Chiffon Cake with Strawberries and Cream

Martha Stewart Living, June 2012

Cover recipe- Martha Stewart Living, Chiffon Cake with Strawberries & Cream: June 2012

I tend to shiver with anticipation every time I get my Martha Stewart Living in the mail.  I really just love to browse the magazine for design inspiration, entertaining ideas and wonderful, new recipes that are in-line with the season.  The question/answer features are always helpful.  It just seems to cover everything that is useful to someone who is active in keeping his/her house.  June’s issue is dubbed “The Summer Food Issue.”  There’s a great Father’s Day Brunch Menu that features Bourbon-Glazed Pork Chops and Black Pepper Biscuits.  There is a beautiful write up on Clams too, something I intend to experiment with a lot this summer.  In the “berry” section, Martha explains how she has developed many places to plant various kinds of berries on her property, and they are able to enjoy them all year long by freezing the excess.

The cover boasts Martha’s favorite berry recipes, 14 easy summer dishes that are fresh and light, and tricks for speedy weeknight grilling.  The cover recipe comes from Martha’s favorite berry recipes:  Chiffon Cake with Strawberries and Cream.  Martha explains that the chiffon cake is similar in texture to an angel food cake, but richer due to the addition of egg yolks.  The filling is simply whipped cream with macerated strawberries.   Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

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Chiffon Cake with Strawberries and Cream

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 52 min

Ingredients:

Cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour (not self rising)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup safflower oil
7 large egg yolks
9 large egg whites
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped, or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Berries & Cream:
2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered (about 5 cups), plus more for serving
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt
2 cups cold heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. You will need a tube pan that is 9 1/2-inches in diameter and 4 1/2-inches deep.

1. For the cake: Whisk together the flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk together the oil, egg yolks, and milk in a large bowl. Whisk flour mixture into the egg-yolk mixture.

2. Beat the egg whites with a mixer on high speed until frothy. Add cream of tartar and vanilla seeds or extract, and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 5 minutes. Whisk one-third of the egg-white mixture into the batter. Gently but thoroughly fold in remaining egg white mixture with a rubber spatula.

3. Transfer the batter to a tube pan. Bake until the top of the cake springs back when touched, 52 to 55 minutes. Let cool upside down (over a bottle or on tube-pan feet) 1 hour.

4. For the berries and cream: While cake is baking and cooling, combine strawberries, granulated sugar, lemon juice and salt, and let sit, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Just before assembling, beat the cream and powdered sugar until medium peaks form.

5. Slide a paring knife around the edges of the tube and side of pan; release cake. Cut cake horizontally into 3 lawyers with a serrated knife. Transfer the bottom layer to a cake plate or platter. Spread with half the berries, and drizzle with juices. Spread half the whipped cream over the berries, then top with the middle cake layer. Spread with the remaining berries and whipped cream. Top with the remaining cake layer. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and serve with berries.

Tips:

*I did, indeed, use cake flour. Here's an easy way to make your own cake flour if you don't wish to purchase it especially for this recipe.
*I didn't have quite enough safflower oil, so I used about half canola oil. All turned out fine.
*Pay attention to all of the measurements closely. There's some dividing, and the eggs all need to be separated.
*I didn't have a vanilla bean, so I used vanilla bean paste (which I love!)
*The sweeter your strawberries, the better this dessert will be.
*The batter makes a bit too much for the pan indicated. Mine rose up higher than the pan and some of the batter leaked onto my foil-lined oven. Other than that, it baked up perfectly.
*I recommend refrigerating the cake for at least 2 hours, maybe more, before serving.

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 2012

The results:

It was an impressive cake!  It looked beautiful and it was definitely well-received by my taste testers.  The cake was placed on a table filled with other desserts, and it was the first dessert that everyone chose.  A couple of people even recognized it as “that cake from the cover of Living!”  My cake was refrigerated for one hour before serving, so it was slightly tough to cut neatly and serve.  Given more time to set in the fridge, I think it would be easier to slice.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Yes!  It’s impressive and beautiful, and delicious!  And it’s a great cake for summer.  Stick a few blueberries in there to make it a red, white and blue cake for 4th of July!

Lori is the founder of RecipeGirl.com. She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at RecipeBoy.com.

27 Responses to “Simple Layer Cake with Vanilla Frosting”

  1. 1

    Averie @ Averie Cooks — May 20, 2013 @ 5:10 am

    Thanks for the review! It puzzles me too about the cake mix when cakes like this are practically as easy!

    I just got a cookbook about cooking with edible flowers. I have been loving reading/learning about a whole new world to me. Who knew you could bake with dandelions. I sure didn’t!

  2. 2

    Kelster — May 20, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    Your perfect wedding cake cupcakes are made with cake mix so they aren’t all soooo bad. But anyway, I bake from scratch a lot but I can understand why some will reach for a cake mix. A lot of my friends don’t bake often and so they don’t keep certain ingredients on hand. They have no use for baking powder so they don’t buy it. It’s easier to just grab a box of cake mix whenever they feel the need to bake a cake instead of getting a can of baking powder just for 2 teaspoons and not being able to use it all before it’s no longer active. I have other friends who rarely have flour on hand. It seems like it would be a staple but for some it’s not.

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 20th, 2013 @ 7:53 am

      That is such a good point… it’s so commonplace for me to have all baking ingredients at hand, but totally understandable for those who don’t bake! And you’re right- those Wedding Cupcakes are pretty darn good for a boxed mix.

  3. 3

    Laurie @ A Wiener Dog in the Kitchen — May 20, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

    I totally agree, Lori. It’s just as easy to make it from scratch and only usually takes a couple of extra steps, but the results are so much better. Your cake is gorgeous and not having had lunch yet, is making me totally hungry… I could put away a slice right now.

  4. 4

    sara — May 20, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

    This cake looks so amazing! Love the edible dandelions…I haven’t seen those before but they’re really pretty! :)

  5. 5

    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — May 20, 2013 @ 3:05 pm

    What a great basic cake to feature here at Culinary Covers! Interesting about the frosting. Warm kitchens can sometimes be the culprit with butter that is a bit soft. Your tip of starting with just 3 tablespoons of liquid (milk) is spot on for the home baker. Thanks for sharing, Lori!

  6. 6

    Kim L. — May 20, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

    I am having friends over for dinner on Thursday and wast trying to come up with a desert. Problem solved!

    Oh, and about the box mixes… Growing up my mom made everything from scratch except for cakes. She always used a box. When I got married and was on my own, I used box cakes for a long time too because I assumed that they were really hard to make. Glad I learned the truth!

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 20th, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

      My Mom always made spice cake from a box. I loved it then and I still love boxed spice cake now too :)

  7. 7

    Jill P. (@MamaGing.com) — May 20, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    This sounds perfect! I’ve been in search for a good, simple (not just using egg whites) vanilla cake recipe. I can not handle boxed mixes – they have such a chemical, mass produced taste to them, as well as canned frosting. When I see a delicious recipe on Pinterest and and soon as I see that first ingredient says a boxed mix, I immediately back out. My mother made most everything from scratch and I try to too. My new years resolution is no canned cream of whatever soups… make my own! Thanks for sharing this one, this I WILL pin! ;)

  8. 8

    Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet — May 20, 2013 @ 7:23 pm

    The cake came out gorgeous, Lori! I love your thoughts on the cake. Definitely will be trying it! And edible dandelions? Who knew? Pinning!

  9. 9

    Katrina — May 20, 2013 @ 8:14 pm

    Beautiful! And I agree–why do people used boxed cake mixes. sigh

  10. 10

    Faith — May 21, 2013 @ 7:34 am

    This cake is such a beauty – I love Martha Stewart Living for the same reasons you mentioned above. I’m glad this cake was a winner flavor-wise too!

  11. 11

    Deborah Harroun — May 21, 2013 @ 8:31 am

    This is so pretty! I’m on the search for the perfect yellow cake so I definitely need to give this one a try!

  12. 12

    Tieghan — May 21, 2013 @ 7:35 pm

    Sp pretty!! I am not normally a yellow cake person, but this one just looks so good! I need to venture away from chocolate and make it!

  13. 13

    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — May 21, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

    I love a quick simple cake. This one looks beautiful. I’d love to give it a try. I also love decorating cakes with flowers. It just looks so simple and beautiful.

  14. 14

    Donalyn@The Creekside Cook — May 23, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

    I definitely hang out with food bloggers too much – the idea of using a mix always shocks me just a tiny bit. This cake looks wonderful and I love a nice vanilla cake, so I’ll be giving it a try – thanks for the review!

  15. 15

    Clover — May 23, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

    That cake looks perfect. I will definitely be setting aside this recipe for a special occasion. Thanks for the review.

  16. 16

    Donna @ The Slow Roasted Italian — May 24, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    What a lovely cake. I am tucking this one away. I have found such awful recipes for yellow cake and would love to try this one.

  17. 17

    Darla — May 24, 2013 @ 10:55 am

    Just baked this cake this morning! I didn’t want to do layers so I did a 9×13 cake pan. It worked beautifully and the cake had such a smooth level top, my cakes don’t usually come out that nice. It has a very nice light tender crumb to it, reminiscent of a cake mix, but it tastes soooooo much better! Made a half a batch of frosting as well and since I like my frosting with a light touch, we still have enough leftover for a pan of cinnamon rolls! :) Thanks for sharing this recipe, Lori…will definitely make it again!

  18. 18

    Suzanne — May 24, 2013 @ 8:45 pm

    I made this as cupcakes & it was really good!

  19. 19

    chris — May 28, 2013 @ 10:36 am

    Hi Lori, I am looking forward to making this cake, however, it states-“Yield: One 8-inch layer cake; but the
    instructions state-“Butter two 8-inch round cake pans.” Could you let me know which to use?
    I just bought your cookbook and can’t wait to make some of those delicious recipes!!
    Thanks.

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 28th, 2013 @ 11:41 am

      Hi Chris- One 8-inch layer cake means that you will butter two 8-inch round cake pans (the layer cake uses two round pans). Does that make sense? I hope you enjoy my cookbook!

  20. 20

    Teana — February 24, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

    im 13 yrs old and did this cake yesterday b/c i want to become a baker i wish i could see Lori so she can help me work on cakes for in the future thanks lori for putting this up !

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 25th, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

      You’re welcome!

  21. 21

    Mary — February 25, 2014 @ 2:05 am

    This is my first cake from scratch and it was a great success. The texture, moistness and density was perfect. It was truly simple to make. The batter tasted great too. It will be our ‘go to’ vanilla cake recipe from now on.

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 25th, 2014 @ 6:59 pm

      Glad to hear it worked out so well for you!

  22. 22

    Mary — February 25, 2014 @ 2:09 am

    One more comment. For the middle I spread a thin layer of strawberry (or raspberry) jam and then put icing on. It gives it a little ‘other’ flavor which complements the vanilla nicely.

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