Fran’s Old School Recipe: Chiffon Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

I needed to make a cake and I do like the spongy, light quality of a good chiffon cake. Plus, its been a while since I’ve made a recipe from Fran’s collection. This was a tasty cake and not too difficult to make. I made an 8″ layer cake, filled the middle with Jello chocolate pudding, and iced it with a delicious chocolate buttercream by Nick Malgieri. My only complaint; it is quite spongy so when slicing it tends to squish down, cracking the icing and squeezing out some filling. I put mine in the fridge for a while so that it would slice easier. If you let the slice sit for a bit, the icing will get soft again. I like it either way.


1 packet jello pudding, any flavor


Follow directions on packet for pudding.

Chocolate Buttercream Icing (adapted from Nick Malgieri)

  • 4 large egg whites (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • Flavoring


One of the best-tasting buttercreams is also the easiest to prepare. See the end of the recipe for flavoring possibilities.

Place egg whites, sugar and salt in medium-sized heatproof mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk gently and constantly until egg whites are hot (about 140 degrees) and sugar is dissolved, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whip by machine until thick and cooled, about 5 minutes. Beat in butter and continue beating until buttercream is smooth and spreadable. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, for up to 5 days. Before using, bring buttercream to room temperature and beat smooth by machine. Beat in flavoring, a little at a time, and continue beating until buttercream is smooth, about 2 minutes longer (always flavor buttercream immediately before using it).

Flavorings: Liqueur: 2 to 3 tablespoons liqueur, such as Grand Marnier or dark or light rum. Lemon: 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice. Coffee: 3 tablespoons instant coffee (espresso, if possible) dissolved in 2 tablespoons water, coffee or rum. Raspberry: 3/4 cup thick raspberry puree made by cooking down and straining a 10-ounce package of frozen raspberries. Chocolate: 6 ounces chocolate melted with 4 tablespoons water, coffee or milk and cooled.

Putting it all together

After your layers have thoroughly cooled, place one layer on a plate. Top with pudding almost to edges, spread evenly. Top with second cake layer. Start at center of cake with a heaping pile of icing. Start spreading to edges, trying to keep everything even, then begin to ice sides with excess icing. Smooth it all around or ice it rough to look more old-fashioned and homemade. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it’ll still taste good I promise you. You may not use all the icing. I certainly did not. Save it in the fridge for cupcakes or a late night snack.


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