Coffee Chiffon Cake with the Perfect Coffee Buttercream Frosting

26 comments All Recipes, Cake Recipes, Light Bites
Making this soft, moist and ultra fluffy coffee chiffon cake couldn’t be easier! And for a bold dose of coffee flavour, I’ve got the perfect coffee buttercream frosting to turn this cake into an extra special dessert! 
Coffee Chiffon Cake with the Perfect  Coffee Buttercream Frosting

Finally, my coffee chiffon cake update is here! I’ve made a few minor recipe enhancements that promises a moist, tender and fluffy coffee chiffon cake loaded with coffee flavour.

But if you’re a true-blue coffee addict like myself and love a cake with a deeper coffee taste, I’ve included an ingredient (or two) in this update that will do just that!

Even better, to bring this coffee chiffon cake over the top, I’ve got the perfect, extra creamy and silky smooth coffee buttercream frosting you won’t be able to resist.

I guarantee you’re going to love this coffee frosting the moment you taste it! It’s so light and fluffy, it literally melts in your mouth! And I love that it’s not too sweet!

Swiss meringue buttercreams are my favourite buttercreams to make for any kind of flavoured frosting including this coffee buttercream.

If you find the standard buttercreams just a bit too sweet for your taste and heavy on the palette, this is where a Swiss meringue buttercream couldn’t be more different!

This coffee buttercream frosting is light and fluffy, ultra smooth and glossy. Don’t let the words ‘Swiss meringue’ scare you! It’s really easy to make, and I’m going to show you how below!

Swiss meringue coffee buttercream frosting for coffee chiffon cake

Now, if you’re not too fond of buttercreams, you can also make my easy, mix-and-stir coffee glaze.

And it goes without saying that you can always enjoy coffee chiffon cake plain, or dusted with a bit of confectioner’s sugar. A light touch goes a long way too!

I’m excited to get going, and I promise you that this is one easy and delicious cake dessert to make any time!

Coffee chiffon cake, cooling on a wire rack

Ingredients for coffee chiffon cake

For the cake batter

  • egg yolks
  • caster sugar
  • instant coffee granules dissolved in hot water to make coffee solution
  • vanilla extract (or use coffee extract for deeper flavour)
  • coffee paste or coffee emulco for deeper flavour (optional)
  • milk or water
  • oil
  • cake flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda

For the meringue

  • egg whites
  • caster sugar
  • cream of tartar
Ingredients for coffee chiffon cake

For the coffee buttercream

  • egg whites
  • caster sugar
  • unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • instant coffee granules dissolved in hot water to make coffee solution
Ingredients for Swiss meringue coffee buttercream frosting

Step-by-step: How to make coffee chiffon cake

Chiffon cakes have two parts to making the batter.

The first part is a thick egg yolk batter made with egg yolks, liquids (water / milk / juices / extracts), sugars, oil, flour and leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda, or both.

The second part is the meringue, which is a stiffly beaten mixture of egg whites and sugar, and typically stabilised with cream of tartar, lemon juice or vinegar.

Part 1: Make the batter

  • Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar.
  • Step 2: Whisk until the yolks turns thick and fluffy and the sugars have dissolved, about 3 to 5 minutes. You can do this by hand, or use a hand-held electric beater or stand mixer.
  • Step 3: Stir in the coffee solution, coffee or vanilla extract, coffee paste (optional), milk and oil, and mix until well combined.
  • Step 4: Add the sifted flour mixture in 2 additions. Stir with a whisk until all the flour is incorporated.
  • Step 5: The batter at this point should be thick and smooth, and free of lumps.

Part 2: Make the meringue

  • Step 1: In a dry and grease-free mixer bowl, add egg whites and sprinkle cream of tartar over it. Whip on medium speed (speed 4 on my Kitchen Aid) until it starts to turn frothy.
  • Step 2: Without stopping the mixer, add the sugar in small portions.
  • Step 3: When the meringue is near to stiff peaks, it should look fine, smooth and glossy. The whisk will leave trail lines in the meringue as it turns.
  • Step 4: Lift the whisk. When the meringue holds a firm shape and curls just a bit at the tip like a little hook, it is at the ideal stiffness. Just to be sure, gently tip your bowl over to invert it. Should the meringue shift or slide a bit, it’s not stiff enough yet. If it stays fixed to the bowl in an inverted position, it’s stiff.

Final steps: Folding the meringue, filling the pan, baking and cooling

The most important aspect of folding the meringue into the batter is to mix with a light and quick, but gentle hand.

Even a perfectly whipped meringue can’t compensate for an over worked batter, as it will lose its volume and start to deflate. Get this right, and you’re almost guaranteed an airy and fluffy chiffon cake!

  • Steps 1 & 2: Fold in ⅓ of the meringue into the batter, very gently using a whisk. This is what it means to ‘lighten the batter“. To incorporate well, fold until the meringue is no longer visible and the batter looks homogeneous.
  • Steps 3 & 4: Fold in the next ⅓ of the meringue. This time, you need to use a light but quick and gentle hand so as not to break the air bubbles.
  • Steps 5 & 6: Fold in the remaining ⅓ meringue. Again, keep it light and quick so that you don’t lose those air bubbles! Make sure to fold until no streaks of meringue can be seen. The final batter should be light and smooth, without any visible streaks of meringue.
  • Step 7: Gently pour the batter into the tube pan from one position, letting the batter spread to fill the pan. Level the surface with an offset spatula. Run a bamboo skewer or chopstick through the batter. Then give the pan a few gentle taps on the counter to minimise air pockets in the batter. Bake on the lowest rack in the preheated oven at 165°C (329°F) for anywhere between 50 to 55 minutes, or until just done.
  • Step 8: Immediately invert the pan once it is removed from the oven. Allow it to ‘hang’ until completely cooled. To remove, run an offset spatula gently around the sides of the pan. Invert the cake to free it from the sides of the pan. Then run the spatula around the base to release the funnel.

Step-by-step: How to make coffee buttercream

  • In a small heatproof bowl, combine egg whites and sugar and whisk to mix well. Place the bowl over a saucepan or pot filled with 1 -2 inches of simmering water. The base of the bowl should sit above the water level.
  • Keep stirring with the whisk until all the sugar dissolves, and no longer feels grainy between your fingers. Or keep stirring until the temperature reaches 71°C (160°F).
  • Transfer to a stand mixer bowl, and whip on medium-high speed until the meringue is stiff and no longer warm to the touch, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Add butter cubes, 2 to 3 pieces at a time. As you add the butter, the mixture will start to curdle and look awful. Your instinct will tell you that something’s going wrong! But don’t panic, keep adding the butter and keep beating! After adding all the butter, keep whipping until the buttercream becomes smooth and fluffy.
  • Pour in the coffee solution, and whip for a few seconds until well incorporated.

Important! The butter needs to be cool and just softened at room temperature, but not warm. If the buttercream just isn’t firming up after a few minutes of whipping, the butter could have been too warm.

Pop it into the chiller for 5 minutes, then rewhip with a whisk on medium-high speed until it becomes silky smooth and fluffy.

If not using immediately, the buttercream can be transferred to a bowl. Cover tightly with cling wrap and store, chilled, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Have it out at room temperature until it is soft enough to be re-whipped. When ready to frost the cake, whip the softened buttercream until it is smooth, light and fluffy again.

A slice of coffee chiffon cake served on a plate

Tips on coffee flavouring

  • Use a strong coffee solution made with instant coffee or espresso granules. If you wish to intensify the flavour by making a much more concentrated coffee solution, add 2 – 2½ tbsp instant coffee or espresso granules dissolved in 1 tbsp water.  
  • Add coffee paste or coffee emulco to achieve a more intense coffee flavour. Do note that coffee paste darkens the cake considerably.  If you choose not to use coffee paste, you could make a stronger coffee solution with an additional tablespoon of instant coffee or espresso granules.
  • Use coffee extract in place of, or in addition to vanilla extract.
  • Remember to offset the bitterness of added coffee flavourings with a bit more sugar, if you’re adding more coffee granules or coffee paste than stated in the recipe.

The above are not mutually exclusive, which means that if you’d like to add coffee extract, as well as coffee paste in addition to a concentrated coffee solution, feel free to!

Tips for getting the perfect chiffon texture

1. Use the right pan

Chiffon cakes are best baked in a chiffon tube pan without non-stick coating. Do not grease the pan.

2. Use the appropriate pan size

In order for the cake to rise straight and tall, use the appropriate sized pan. When the pan is filled with batter, it should not be more than ¾ full.

3. Have ingredients at room temperature, including eggs

Cold egg whites do not whip up as well, so it won’t trap as much air as egg whites at room temperature.

4. Whip meringue to ideal stiffness

The ideal stiff peak stage is somewhere between medium and firm stiffness. How do we recognise that? When you lift some meringue with the whisk (flick away excess), it should hold a firm shape from the base towards the tip, and droop over just a bit. Basically, it looks a bit like a small hook at the tip.

Just to be sure, gently tip your bowl over to invert it. Should the meringue shift or slide a bit, it’s not stiff enough yet. If it stays fixed to the bowl in an inverted position, it’s stiff.

5. Sift powdered ingredients together

This will give you a smoother and finer cake crumb and enable the cake to rise evenly and uniformly.

6. Do all your mixing, stirring and folding with a whisk

The meringue will incorporate more easily and thoroughly, with minimal loss of volume due to the inherent shape and structure of the whisk. It also helps reduce or eliminate air pockets in the batter.

7. Invert the chiffon pan immediately when done with baking

Once removed from the oven, immediately invert the pan over a bottle neck once it is removed from the oven. Or if you have tube pan with ‘feet’, invert the pan over a cooling rack. Allow it to ‘hang’ in this position until completely cooled.

Tucking into a slice of coffee chiffon cake

Hope you’ll love this! Enjoy! – ♥ Celia

More chiffon cake recipes you’ll love:

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Coffee chiffon cake Pinterest
Coffee Chiffon Cake with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

Coffee Chiffon Cake with Coffee Buttercream Frosting

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Baking this soft, moist and ultra fluffy coffee chiffon cake couldn't be easier! And for the ultimate coffee dessert, top with a delicious coffee buttercream frosting to bring this cake to a whole new level!

Ingredients

  • 150 g cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 85 g oil
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee or espresso granules dissolve in 1 tbsp hot water
  • 120 ml milk or water
  • ½ - 1 tbsp coffee paste (optional)
  • 1½ tsp vanilla extract

For the meringue

  • 5 egg whites
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • 120 g caster sugar

For the coffee buttercream

  • 3 egg whites
  • 200 g sugar
  • 225 g unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, softened
  • 3 tbsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water, cooled

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 165°C (329°F). Position an oven rack to the lowest in the oven. Ready a 20-cm (8-inch) chiffon tube pan. DO NOT GREASE.
  2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl. 
  3. In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the coffee solution, vanilla (or coffee) extract, coffee paste (optional), milk and oil, and mix until well combined.
  5. Add the sifted flour mixture in 2 additions. Stir with a whisk until all the flour is incorporated and no streaks of flour are visible. The mixture should be thick, smooth and free of lumps.


Make the meringue:

  1. Fit an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. In a dry, grease-free mixer bowl, pour in egg whites and sprinkle cream of tartar over.
  2. Whisk on medium speed (speed 4 on my Kitchen Aid). When the egg whites become frothy, add sugar bit by bit in a steady stream. Whip until stiff peaks form. This may take 5 to 7 minutes, depending on your mixer and speed.


Folding the meringue into the batter:

  1. Add ⅓ of meringue (whipped egg whites with sugar) to the egg yolk-coffee mixture. Fold in gently with a whisk until well incorporated.
  2. Add another ⅓ of the meringue and again, fold in gently. Add the remaining meringue and fold in gently. The final batter should feel light, and have no visible streaks of meringue.
  3. Pour into the chiffon tube pan from one place, and let the batter spread to fill the pan. Run a bamboo skewer gently through the batter. Smooth and level the surface with an offset spatula. Give the pan a few taps on the counter top to minimize air bubbles.


Baking and cooling:

  1. Bake on the lowest rack in the oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until done. DO NOT open the oven door. Only do so about 5 minutes before the end of baking, to test if done. The cake is done when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Note: A bit of cracking on the surface of the cake as it bakes is perfectly alright!
  2. Immediately invert the pan once it is removed from the oven. Allow it to 'hang' until completely cooled.
  3. To remove, run an offset spatula gently around the sides of the pan. Invert the cake to free it from the sides of the pan. Then run the spatula around the base to release the funnel.
  4. Allow the cake to cool completely. Cover the sides and top of the cake with buttercream, and smoothen. Pipe rosettes as desired. Dust with sifted cocoa powder (optional).


Make the coffee buttercream:

  1. In a small heatproof bowl, combine egg whites and sugar and whisk to mix well. Place the bowl over a saucepan or pot filled with 1 -2 inches of simmering water. Make sure the base of the bowl sits above the water level.
  2. Keep stirring with the whisk until all the sugar dissolves, and no longer feels grainy between your fingers. Or keep stirring until the temperature reaches 71°C (160°F).
  3. Transfer to a stand mixer bowl, and whip on medium-high speed until the meringue is stiff and no longer warm to the touch, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add butter cubes, 2 to 3 pieces at a time. As you add the butter, the mixture will start to curdle and look awful. Keep adding the the butter and keep beating! After incorporating all the butter, keep whipping until the buttercream becomes smooth and fluffy.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Pour in the coffee solution and whip until well mixed. Set aside in a cool, dry place.
  6. Once the cake is cool, frost as desired.

Notes

Tips for baking chiffon cake

1. USE THE RIGHT PAN

Chiffon cakes are best baked in a chiffon tube pan without non-stick coating. Do not grease the pan.

2. USE THE APPROPRIATE PAN SIZE

In order for the cake to rise straight and tall, use the appropriate sized pan. When the pan is filled with batter, it should not be more than 3/4 full.

3. HAVE INGREDIENTS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE, INCLUDING EGGS

Cold egg whites do not whip up as well, so it won’t trap as much air as egg whites at room temperature. When blooming cocoa, remember to allow it cool to room temperature before incorporating it into the rest of the batter.

4. WHIP MERINGUE TO THE IDEAL STIFFNESS

5. SIFT POWDERED INGREDIENTS TOGETHER

This will give you a smoother and finer cake crumb and enable the cake to rise evenly and uniformly.

6. DO ALL YOUR MIXING, STIRRING AND FOLDING WITH A WHISK

The meringue will incorporate more easily and thoroughly, with minimal loss of volume due to the inherent shape and structure of the whisk. It also helps reduce or eliminate air pockets in the batter.

7. INVERT THE CHIFFON PAN ONCE OUT OF THE OVEN

Once removed from the oven, immediately invert the pan over a bottle neck once it is removed from the oven. Or if you have tube pan with ‘feet’, invert the pan over a cooling rack. Allow it to ‘hang’ in this position until completely cooled.

Tips for making buttercream

  • The butter needs to be cool and just softened at room temperature, but not warm. If the buttercream just isn't firming up after a few minutes of whipping, the butter could have been too warm.
  • Pop it into the chiller for 5 minutes, then rewhip with a whip on medium-high speed until it becomes silky smooth and fluffy.
  • If not using immediately, the buttercream can be transferred to a bowl. Cover tightly with cling wrap and store, chilled, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Have it out at room temperature until it is soft enough to be re-whipped. When ready to frost the cake, whip the softened buttercream until it is smooth, light and fluffy again.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 414Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 254mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 0gSugar: 33gProtein: 5g

All nutritional values are approximate only.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see! Remember to share your pics on Instagram and tag @foodelicacy or #foodelicacy.

26 Comments

  1. Hi Sylvia, you’ll need a 3-eggs recipe for a 7-inch chiffon pan. Here are the adjusted amounts. For the batter: 90 g cake flour; 1¼ tsp baking powder; pinch of salt; 3 egg yolks; 45 g caster sugar; 50 g oil; 1 tbsp + 1 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tsp hot water; 70 ml milk or water; 2 tsp coffee paste/emulco; 1 tsp vanilla extract. For the meringue: 3 egg whites; ¼ tsp cream of tartar; 75 g caster sugar. Baking time should be about 45 – 50 mins at the same temperature, as it will vary a bit from oven to oven. It’s safer to err on slightly over-baking than under-baking. Would love to know if this works out for you!

  2. Hi Celia, do you have the measurements and baking time for a 7 inch chiffon pan? Thank you 🙂

  3. Hi Sherlyn, that’s awesome to hear! So happy this recipe worked out so well for you. You could, in principle, bake in a round pan provided it’s not non-stick. The cake will rise but unlike the chiffon pan, it doesn’t have anything in the centre to cling to, to hold it’s structure once out of the oven. So it will deflate and end up more like a sponge cake, but still tender and delicious. The best way is to divide and bake the batter into 2 pans, for a layer cake. Hope this helps!

  4. Hello! I have tried this chiffon recipe twice and love how moist the cake turned out even after reducing the sugar by 20%. I was wondering it it’s possible to bake this cake using a round tin instead of a tube pan? Just so it’s easier to frost and slice. Thank you!

  5. Hi Christine, I’m sorry but I’ve updated the recipe. I actually feel this one works out even better, in my humble opinion. It’s actually very close to the previous one, just an up-size using 5 eggs instead of 3½ eggs for readers’ convenience, and some minor tweaks. The amounts should be as follows: For the batter:105 g cake flour; 1½ tsp baking powder; ⅛ tsp baking soda; ¼ tsp salt; 3½ egg yolks; 55 g sugar; 60 g oil; 1 – 1½ tbsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tsps hot water; 85 ml milk or water; ½ – 1 tbsp coffee emulco (optional); 1 tsp vanilla extract. For the meringue: 3½ egg whites; ¼ tsp cream of tartar; 85 g sugar. Hope it works out just as well for you, Christine. I’d love to know!

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