spring break – mango coconut chiffon cake

spring break – mango coconut chiffon cake

Chiffon—a lightweight, sheer fabric with gossamer quality. When used in clothing, it gives an elegant, floating appearance. Chiffon cake, much like the fabric, is airy. It also has the richest of pound cake with the lightness of angel food.

Until the invention of the chiffon version, cakes were conventionally baked with butter or shortening. Chiffon cake uses vegetable oil, which doesn’t solidify at room temperature, so it will not dry out as easily as a traditional butter cake might. The lightness of the cake comes from separated egg whites whipped to steady peaks before folded into the batter.

A Los Angeles insurance agent, Harry Baker, invented the baking method for chiffon cakes in 1927. He tightly guarded his recipe for two decades and only baked them for the Hollywood royalty who frequented the famous Brown Derby Restaurant.

In 1947, he sold the recipe to General Mills so “Betty Crocker can give the secret to the women of America,” Harry said. The following year, General Mills published the recipe in May 1948’s Better Homes & Garden Magazine and it became an instant favorite.

Since vegetable oil doesn’t impart any flavor to the batter, chiffon cake lends itself to creative additional flavoring, such as citrus zest and/or extracts to define the profile.

Since I’m a huge fan of coconut, I experimented to infuse the maximum coconut flavor into the cake. I substituted as much coconut oil as I could for the vegetable oil, while maintaining the character of the cake. I also added coconut milk powder—and instead of coconut extract, which I don’t like, coconut rum. These ingredients proved to be the perfect additions to an otherwise plain cake. Add mango to the equation and you have a light, tender coconut cake with a tropical feel—my kind of Spring Break.


Mango Coconut Chiffon Cake


Coconut Chiffon Cake
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1-1/2 cups (10-1/2 ounces), granulated sugar
  • 1-1/3 cups (5-3/8 ounces) cake flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons coconut rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mango Pureé
  • 3 cups (15 ounces) frozen or fresh mango
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Mango Curd
  • 1/2 teaspoon gelatin powder
  • 2 teaspoons grand marnier
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup mango pureé
  • 6 tablespoons (2-5/8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large egg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, cold
Mango Whipped Cream Frosting
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • Mango puree (remaining amount after making Mango Curd)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Coconut Chiffon Cake
  • Mango Curd
  • Mango Whipped Cream Frosting
  • Coconut flakes for decoration (optional)


Coconut Chiffon Cake

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325℉. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium- high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. With mixer running, slowly add 2 tablespoons sugar and whip until just stiff and glossy, about 1 minute; place in medium bowl.

2. Combine flour, remaining sugar, coconut milk powder, baking powder, and salt to the now empty stand mixer bowl. Whisk water, oil, egg yolks, rum and vanilla in medium bowl until smooth. Pour wet mixture into flour mixture and whisk on medium speed until combined. Remove bowl from stand mixer, using the whisk attachment by hand, whisk one-third whipped egg whites into batter, then gently whisk in remaining whites in 2-3 additions, until just combined. Finish with rubber spatula until no more white streaks in batter. Scrape mixture into 16-cup ungreased removable bottom tube pan.

3. Bake until tooth- pick inserted into center comes out clean and cracks in cake appear dry, 50-55 minutes. Cool, inverted, to room temperature, about 3 hours. Unmold and set aside until ready to assemble. (Cake can be covered in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 2 days.)

Mango Pureé

1. Combine  all ingredients in a blender and pureé until smooth. Pour pureé into a medium sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat until slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

Mango Curd

1. Combine Grand Marnier and 2 teaspoon lemon juice into small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over top. Heat remaining lemon juice, mango puree, sugar, and salt in medium non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and mixture is hot but not boiling. Whisk eggs and yolks in large non-reactive bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot mango mixture into eggs, then return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until mixture is thick enough to leave trail when spatula is scraped along pan bottom, 3-5 minutes.

2. Remove pan from heat and stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Stir in cold butter until fully combined. Pour curd through fine-mesh strainer into non-reactive bowl. Cover surface directly with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours.

Mango Whipped Cream Frosting

1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine cream cheese, sugar, mango puree, vanilla and salt. Whisk mixture on medium speed until smooth and fully combined. Reduce speed to medium-low, slowing pour in heavy cream and whisk for 30 seconds to combine. Increase speed to medium-high and whisk mixture until stiff peak.


1. With serrated knife, divide cake horizontally into three layers.

2. Place bottom layer on cake stand or serving platter, using icing spatula, distribute about 1/4 portion of mango curd evenly on cake. Place middle cake layer on top and distribute another 1/4 portion of mango curd evenly. Place top cake layer on top and spread the remaining mango curd on top. Spread frosting on side of cake and decorate with coconut flakes (if use). Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

cake_mango_chiffon_main_2 cake_mango_chiffon_main_3