John Whaite's Chocolate chiffon cake with salted caramel butter cream

John Whaite's Chocolate chiffon cake with salted caramel butter cream

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(16 ratings)

Prep: 45 mins Cook: 1 hr, 15 mins

More effort

Cuts into 12 slices

Give this celebration sponge a showstopping finish by piping spikes of ganache on top and filling with salted caramel butter icing

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per slice

  • kcal795
  • fat48g
  • saturates24g
  • carbs82g
  • sugars65g
  • fibre2g
  • protein8g
  • salt0.8g
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  • 125ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste



    The sun-dried seed pod of a type of climbing orchid, vanilla has an inimitable soft, sweet…

  • 375g golden caster sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda

    Bicarbonate of soda, or baking soda, is an alkali which is used to raise soda breads and full-…

For the salted caramel icing

  • 250g light soft brown sugar
  • 150ml double cream
  • 140g butter, softened



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • ½ tsp salt

For the ganache

  • 250ml double cream
  • 250g dark chocolate, finely chopped or grated
    Dark chocolate soup pots with double cream in spoons

    Dark chocolate

    dahk chok-lit

    Dark chocolate means the shiny, dark-reddish brown treat produced from the cacao bean, theobroma…

  • sea salt crystals, to decorate


  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line a 25cm round deep cake tin with baking parchment. In a large bowl, mix the oil, egg yolks, vanilla paste, caster sugar and 200ml water until well combined. Sift in the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.

  2. Sift in the flour, bicarb and 1 tsp salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold into the batter with a large metal spoon and mix until everything is well combined.

  3. Gently pour the mixture into your cake tin, then bang it on the work surface twice to expel any large air pockets. Bake for 1 hr 10 mins or until the cake springs back when gently prodded and an inserted skewer comes out clean. (Cover with foil after 1 hr if the cake starts to get too dark.) Remove from the oven, cool in the tin for 10 mins, then transfer to a large wire rack and peel off the parchment. Leave until the cake is completely cool.

  4. Make the salted caramel icing while the cake bakes. Heat the brown sugar, ½ tsp salt and cream in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Bubble for a few mins, then leave to cool completely. Beat the butter until smooth, pour in the cooled cream mixture and continue mixing until softly whipped. Chill until needed.

  5. To make the ganache, heat the cream until just boiling. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Leave to stand for a few mins until the chocolate has melted and you have a smooth sauce consistency. Leave to cool at room temperature until the ganache is a pipeable thickness, then transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle. To finish the cake, slice in half and fill with the salted caramel buttercream. Pipe tall spikes of chocolate ganache on top and decorate with the sea salt crystals. Will keep for up to 2 days in a cool place.

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Comments, questions and tips

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27th Oct, 2013
Takes longer than 1 hr 10 mins to cook BUT its delicious!!!
24th Sep, 2013
I had the same trouble as helenmckenzie1. In the end it was over 1.5hrs to get the middle cooked but then the outside was a bit dry - but it rose brilliantly. As it's so rich I'd say it would feed 24 people rather than just 12. Cake needs to be totally cold before adding the filling - mine was still very slightly warm and it oozed out a bit, so I covered the cake and sides with the ganache (which I'd added milk chocolate to as it was a little bitter). Great filling, which I'll use in a different chocolate cake recipe.
1st Sep, 2013
I am currently baking this cake, it's been in the oven for 1hr and 30mins and the skewer still isn't clean. What am I doing wrong? Do I need to turn the oven up? It's risen lovely so far though
16th Aug, 2013
Just made this cake for my sisters birthday and it worked perfectly first time! It rose beautifully and the texture was so fluffy. My ganache did split, but I salvaged it by giving it a good whisk. FANTASTIC RECIPE!
21st Jul, 2013
Baked this cake for my 30th birthday. Brilliant, very tasty and very well received by my friends. The only problem I had is chocolate ganache separating (possibly due to summer heat) and not being firm enough for piping (user error I guess). Next time should remember to keep it in cool place and make a little bit less of it (ganache that is) as it makes cake quite rich.
Rhymed's picture
28th Jun, 2013
All hail to salted caramel! This recipe's brilliant. It's never once failed me, especially as a birthday treat! I do decorate it slightly differently - I find that smoothing the top and sprinkling white chocolate shards on top works well, or piping the ganache with a rose nozzle for small roses across the top if you have time/want to impress.
9th Jun, 2013
Could you freeze this cake?
20th Apr, 2013
This is an amazing cake which is easy to make and guaranteed to work out perfectly it is rich and full of calories but worth every bit and a great cake for a party as there is loads of it to go around. Two things the salt makes the cake I love the salty sweetness of the filling secondly though I would not use so much butter in the filling I would use half the amount next time then add in more if I felt it needed it. Apart from that it is a wonderful and special cake to put a smile on the face of any lover of a good dessert.
18th Apr, 2013
Absolutely fantastic- without the salt. I added a decent pinch to the cake mix because it really needs it, but none in the buttercream or sprinkled on top. The cake mix needs added salt, the top does not. I cannot think where this current fad of adding salt to sweets and cakes has come from, but shouldn't we be trying to reduce extra salt, not sprinkling it over cake! Now I've got that off my chest, the cake is very very good and easy.
31st Mar, 2015
The idea of sweet and salty isn't really a current fad, however it is delicous! Also I'd watch out more for shop bought goods, which have all sorts of hidden extras in them, where it's easy to lose track of what your eating.


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