Nana’s Golden Chiffon Cake and a Lesson in Grief

29 comments… add one

  1. emily July 16, 2010, 4:20 pm

    Just wanted to say this recipe looks and sounds delicious. Brilliant photos!

    1. Sweet Pea Chef July 16, 2010, 6:20 pm

      Thanks, Emily! I’m so glad you think so! Thank you for your comment :)

  2. Zoe July 27, 2010, 1:50 pm

    Can’t wait to try this cake…tried and true it seems. LOVE that it’s copyright 1976!!

    1. Sweet Pea Chef July 27, 2010, 2:40 pm

      Zoe, there’s something just so special about how old it is, right? I hope you try it out. It really is light and delicate and the flavors are lovely and subtle. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Cindy July 28, 2010, 2:56 pm

    Grief is an odd thing. I love that through the cake the memory of your Nana lives on. I was wondering, what size springform pans did you use?

    1. Sweet Pea Chef July 28, 2010, 3:46 pm

      Hi Cindy. Thanks for your comment.

      For my practice cake, I used a 9 inch pan but I wound up using a 10 inch pan for the real deal due to “technical difficulties.” Both turned out well, but the estimated baking time noted on this recipe is for a 9 inch pan. I hope that helps.

  4. Simone August 2, 2010, 2:13 pm

    Hey Lacey,
    i am planning to make this cake for my mom’s birthday and i’m just wondering the height of the cake and how many people it will serve

    Simone Rubio

    1. Sweet Pea Chef August 2, 2010, 2:26 pm

      Yay, Simone! I’m so happy you are going to make this cake for your mom. How special. If my memory serves me, each layer was about 2 1/2 inches high…plus the frosting layers and toasted coconut. I’d estimate the height to be about 6 inches–I think. Depending on the size of your slices, a 2-layer cake baked in 9″ cake pans should serve about 12-14 people, possibly even 16. I hope that helps! Happy birthday to your mom! I hope she likes it!

  5. Simone August 11, 2010, 2:28 pm

    Hey Lacey,
    It’s me again :) i am having trouble gettting the frosting to get soft peaks like the recipe. I am using an emulsifier to beat the frosting while over the stove, is that ok? should i be using the whisk, please tell me if there is anything i am doing wrong or that can help, please respond as soon as possible. Thank You

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef August 11, 2010, 2:48 pm

      Hi Simone! Welcome back. Sorry to hear you’re having trouble getting the frosting to form stiff peaks…it can be a little tricky. I would recommend using a hand mixer or whisk instead of the emulsifier, as that’s what I’ve seen work in the past. Try to whisk as quickly as possible — it will get difficult, but it should work. If using the hand mixer, use it on a medium-high speed. I hope this helps. Good luck! Please let me know if you need any further help.

  6. Simone August 11, 2010, 2:54 pm

    thanks for the help i used the whisk but the consistency is a bit runny is that how its supposed to be before it cools off??

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef August 11, 2010, 3:01 pm

      Unfortunately, not so much. The idea is to get the peaks to form and remain formed. If it’s runny, it will probably stay that way. If you’re still not having any luck, I’d try cooling the frosting in the fridge for about 10 minutes to let it stiffen up a little, but it’s probably not gonna be “stiff” as the recipe is intended. It can be difficult, especially if you just aren’t whisking quickly enough or your kitchen is too warm…sorry :(

  7. Simone August 11, 2010, 3:10 pm

    OK thank for you help the frosting ended up working great due to its high viscosity. thanks :)

  8. michelle August 22, 2010, 6:35 am

    this was amazingly yummy. I tried this cake out for my husbands upcoming birthday party (New Zealand themed), and cut it into the shape of New Zealand (North and South island), wasn’t easy, but it worked out fine. It kept for days as well! I can’t wait to actually make this for the party! Thanks! :)

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef August 22, 2010, 6:56 am

      Hey Michelle! I really liked this cake, too. It just screams birthday cake, doesn’t it? I’m so glad you’re going to make this for your husband’s party. How special. I’ve never tried to shape a cake before, but that sounds great. Happy birthday to your husband!

  9. Mark January 29, 2011, 7:10 pm

    Wow. The cake looks great. I hope your grandfather like it.

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef January 29, 2011, 8:41 pm

      Hi Mark! Thanks! Thank you for your comment…yes, my grandpa really enjoyed his cake. He liked how we all slaved in the kitchen for him that day — made him feel special I think. Good times.

  10. Maathir December 20, 2011, 4:32 pm

    what is the size of the spring-form cake pans ?

    Thank you

  11. Isabel November 4, 2012, 3:43 pm


    love the cake and planning to make it for my best friend’s birthday in five days :) I have a question, though: I may not be reading the recipe right, but all the coconut flakes are used for decoration and there is no coconut in the batter?

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef November 4, 2012, 7:41 pm

      Hi Isabel. Yes, you’re correct. All the coconut goes onto, not into, the cake. :)

      Happy bday to your friend!

      1. Isabel November 5, 2012, 4:15 am

        Thank you so much :)

  12. Dulce Andrade February 1, 2013, 6:33 am

    I wanted to say that the prelude to the recipe is absolutely precious. I too miss my nana everyday and cooking beside her. I’ll be trying this recipe out. THANKS.

  13. Nicole February 22, 2013, 12:30 pm

    I made this cake last weekend and it is super yummy! I did have one issue though that I thought you might know the answer to. The icing came out really crystallized. At first I thought it was just sugar granules that didn’t melt but then when I went to ice the cake it was like the icing had formed a crystallized layer on the bowl and when you eat it it’s crunchy. Any ideas? Who knows…maybe it is just sugar granules that didn’t get dissolved.

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef February 25, 2013, 8:59 pm

      Hi there,

      I did some digging and found this to answer your question:

      “Grittiness is caused by undissolved sugar crystals in the mixture or from any sugar crystals left on the side of the bowl “seeding” the whole batch to crystallize. You can use regular table sugar, but superfine or confectioners sugar are better because they dissolve faster with their smaller crystal size. I also take some extra steps to prevent crystallization:
      1. Dissolve the sugar in the mixture thoroughly by frequent beating with a mixer on medium-low every couple of minutes, taking up to 10 minutes in total usually necessary when using table sugar;
      2. “Wash down” the crystals left on the sides of the pan at the beginning of cooking by creating steam from a lid and washing with a wet pastry brush; and,
      3. Don’t scrape the bowl. Hardened icing makes the batch gritty.”

      For more info, this except is from

      I hope this helps!!

  14. Monica Vince August 25, 2014, 9:04 pm

    I found your comments whilst searching for a New Zealand author who wrote a cookbook based around her Nana’s favourite recipes.
    You wrote so beautifully about your grandparents and yes it is sad your little one won’t have the joy of meeting Nana but she has a wonderful heritage that you can give to her.
    I have saved your recipe for golden chiffon cake and will make it, it sounds absolutely scrummy!!

    Kind regards
    Monica Vince

    1. Lacey Baier August 25, 2014, 10:59 pm

      Hi Monica! Thank you so much. Yes, I’m very glad I will have my Nana’s recipe to share and remember her by :)

      I hope you enjoy the cake.


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