the oil, melted butter, and sugar until well combined, about one minute.
- Now add the vanilla and the egg. Beat with your mixer until combined and fluffy, about one minute.
- Now add in the milk, and mix until the milk is completely incorporated.
Mix in the dry ingredients
- Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the other ingredients, and mix with your handheld/stand mixer until almost combine.
- Now add in the chocolate chunks. Mix them into the batter by hand until just combined. Be careful not to over mix!
Fold in the egg whites
- Now fold in the egg whites with a silicon spatula. (See photos above for folding technique!) You want to completely combine the egg whites into the cake batter, but fold softly so as not to deflate them.
Bake the chiffon cake
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the heart shaped pan
- If using the heart shaped pan (I highly recommend!!!), oil the pan, and pour about ½ cup of batter into each heart. You will have just about ½ cup of batter left over. I use a little 8 oz ramekin for the remaining batter, and I bake the ramekin alongside the heart shaped cakes.
- Bake for 21-24 minutes, until the cakes are mostly firm—there will be a slight jiggle—and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cake comes out mostly clean.
- Let the heart cakes cook for 5 minutes, then flip them out of the pan. They will slide right out! The side of each cake that was in the bottom of the pan will now become the top of the cake.
For an 8x8 inch or 9x9 inch pan
- If not using the heart shaped pan, pour the cake batter into an oiled 8x8 inch or 9x9 inch pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is mostly firm on top—there will be a slight jiggle—and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
Serve and enjoy!
- Serve the cakes alone or with a nice cup of almond milk. Enjoy!
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