How to make mini chiffon cakes

Tropical passion fruit and rich white chocolate combine in these pretty mini chiffon cakes. Chiffon cakes are light alternatives to cupcakes – using whisked egg whites (and a clever trick of cooling the cakes upside down) for an airy texture. Follow our step-by-step recipe for sweet treats that look straight from a bakery window. Don't forget to screen shot the ingredients at the bottom so you have everything you need to get baking.

  1. Grease the tin

    Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C. Use your fingertip to lightly grease the bases of a nonstick 12-hole muffin tin with butter. Do not grease the sides – you want the cakes to stick a little to limit shrinking when cooling.

  2. Prepare the passion fruits

    Cut 3 passion fruits in half, scoop the flesh and seeds into a sieve held over a measuring jug and use the back of a spoon or spatula to push through 40ml juice. Top up with water if you don’t get enough. Discard the seeds.

  3. Whisk the egg mixtures

    Separate 3 eggs. Put the egg yolks, 2 tbsp sunflower oil, ½ tsp vanilla extract, 60g caster sugar, 1/8 tsp salt and the passion fruit juice in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Sift 60g plain flour, 25g white hot chocolate powder and ½ tsp baking powder into the bowl. Whisk until you have a smooth batter.

    In a separate clean, non-plastic bowl, use an electric whisk to beat the egg whites until foamy and frothy. Add 1/8 tsp cream of tartar (see tip, below) and continue to whisk. Once the mix is stiffer and a little glossy, gradually add 1 tbsp caster sugar while still whisking. Continue to whisk to stiff, glossy peaks – this helps give the cakes their light texture.

  4. Fold together

    Gently fold the whisked egg whites into the egg yolk mixture in 3 batches so as not to knock out the air and keep the volume.

  5. Bake

    Gently divide the mix between the muffin tin holes. Bake for 22-25 mins until slightly golden and a cocktail stick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Meanwhile, very lightly brush a cooling rack with a little sunflower oil.

  6. Cool upside down

    Once the cakes are baked, immediately but gently place the cooling rack upside down on top of the muffin tin and invert. Leave the cakes to cool upside-down in the tin on the rack. Cooling the cakes upside down is essential as, if left the right way up, the cake’s domed tops will retract on contact with the colder air and might begin to sink. The rack may mark the tops of the cakes, but this will be covered by the topping.

    Once the cakes are cool, run a very small palette knife around the edge of the cakes to loosen them, then invert to remove. Set aside on a tray lined with nonstick baking paper.

  7. Make the icing

    To make the topping, beat 100g softened butter with an electric hand whisk until light and creamy, then gradually whisk in 200g icing sugar, a few spoonfuls at a time. Whisk in 1 tbsp water, then trickle in 100g melted white chocolate while continuing to whisk. Transfer the mix to a piping bag fitted with a 1cm round nozzle. Pipe small peaks around the top edges of the cakes. When piping, keep the nozzle close to the sponge. Squeeze out a little icing, then push down and draw up sharply to make neat peaks.

  8. Decorate

    Scoop out the flesh and seeds from 3 passion fruits and spoon into the centre of each cake. Decorate the cakes with white chocolate shards – take a bar of white chocolate and carefully drag a sharp knife over the flat side of the bar to create thin shards.

  9. Serve

    Serve as part of an afternoon tea or for a special treat. The decorated chiffon cakes will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.

    RFO 963X613PX White chocolate and passion fruit mini chiffon cakes

  10. Easy swaps

    For a decoration shortcut, you can top the cakes with ready-made vanilla frosting and sprinkle with white chocolate stars rather than making your own icing.

    The cream of tartar is an acid that helps to stabilise the egg white when whisking to create maximum volume. If you can’t get hold of it, you can substitute it with ¼ tsp lemon juice.

     

  11. Ingredients

    We've prepared a simple shopping list so you can easily get all you need to make these pretty chiffon cakes. Be sure to note down the ingredients or take a screenshot before heading to the shops.

    butter, for greasing
    3 passion fruits
    3 eggs, yolks and whites separated
    2 tbsp sunflower oil, plus extra for brushing
    ½ tsp vanilla extract
    60g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp
    1/8 tsp salt
    60g plain flour
    25g white hot chocolate powder
    ½ tsp baking powder
    1/8 tsp cream of tartar

    For the topping
    100g butter, softened
    200g icing sugar, sifted
    100g white chocolate, melted, plus 35g to decorate
    3 passion fruits

    Serves 12