What Is The Difference Between Chiffon Cakes And Sponge Cakes?

Both are super fluffy cakes!

IMAGE Keith Sigua

Not all sponge cakes are chiffon cakes but a chiffon cake is a sponge cake.

Confused? Not to worry! If you ever wondered why these two are different, you have to take a look at the ingredients. 

A true sponge cake is one of the more basic cakes you can make. Sponge cakes are made with just eggs, sugar, and flour. Three ingredients and it can rival any cake that is just as fluffy and airy but used more ingredients. 

How can a sponge cake be made with only three ingredients? 

The secret to the best sponge cake is how you treat and use the eggs. Before the common use of chemical leaveners in baking, there was the egg.

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Eggs are one of the basic ingredients in any cake recipe. It's the eggs that provide the lift and rise of these cakes. It's what makes these baked goods so light and fluffy without using yeast which was used to make bread rise. However, yeast-risen cakes are very different compared to egg-leavened cakes. The cakes made with eggs were lighter, more tender, and yielded cakes that did not have the yeasty flavor that bread has.  

For eggs to give the sponge cake its lift, eggs were commonly whisked with sugar until lightened and super fluffy or separated so the egg whites could be whipped to stiff peaks before being folded into the main batter and baked. For the sponge cake, the sugar provided moisture and sweetness, the flour provided the structure, and the eggs acted as a binder and when whipped until fluffy, gave sufficient lift for the cake to rise.  

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Two ingredients make chiffon cakes different from sponge cakes: baking powder and oil or butter. 

Chiffon cake recipes take the basic sponge recipe and make it taste richer and more stable because of these additional ingredients. The baking powder provided the extra height and rise while the added oil or butter created a richer, more moist cake that could stand up to being topped and frosted. 

While both rely on the eggs as an ingredient to make super tall and fluffy cakes, the chemical leavener makes a big difference between a recipe for basic chiffon cake and a basic sponge cake since the added oil or butter in chiffon cakes can weigh it down. The baking powder made sure that there was no such failure.   

Now that you know how these two cakes are different, try the classic sponge cake the Bizcochos Borrachos or any of these Pinoy-style chiffon cake recipes: the taisan in cupcake form, the taisan with cheese, the inpit from Bulacan, or the classic mamon.  

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Thinking about what to cook next? Join our Facebook group, Yummy Pinoy Cooking Club, to get more recipe ideas, share your own dishes, and find out what the rest of the community are making and eating!

Got your own version of the classic dishes? Pa-share naman! Get your recipe published on Yummy.ph by submitting your recipe here!


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