A chiffon cake is a type of sponge cake. It is a cake that is made using vegetable oil instead of butter. This gives the cake a foam-like texture. Because there is no butter in the cakes, they are more healthy but have less flavor. Chiffon cakes are usually served by soaking the cake layer in a cake syrup (which is nothing more than 2 parts water to 1 part sugar) to provide it with moisture since it's dry in nature.
The chiffon cake was invented in 1927 by Harry Baker, a California insurance salesman turned caterer. Baker kept the recipe secret for 20 years until he sold it to General Mills. At this point the name was changed to "chiffon cake" and a set of 14 recipes and variations was released to the public in a Betty Crocker pamphlet published in 1948. The New Best Recipe. Brookline, MA: America's Test Kitchen. 2004.
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