Yellow Chiffon Cake with Bailey’s Irish Cream Swiss Buttercream

This impressive four-layer cake is light and fluffy yet still packed with flavor. Whether you use a good Irish cream (Bailey’s still has my heart), the coffee flavor of Kahlua, or your favorite liqueur, I guarantee you’ll love the way their essence comes out in this buttercream.

And Happy Birthday Addie ~ I hope it’s an amazing year for you!

Yellow Chiffon Cake

  • Servings: One 4-layer 8-inch cake
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Yellow Chiffon Cake
2 cups (250 g) cake flour*
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar (Sugar #1)
1 tsp (6 g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt
1 T (12 g) baking powder
1/2 cup + 1-1/2 tsp (125 g) vegetable oil
125 g egg yolks (yolks from approximately 8 large eggs)**
3/4 cup (188 g) water
(6 g) vanilla extract
250 g egg whites (whites from approximately 8 large eggs)**
2/3 cup (125 g) granulated sugar (Sugar #2)
(1 g) cream of tartar

*If you don’t have any cake flour, you can make your own by mixing 80% all-purpose flour (for this recipe 200 g) and 20% corn starch (50 g)
**Weighing is highly recommended with this cake. Your egg sizes can vary (they can do that even within the same egg carton), so your cake might not rise as well. If the weight of your egg yolks (or egg whites) is higher than the grams listed, carefully take small spoonfuls out until you reach the target weight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prep two 8” cake pans with spray (bottom only) and circles of parchment that fit the bottom. If you have cake collars, soak them in water for five minutes, squeeze out the excess water, and wrap them around the cake pans. (Optional, but see baking time adjustments below if using).

Sift the cake flour, sugar #1, salt and baking powder directly into the mixing bowl and add the oil while beating on low speed with the paddle attachment.

In a measuring cup (with spout), mix egg yolks, water and vanilla with a small whisk until blended.

How it should look after adding the oil
And how it should look after adding the liquids

Pour this liquid into the batter slowly while the mixture is on low, stopping 3-4 times to wipe down the sides of the bowl (important). Once everything is evenly mixed, transfer the batter to a large bowl.

Thoroughly wash and dry the mixing bowl and add the whip attachment. On medium speed, whip the egg whites until foamy and slowly add cream of tartar and sugar. Turn mixer to medium high and continue whipping to firm peaks.

Fold a large spoonful of the egg white mixture (meringue) into the batter mixture and “lighten” the batter with this. Add the rest of the meringue and gently fold until fully incorporated.

Firm peaks
After “lightening” the batter, gently fold the rest of the meringue in until fully incorporated

Dividing the Batter
Place your (now empty) mixing bowl on your scale and zero it out. Spoon the fluffy cake batter into it and note the weight. Divide that weight in two. Example: 1200 grams total / 2 = 600 grams per cake pan. Scoop 600 grams into the first (prepared) cake pan until the scale reads 600. Pour the remaining batter into the second cake pan. Gently spread the batter so the top is more or less even.

Weigh the batter and divide by two so that it bakes evenly

Place the cake pans in the oven on a middle rack and bake as follows:

If not using a baking collar: 34-37 minutes
With a baking collar: 37-40 minutes

The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean, or you can press a finger gently in the center and it bounces back. Note: Don’t open the oven while it’s baking, or the center is likely to sink.

As soon as they come out of the oven, invert them onto a cooling rack
Look at how light and airy they look!

Let them cool completely before removing from the pans.

Icing and Decorating
This Swiss Buttercream recipe is light, not overly buttery, and delicious flavored with your favorite liqueur. (Bailey’s Irish Cream and Kahlua are my favorites!)

Icing Strategies

Lay your cake on a cake board and place it on a turntable if you have one
Roughly ice the sides and top, leaving some buttercream to color if you plan to decorate it
Using a bench scraper tool or cake spatula, even out the finish by spinning the turnstile
Pipe it how you want and enjoy!

I only have basic skills in piping (insert a piping tip into an icing bag, add colored icing, squeeze and hope for the best), but here’s a good video on decorating tips that carry the art forward.

Storage Options
If you’re not going to ice or decorate them that day, you have two options for storage:

If you plan to use with 3-4 days:
Return the cooled cakes to their pans and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Store in a room temperature (NOT the fridge but not too hot an area either) environment.

Or beyond that:
Freeze them instead, wrapping each layer tightly in plastic wrap (actually two layers of plastic is better). Mark them with the name of the cake and the date and place them in the freezer. The night before you plan to use them, move them from the freezer to the fridge. You can also place them on the counter on the day of, just be sure and let them come to room temperature first or your frosting will seize up (six hours will do it).

Recipe courtesy of the Auguste Escoffier Culinary Arts School

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