What caused my chiffon cake to collapse/fall after taken out of oven?

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Senior Cook
Feb 9, 2009
My chiffon cake rose ok for the first 5-10 minutes. Then, it stopped rising.

After I took it out from the oven, I turned it upside down on a rack to cool down in the tube.

When it's cool, the entire cake dropped itself on to the rack. It shrank entirely; i guess why it lost its grip and drop down.

It's deflated at least 2/3 from the height it rose.

I think there are few reasons why, but Im not sure. Thus, I would like to have your input.
1. I replaced the water with coconut cream, for I liked the coconut flavor with lemon.
2. If I had used water instead, the yolk batter would be thinner in comparison with the white meringue. However, coconut cream was so thick and lack of enough water. The consistency was not right.
3. Due to the extra fat added from the coconut cream, it might be too oily for the cake to rise properly.
4. I think because this recipe calls for flour than most chiffon cake recipes, baking power was used in the recipe. Nevenerthelss, I did not use, for most chiffon cakes do not incoorperate baking power.

Here is the original recipe:
  • 60ml Water (¼ cup)
  • 60ml Lemon juice (¼ cup)
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 6 Large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 38g Caster sugar (I) (3 tbsp)
  • 80ml Vegetable oil (⅓ cup)
  • 150g Cake flour (1 ½ cup)
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 6 Large egg whites
  • 90g Caster sugar (II) (⅓ cup 2 tbsp)

  • Preheat the oven to 160C/320F and prepare an ungreased 8-inch aluminum chiffon cake tin with a removable base
    In a medium-sized bowl combine the water, lemon juice, lemon zest, egg yolks, vanilla extract, caster sugar (I) and vegetable oil, whisk to combine
    Sift in the flour and baking powder and whisk until just combined
    Add the egg whites to a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and whisk until foamy
    Add the caster sugar (II) and whisk on medium speed until stiff peaks
    Add ⅓ of the meringue to the egg yolks and whisk until just combined
    Transfer the lightened egg yolk mixture to the remaining egg whites and gently fold until just combined
    Gently transfer the batter to the prepared cake tin and give the tin a few taps to remove any large air bubbles
    Bake for 45 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 140C/285F and bake for 15 minutes or until an inserted skewer emerges clean
    Remove from the oven and invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely
    Once completely cooled run a thin knife around the sides and base of the cake to unmould

    Please advice, thanks.

no experience with that cake style, but in general with whipped eggs (ala souffle) - if under baked, they collapse like a soaked tissue when cooling.

whipped egg whites need the temp and a bit of time to "set" and support the structure of the 'thing'
Yeah, hard to say but I suspect there could be a couple of problems with this particular recipe.

1) coconut cream has a lot of fat and an adjustment to the overall fat content of the recipe would probably be needed. As well it would make the cake dense and heavy. Probably thinning out the coconut cream with water might make it more suitable

2) The total amount of sugar is low, very low actually and sugar in this cake is crucial and the sugar forms a protection around the air bubbles for stability and if not enough sugar is used then the cake is susceptible to deflating during cooking and cooling plus the sugar attracts water which helps tenderize and moisten the cake. it also promotes a golden crust.

Basically too much oil and not enough sugar. also if you greased the sides of the pan that effectively stops the cake from rising very well and don't use a non stick pan, we want a chiffon cake to cling to the sides as it helps creep up the sides. This is just a guess from my experience with these types of batter.

EDIT: I just reread and you didn't use the baking powder in the recipe because you thought chiffon cakes don't normally use it so you left it out. I don't think I've ever seen one without baking powder. Baking powder helps a cake rise and without it it makes the cake dense and heavy as well as not rising properly.
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I have never made a chiffon cake, but I have baked sponge cake quite a few times. The baking powder in sponge cake is optional. But, the only fat in sponge cake comes from the egg yolks. The part about not greasing the pan is very important. I can't imagine that a cake that includes vegetable oil wouldn't need some sort of chemical leavening, like baking powder.
On a different but similar note about greased sides preventing things from climbing, is this why (for souffles) you always grease and sugar the sides of the ramekin, so it has a gritty structure to cling to as it rises?
On a different but similar note about greased sides preventing things from climbing, is this why (for souffles) you always grease and sugar the sides of the ramekin, so it has a gritty structure to cling to as it rises?

You use something like finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano for savory souffles.
My understanding is, you should always let it cool while hanging upside down. That is why standard tube pans have those little legs on the sides.


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