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Burnt-Sugar Chiffon Cake

This tall, chiffon cake is a favorite when I take it to senior luncheons and church functions. The rich frosting complements every tender slice.—Mrs. LaVaughn Fisher, Kingfisher, Oklahoma
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 45 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • CAKE:
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 7)
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 3 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • In a small heavy skillet, heat sugar until golden brown. Gradually add water; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside. Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Position oven rack to lowest position. Preheat oven to 325°.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk egg yolks, oil, water, vanilla and 6 tablespoons reserved syrup. Add to dry ingredients; beat until well blended. In another bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.
  • Gently spoon into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake on the lowest oven rack 45-50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan; cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • Run a knife around side and center tube of pan. Remove cake to a serving plate.
  • For frosting, in a small saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour and salt until smooth; gradually add remaining syrup mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened. Transfer to a small bowl; beat in the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, beat remaining butter until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar mixture. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake.
To Make Ahead: Cake can be made the day before serving. Wrap unfrosted cake tightly and store at room temperature. The remaining caramelized sugar syrup for the frosting can be covered and stored at room temperature overnight.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 589 calories, 21g fat (7g saturated fat), 111mg cholesterol, 503mg sodium, 96g carbohydrate (71g sugars, 0 fiber), 6g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • ilka896
    Mar 30, 2012

    This cake has almost no taste except for eggs. I really did not like it and would not make it again. Frosting also tasted like butter than anything else.

  • Pleo
    Mar 11, 2012

    This was a horrible cake. There is no taste, the frosting was way too soft. I have my grandmothers burnt sugar cake recipe which is far superior to this one. This recipe went in the garbage. The cake and frosting will soon follow.

  • Pleo
    Mar 11, 2012

    This was a terrible recipe. There is little flavor to the cake, and the frosting was way too soft. My grandmother had a burnt sugar cake recipe that is far superior to this one. This recipe and cake and frosting went in the garbage. I will stick with my grandmothers recipe!

  • wolfmommy
    Mar 11, 2012

    Made this yesterday. It wasn't as difficult as I thought it was going to be to make. The cake is incredible. The frosting was very thin and too sweet, even for me. So I added some cream I whipped up. It gave the icing some substance for spreading and took away a little bit of the sweet without changing the incredibly wonderful taste. Excellent recipe.

  • NanciJam
    Mar 9, 2012


    Mar 8, 2012


  • sandythielen
    Mar 8, 2012

    Some days I enjoy baking when it is a little more involved. This is one of those recipes. I don't like to ever substitute or change a recipe until I've made it once and can rate it as written. However, I was out of cake flour and substituted all purpose flour using directions I found on line. (remove 2 T flour for each cup). I think it came out great. I like the texture of a homemade sponge cake, and agree berries would taste yummy on it. It was a little too much frosting for me, but I can hardly consider that a "problem". Frankly, the reason I made this cake so quickly was because of the comments written before people even made it.

  • khristi11
    Mar 8, 2012

    Delightfully light and airy cake.I added a tart lemon frosting and it was FABULOUS! Make it soon!

  • joyousdeeous
    Mar 8, 2012

     IT's A GREAT RECIPE!!!!!

  • mpcbaker
    Mar 8, 2012

    This is a very light and flavorful sponge cake.It is beautiful to look at too! I would much rather slice it and put strawberries and whipped cream in between the layers!