Pineapple chiffon cake

Pineapple chiffon cake

7000 Islands
Jana Liebenstein

I’m reminded of a time capsule when I peer into the glass cabinets of Filipino bakeshops. Inside are cakes from a bygone era, including towering chiffon dressed in Sunday bests of buttercream or boiled frosting. My mother recalls the awe they inspired when she was a child. I find them equally impressive.

Pineapple juice adds a tropical twist to this light-as-air chiffon and its buttery icing. The cake’s height and moist texture is achieved in part by using an ungreased pan and inverting the just-baked cake to trap in air, so don’t be tempted to dig in too early.


Quantity Ingredient
300g plain flour
330g caster sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt, plus a pinch extra
7 eggs, separated
125ml vegetable oil
190ml pineapple juice
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
dried pineapple, roughly chopped, to serve (optional)

Pineapple buttercream

Quantity Ingredient
125g unsalted butter, softened
375g icing sugar, sifted
100ml pineapple juice


  1. Adjust the oven shelf to its lowest position, then preheat the oven to 160ºC.
  2. Sift the flour, 165 g of the sugar, the baking powder and salt into a bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks, vegetable oil and pineapple juice in a separate mixing bowl to combine. Add the flour mixture and whisk until the batter is smooth.
  3. Still using the electric mixer, in a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 165 g sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and whisk until stiff and glossy.
  4. Using a spatula, fold one-third of the egg white mixture into the cake batter to lighten, then fold in the remaining mixture, gently but thoroughly, until combined. Pour into an un-greased 21 cm Angel cake tin, level with a spoon, then bake for 50–60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (loosely cover the top with baking paper to prevent over-browning if necessary). Immediately invert the cake tin (this traps the air; don’t worry, it won’t fall out) and place central tube over an up-turned funnel or full wine bottle (some tins have feet to keep them elevated). Leave the cake inverted until it cools completely.
  5. Meanwhile, to make the pineapple buttercream, use an electric mixer to beat the butter until smooth, then gradually beat in the icing sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the pineapple juice, a tablespoon at a time, and beat until combined.
  6. Turn the cake tin right side up. Run a long thin knife around the edges of the tin to release the cake, then invert the cake onto a platter.
  7. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the top and side of the cake, then refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm slightly. Spread the remaining buttercream over the top and side of the cake over the first layer. Arrange the dried pineapple on top of the cake, if using, to serve.

Where does it come from?

  • Chiffon cake arrived in the Philippines with the Americans in the early 20th century; it has remained a firm favourite. Today, plain chiffons are considered an everyday treat, while decadent iced and layered varieties are reserved for special occasions. Flavours run the gamut from vanilla, strawberry and chocolate to mocha, native fruits and even queso de bola (edam cheese).
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