Orange Chiffon Layer Cake with Almond-Orange Italian Meringue Buttercream
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Cook time: 
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Yield: 1 (9-inch) cake with 2 layers, about 16 servings
This cake has a light and springy, yet moist and tender crumb and the cake's lightness is balanced perfectly by the buttercream's richness.
  • 4 large eggs, separated into yolks and whites (at room temperature)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1¼ cups (250 g) sugar
  • ½ cup (120 ml) avocado oil or light olive oil
  • ½ cup (120 ml) fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) milk (I used whole milk)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2¼ cups (287 g) Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites (about 60 to 65 g), at room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ½ lb/225 g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
  • ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon pure orange extract (or ½ teaspoon fresh orange zest)
  • Butter, to grease the cake pans
  • Flour, to dust the cake pans
  • A handful of fresh blackberries or raspberries, for the middle (optional)
  1. For the cake, preheat the oven to 350F. Butter 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, add a sprinkling of flour, rotate the pans around to coat the inside, and tap out any excess.
  2. Use a handheld electric mixer to beat the 4 egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl until they form stiff peaks; set aside for now.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, oil, orange juice, milk, orange zest, and vanilla for about 3 minutes.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the egg yolk mixture all at once, and stir to combine, being careful not to over-mix.
  5. Add ¼ of the egg whites and stir to fully incorporate. Fold in the remaining egg whites with a rubber spatula ¼ at a time (fold only in 1 direction and be careful not to over-mix; seeing some streaks of egg whites in the batter is better than over-mixing).
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake them both on the middle rack of the oven until they’re golden and a toothpick inserted inside comes out clean or with just a couple crumbs, about 25 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway through. Cool completely before frosting.
  7. For the buttercream, put the egg whites into a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and have them ready to go. Get the salt and cream of tartar out and have them nearby. Set aside for now.
  8. Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Don’t stir, but you can swirl the pan around to help the sugar dissolve if you like.
  9. Once the sugar syrup reaches 230F, start beating the eggs. When the eggs are foamy, add the salt and cream of tartar, and continue beating until they form stiff peaks.
  10. Meanwhile, continue cooking the sugar syrup. The temperature of the sugar syrup should reach 240F around the same time that the egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks. At this point, add the sugar syrup to the egg whites in a steady stream with the mixer on high, and continue beating on high until the mixture is cool (touch the bottom of the bowl to check), about 5 to 7 minutes.
  11. Beat in the butter about 1 tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated, and then beat in the vanilla bean paste, almond extract, and orange extract. If the mixture looks curdled, keep beating until smooth.
  12. Layer the cake and frost it with the buttercream, adding a handful of berries to the center of the cake if desired.
  13. Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days; let the cake come to room temperature before serving because the buttercream will stiffen in the fridge.
Recipe by An Edible Mosaic™ at