Espresso Chiffon Cake Recipe: A Light and Flavorful Treat

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Chiffon cakes are known for their light, airy texture and rich flavor.

Made with simple ingredients, these cakes balance fluffiness with a moist, tender crumb.

The espresso chiffon cake takes this classic to new heights by infusing it with a robust coffee flavor.

Perfect for coffee lovers, this cake brings a delightful caffeine kick.

Whether for birthdays, holidays, or casual get-togethers, its unique taste and elegant presentation make it a versatile dessert for any occasion.

Check out our recipe and discover why the espresso chiffon cake is a favorite among dessert enthusiasts.

How To Make Espresso Chiffon Cake: At A Glance

  1. Prepare the Cake
  2. Make the Chocolate Ganache Buttercream
  3. Make the Salted Caramel
  4. Assemble
  5. Enjoy!


For the Cake

  • 7 large eggs, separated: You’ll need to separate the eggs, using the yolks for richness and the whites for fluffiness.
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract: Adds a sweet, fragrant flavor that complements the espresso.
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt: Enhances the overall taste by balancing sweetness.
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar: Provides the necessary sweetness and helps stabilize the egg whites when whipped.
  • 2 tsp baking powder: Ensures the cake rises properly, giving it a light, airy texture.
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (e.g., vegetable or canola oil): Keeps the cake moist without adding extra flavors.
  • 2/3 cup strong brewed espresso: Infuses the cake with a robust coffee flavor, perfect for coffee enthusiasts.
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour: The base of the cake, providing structure and body.

For the Chocolate Ganache Buttercream

  • 8 oz dark chocolate, chopped: Gives the buttercream a deep, rich chocolate flavor.
  • 1 cup heavy cream: Adds smoothness and richness to the ganache.
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar: Sweetens the ganache and helps it achieve the right consistency.
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature: Adds creaminess and helps to bind the ganache, making it easy to spread.

For the Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup granulated sugar: Caramelizes to create the base of the caramel sauce.
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream: Adds a creamy texture to the caramel.
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter: Gives the caramel a rich, buttery flavor.
  • 1 tsp kosher salt: Balances the sweetness and enhances the caramel’s depth of flavor.


Preparing the Cake

1. Preheat Oven

Start by preheating your oven to 325°F.

This ensures that your oven is at the right temperature when you’re ready to bake, which is crucial for the cake to rise properly.

2. Mix Dry Ingredients

In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and half of the granulated sugar.

Give these ingredients a quick whisk to make sure they are well-mixed.

3. Mix Wet Ingredients

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, neutral oil, strong brewed espresso, and vanilla extract.

Make sure the mixture is smooth and well-blended.

4. Prepare Meringue

In a clean mixing bowl, whip the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar.

Gradually add the remaining granulated sugar while whipping.

Continue to whip until medium peaks form.

The meringue should be smooth, glossy, and able to hold its shape with a slight curl at the tip.

5. Combine Mixtures

Gently fold the meringue into the egg yolk mixture.

It’s important to do this gently to maintain the airy texture of the batter.

Add the meringue in small batches, folding until no streaks remain.

6. Bake

Pour the batter into ungreased tube pans.

This helps the cake cling to the sides as it rises, giving it more height.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Once baked, invert the pans and let the cakes cool upside down.

This prevents the cake from collapsing and keeps it light and fluffy.

Making the Chocolate Ganache Buttercream

1. Melt Chocolate

Place the chopped dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water (double boiler).

Stir occasionally until completely melted.

2. Heat Cream and Sugar

In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream and granulated sugar over medium heat until the sugar is fully dissolved and the mixture is hot but not boiling.

3. Combine

Pour the hot cream mixture over the melted chocolate.

Stir until smooth and fully combined.

Gradually add the room-temperature butter, a few tablespoons at a time, whisking until the butter is fully incorporated and the ganache is smooth.

Let the ganache cool and thicken before using.

Making the Salted Caramel

1. Cook Sugar

In a saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with a small amount of water to help it dissolve evenly.

Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until the sugar turns a deep amber color.

2. Add Cream

Carefully whisk in the warm heavy cream.

The mixture will bubble up, so add the cream slowly.

Continue to cook for an additional minute to ensure everything is well combined.

3. Finish

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the unsalted butter and kosher salt.

Stir until the butter is completely melted and the caramel is smooth.

Let it cool completely before using.


1. Layer the Cake

Once your cakes have completely cooled, it’s time to slice them.

Use a long serrated knife to carefully cut each cake horizontally into even layers.

This will give you more layers to work with, enhancing both the look and the taste of your cake.

2. Apply Ganache

Take your prepared chocolate ganache buttercream and spread a generous amount between each cake layer.

Use an offset spatula for smooth, even application.

Make sure each layer is well covered to ensure a rich, chocolatey flavor in every bite.

3. Top with Caramel

Finish by drizzling the cooled salted caramel over the top layer of the cake.

Let it ooze down the sides for a beautiful, decadent effect.

The caramel adds a delicious sweet-salty contrast that pairs perfectly with the rich chocolate ganache and the light, coffee-flavored cake.

Tips for the Perfect Chiffon Cake

Use Room Temperature Ingredients

Make sure all your ingredients, especially eggs, are at room temperature before you start baking.

Cold ingredients can cause the batter to curdle or not mix well, which affects the cake’s texture.

Room temperature ingredients blend more easily, resulting in a smoother, more consistent batter.

Proper Folding Technique

When combining the meringue with the egg yolk mixture, be gentle.

Use a spatula to fold the meringue into the batter in small batches.

This helps maintain the airiness and fluffiness of the meringue.

Vigorous mixing can deflate the meringue, leading to a denser cake.

The goal is to keep as much air in the batter as possible for a light, airy texture.

Cooling Upside Down

After baking, cool the cake upside down.

This technique prevents the cake from collapsing as it cools.

Use a cooling rack or the neck of a bottle to support the cake pan.

Letting the cake hang upside down ensures it retains its height and fluffy structure.

This step is crucial for achieving the perfect chiffon cake texture.


Cappuccino Chiffon Cake

For a delightful twist, transform your espresso chiffon cake into a cappuccino chiffon cake.

Add a layer of whipped cream frosting between each layer of the cake.

The light, airy whipped cream complements the fluffy chiffon texture perfectly.

For an extra touch, dust each whipped cream layer with a sprinkle of cocoa powder.

This addition not only enhances the flavor but also gives a beautiful, finished look to your cake.

Mocha Chiffon Cake

If you’re a chocolate lover, try making a mocha chiffon cake.

Mix a bit of cocoa powder with the dry ingredients before combining them with the wet ingredients.

This simple addition infuses the cake with a rich chocolate flavor, creating a delicious mocha combination.

The cocoa powder blends seamlessly with the espresso, enhancing the overall taste.

This variation offers a deeper, more complex flavor profile, perfect for any chocolate and coffee enthusiast.


The espresso chiffon cake stands out with its light, airy texture and robust coffee flavor.

It’s perfect for coffee lovers and suitable for any occasion.

Try this recipe and share your results with us.

Explore more coffee-based desserts on our blog for more delicious inspiration.

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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