Start with unsweetened cocoa.
Pour some boiling water into unsweetened cocoa powder.
Mix and blend until smooth.
Set aside to cool down a bit.
Whisk together the dry ingredients– cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, making sure there are no lumps. Set aside.
Most chiffon cake recipes will tell you to sift all the dry ingredients together to get out all the lumps and help create a finer texture in the cake. I’ve just been using my whisk for years and the cakes have turned out fine.
Of course it’s better to sift all the dry ingredients together, but unless they are really lumpy, I haven’t found doing so to be crucial. Dry ingredients may be more prone lumpiness in humid environments though.
Pour cocoa mixture into the bowl of a standing mixer, and stir in melted butter and oil.
Add in eggs and vanilla.
Now mix on low speed until blended, then increase to medium speed and mix for 3 minutes.
Pour the chocolate batter into the open side of the bowl containing the whipped egg whites. The batter should sink to the bottom of the bowl, even under the egg whites. This is what we want–the cake batter to be mostly under the whipped egg whites.
The only reason I whip the egg whites first is because I don’t want to mix the chocolate batter first, then have to wash and dry the standing mixer bowl before whipping the egg whites in it. Pure laziness, but I’m guessing most people would be on board with this.
Now we’ll start folding the egg whites into the chocolate batter.
Place spatula down one side of the bowl to the bottom, push chocolate batter from underneath to the other side of the bowl, and lift spatula up the other side and over the top. Repeat.
As you lift over the top you’ll see the streaks of chocolate batter and whipped egg whites slowly incorporate.
Keep repeating the “down, under, up and over” folding of the batter.
I also slowly rotate the bowl as I do this to help get to all the spots.
Whatever you do, you do not want to stick the spatula into the bowl and stir vigorously in circles.
This should be done as gently as possible so as not to deflate all the air bubbles.
You don’t want any streaks of white in the final batter. These will result in tough areas in the cake.
If necessary, use the spatula to gently spread through the white streaks and to help incorporate them into the chiffon cake batter.
The final chiffon cake batter should be uniform in color, without any white streaks or lumps.
Line a shiny, metal baking pan with parchment paper.
Do not use a non stick pan. The cake needs to be able to grab onto the pan edges and rise up.
Cut the parchment paper to fit the bottom only of the cake pan.
Do not skip the parchment paper. Using it is necessary to help remove the cake from the pan easily and in one piece.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
It should be nice and fluffy.
Place a cooling rack over the top of the cake pan. Now flip them over onto a clean kitchen towel.
Let the cake cool completely.
Flip the cooled cake back over in its pan.
Continue on to fill and frost the cake, or cover and refrigerate it until you are ready to proceed.