Classic Orange Chiffon Cake

We had some celebrating to do last week and celebrated my mother-in-law’s birthday. Some people have big ol’ pain in the butt mother-in-laws. Me? I think I might have scored the lottery on mine!  My husband’s family helps us so much with our kids and I try to throw her a little dinner each year to show her just what she means to me.

Wrapped beneath the tree this year, from my in-law’s, were two of my cookbook requests, “The Cake Doctor,” & “Chocolate from the Cake Doctor.” These are two books from the library that I had checked out so frequently that I felt that the library should charge me a fine for making them look so raggedy. I couldn’t wait to put these cookbooks to work and nothings says, “I love my Christmas present,” more than putting a present to good use.

I ran across a recipe for an Orange Chiffon Cake that sounded like a perfectly light ending to our delicious dinner. Chiffon cakes are deliciously moist and tender and their lightness comes from the beaten egg whites. It bakes high in the pan and, since you invert it, the flaws all are magically flipped to the bottom and are ready for a generous glazing.

The best part about this one though is that it uses a cake mix so it makes pulling a beautiful cake together a complete and utter breeze. A homemade glaze made from orange juice and confectioner’s sugar gives it all of the handmade beauty with another burst of orange flavor.

The fresh orange zest is what makes this cake a showstopper and the oranges are just beautiful this time of year. So beautiful, in fact, that I took pictures of them for a good twenty minutes and almost burned my cake. Whoops!

Classic Orange Chiffon Cake (Courtesy of The Cake Doctor)

5 large egg whites

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 package yellow cake mix

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup vegetable oil such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean, or sunflower (I used canola oil)

1/4 cup thawed frozen orange juice concentrate

1 teaspoon grated orange zest


2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 tablespoons orange juice (I had to use 5 so you may need to increase this)

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set aside an ungreased 10″ tube pan. Place the egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Set the bowl aside. Place the cake mix, egg yolks, orange juice concentrate, oil, and orange zest in a large mixing bowl, and with the same beaters used to beat the egg whites, blend with the electric mixer on low speed for one minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer to medium and beat for two more minutes, scraping the sides again if needed. The batter should look well blended.

Turn the beaten egg whites out on top of the batter and with the spatula, fold the egg whites into the batter until the mixture is light but well combined. Pour into the pan and place int he oven.

Bake until it is golden brown and springs back when pressed with your finger for 48-52 minutes (Mine took 48 minutes).  Remove the pan and immediately turn it upside down over the neck of a glass bottle to cool for one hour. Run a knife around the edge and invert it onto a rack and then invert it again on a serving platter so it is right side up.

For the glaze, place the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice in a medium mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for one minute. Spread the glaze over the top and side of the cake. Let the glaze set for 20 minutes and then serve.

Side Note- After you measure out 1/4 cup of the thawed orange juice concentrate, prepare orange juice with the remaining concentrate by adding half as much water as the package directs. Use this orange juice in your cake batter and glaze.

What did everyone think about the cake? Sometimes pictures speak so much louder than words! Emily had her mouth open like this over the cake our entire dinner.  “Can we have cake now? How about now?”  We all dug into the cake after huge plates filled with Pot Roast Italiano, Orzo Pasta, & Roasted Green Beans.

It truly was the perfect ending to our celebration and will be going into my recipe rotation for years to come.

What cake is your favorite celebration cake? Please feel free to share your recipes or links to your showstopper cakes!

Published January 18, 2010 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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