Culinary Institute of America Recipe
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Chiffon Cupcakes

Every Mom loves flowers—but she also deserves something a bit sweeter. To help satisfy every deserving mother's sweet tooth, Chef Alison McLoughlin of The Culinary Institute of America has a great suggestion on how to create a beautiful "bouquet" of floral cupcakes for Mom that are sure to make her proud.

Chef McLoughlin used the following recipes adapted from Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America cookbook for both the cupcakes and the buttercream frosting. However, if you are pressed for time, the chef suggests using a box cake mix to prepare your cupcakes.

Frosting your cupcakes to look like dahlias, carnations, or any of Mom's other favorite flowers is easy when you use a pastry bag and a special "petal" or "rose" piping tip that you can find at most kitchen and craft stores. To create a two-tone effect that mimics the looks of flowers in your garden, place two complementary colored frostings side by side in a piping bag.

Don't worry if they are not perfect, as Mom will be sure to love them—just because you made them.

This recipe is from Baking At Home with The Culinary Institute of America.

CIA's Chiffon Cupcakes recipe



Orange Chiffon Cupcakes

Makes 1 Dozen Cupcakes

  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (divided use)
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp grated orange zest
  • 8 large egg whites
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Variations: Lemon or Lime Chiffon Cup Cakes

Makes 1 Dozen Cupcakes

  • Replace the orange juice with 10 Tbsp water and 6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
  • Replace orange zest with lemon or lime zest

Simple Buttercream Icing

Makes About 4 Cups

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted, plus extra as needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or whole milk plus extra as needed


Orange Chiffon Cupcakes

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place paper cupcake inserts inside cupcake pan.
  2. Sift the flour, 1 1/4 cups of the granulated sugar, the baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice, oil, egg yolks and orange zest. Mixing by hand with a spoon or rubber spatula, blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Continue to mix until the batter is smooth and evenly blended, about 2 minutes.
  4. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until they are foamy. Add the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar and the cream of tartar. Continue to whip until the whites from medium peaks when the beater is lifted about 4 minutes.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in 1/2 of the whipped whites into the batter. Gently fold in the remaining 1/2 of the whites into the batter.
  6. Scoop the batter into the prepared cupcake pan and bake until a skewer inserted near the center of on of the cakes comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, 15-20 minutes.
  7. Allow the cakes to cool and remove from pan.

Lemon or Lime Chiffon Cup Cakes

  1. Replace the orange juice with 10 Tbsp water and 6 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice.
  2. Replace orange zest with lemon or lime zest.
  3. Continue as directed above.

Simple Buttercream Icing

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium speed until it is very light in texture, 2 minutes.
  2. Add the confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and mix on a low speed until the sugar and butter are blended, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  3. Increase the speed to medium and, with the mixer running, add the cream in a thin stream.
  4. Increase the speed to high and whip the buttercream until very smooth, light, and a good spreading consistency. Adjust the consistency if necessary by adding a bit more confectioners' sugar or cream.

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