Egg Yolk Is The Single Ingredient That Separates Chiffon Cake From Angel Food

Imagine that two cakes are set on the table. One is chiffon cake, the other is angel food cake. If asked to point out which is which, you might say they're the same. It's only when you slice into them that you may realize angel cake's snowy white crumb or chiffon's pale yellow hue — a difference brought about by egg yolk, which is the distinguishing ingredient found in chiffon cake.

While angel food cake is made with egg whites, chiffon cake includes both egg whites and egg yolks. That explains the gorgeously golden shade of chiffon cake that develops. Egg yolk's yellow taints the batter to a significantly darker shade than angel food cake's. Next to it, the pale tone of angel food cake is explained by the presence of egg whites only.

The absence of egg yolks also results in the differing taste and texture of angel food cake from chiffon. Along with her recipe for orange chiffon cake, Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye said the egg yolks lend a "beautiful texture," one "so light and spongy, it almost feels like eating a cloud." When egg whites alone are beaten to stiff peaks, they incorporate air bubbles to give a fluffy cake texture that tastes incredibly light. Meanwhile, fat from egg yolks imparts a denser and richer feel to chiffon cake. And, although they're both airy, you'll find that angel food cake turns out a somewhat stiffer texture compared to chiffon cake.

Can you interchange chiffon and angel food cake in recipes?

They're both sponge cakes. They're both light and airy. Yet their slight but significant differences lead us to exercise caution when it comes to swapping out chiffon for angel food cake in recipes and vice versa. For the purpose of aesthetics, you may want to utilize angel food cake's bright white color, and you can't do that by using chiffon cake in its place.

In addition, imagine the disappointment when a seasoned palate bites into angel food cake expecting the richness of a chiffon cake. The wide gap between a neutral taste and a flavorful one can't be abridged by a simple explanation. Both cakes may taste good, but you can't get away with swapping out one's flavor for the other.

You may however catch a lucky break with recipes for trifle or pudding. Covered with creamy layers that deliver their own slew of flavors, a chiffon cake may stand in place of angel food cake (or any cake) when featured in trifles. And, the layering nature of puddings ensures that your cake of choice plays less of a taste and texture role compared to its parts. In that case, you're bound to get away with interchanging the two.