Have you ever baked a cake so popular everybody wanted the recipe? According to what I've read, that's how the Chiffon Cake came to be. Created in 1927 by Harry Baker, an insurance salesman from California who had a baking hobby, the cake was so moist and airy that Baker was asked to serve it at Hollywood parties. People wanted the recipe, but Baker kept it secret until 1947, when he sold the recipe to General Mills. They published it in 1948 and gave it the name "Chiffon Cake", so even if the cake existed prior to 1927, it would have had a different name.
Either way, I didn't get around trying chiffon cake until 2012 and I have Cook's Country to thank.
Cook's Country took the usual recipe and made some changes, including cutting down the amount of flour and using an even amount of eggs and yolks. They also pointed out something that I've had to learn through trial and error, which is not to over-beat the egg whites before folding them into the batter. Overly dry or stiff egg whites are harder to fold in and leave holes in the cake, which is why I err on the side of under-beating the egg whites rather than over when preparing them for batters.
The Cook's Country recipe is here, so grab it off their website. If the link doesn't work or the recipe goes away, let me know and I'll find it for you.
Also, the recipe calls for a tube pan with legs -- the kind used to make angel food cake. You may also use a tube pan without legs, but unless the bottom is removable I'm not really sure how you'd get it out of the pan because this cake is made in an ungreased pan.
Even with the removable bottom footed pan, I found removing the cake to be kind of a challenge. You have to use a knife to loosen it from the pan's sides and also from the base. But it's doable and totally worth it! The flavor reminded me of those little cup-shaped strawberry shortcake sponge cakes my mom used to buy in the produce aisle. As for the texture, it was like a very soft butter cake but with a little more spring to it. It was also a pretty sweet cake, which wasn't a problem for me, but I found it interesting that Cook's Country used the same 1 ½ cups of sugar as most chiffon cakes, but whittled the flour down to 1 ⅓ cups cake (5.3 oz). Most recipes have more flour (and more eggs). Then again, that's just based on what I've seen.
I recommend serving this with whipped cream and fresh fruit. In fact, I will add another photo when I get my hands on some fresh fruit, but I've been trying to avoid the grocery store.