Taisan is the Filipino version of vanilla chiffon cake — soft and tender, light as air, brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar and cheese. It’s a simple cake but so delicious! It’s great with coffee in the morning or tea in the afternoon.
(Love light and tender cakes? Try these Hokkaido chiffon cupcakes. They’re filled with cream that’s equally light and airy!)
Most Filipinos know taisan well. We grew up eating taisan slices from Red Ribbon or Goldilocks and they were the best merienda ever.
Sadly, there are no Red Ribbon or Goldilocks bakeshops where I am. Happily, taisan is incredibly easy to make at home and they’re as delicious as I remember them to be.
What is taisan
Taisan — also called taisan cake, taisan loaf or taisan bread— is Filipino chiffon cake that’s baked in a loaf pan.
While you can eat the cake plain, it’s usually brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar and cheese.
It’s typically served as a snack (merienda) but is also often eaten at breakfast as it goes really well with coffee, hot chocolate and tea.
Why you’ll love making them yourself
It’s so beloved by Filipinos that it’s common for someone coming back from a visit to the Philippines to bring back several packs of this pinoy chiffon cake to give out to homesick friends.
Which is why I love making them myself. That way, I don’t have to depend on my travelling buddies to bring me back some. You’ll love making it too because:
- It’s easier to make than you think. Taisan looks like such a fragile and delicate cake but it’s really a very simple recipe: easy-to-find ingredients, straightforward steps, half an hour in the oven.
- It’s a great snacking cake. Part of the appeal of this cake is how simple it is. It doesn’t need frosting or filling. It’s great on its own.
- Tastes just like you remember it. More importantly, it tastes just like the ones from home. Tender texture, sweet and salty, so good!
How to make at home
The key to making the perfect taisan cake is organization and patience. Let’s start with ingredients.
You’ll need pantry staples like baking powder, sugar and eggs. Other things to note:
- Cake flour — this recipe uses cake flour for that light and tender texture. If it’s not available, you can use all-purpose flour but you’ll need to add cornstarch into the mix. Here’s a quick guide.
- Oil — I use canola oil but any flavourless oil will do.
- Milk — I use 1% or 2% skim milk.
Recipe with step-by-step photos
Preheat your oven to 325F and line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper with a slight overhang. Set aside.
In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add sugar until you reach medium-stiff peaks.
In another bowl, either by hand or using an electric mixer, whisk egg yolks until smooth and thick.
Add sugar and continue to whisk until well-blended.
Add water, oil, vanilla extract, milk and melted butter. Whisk again until combined.
Sift cake flour, baking powder and salt directly into your egg yolk mixture and stir until incorporated.
Gently fold meringue into cake batter in thirds, making sure each addition is well blended.
Transfer cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted comes out with minimal dry crumbs.
Take the pan out of the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes before removing. While the cake is still warm, brush the top with softened or melted butter and sprinkle with sugar and grated cheese.
Expert baking tips
Easy, right? Here are more tips for perfect taisan cakes every time.
- Use room temperature ingredients. They are easier to combine and using room temperature egg whites results to a more stable meringue.
- Practice patience with the meringue. Speaking of meringue, don’t go higher than medium speed (using my KitchenAid stand mixer, I stay on speed 3). It takes longer to get stiff peaks but this results to a more stable meringue that won’t deflate after baking.
- Fold gently. You want a homogenous batter with no streaks of egg whites but you’ll want to achieve that without deflating the meringue.
- Bake at the correct temperature. And this is true for all baking. You’ll want to ensure you’re baking at the right temperature. I suggest getting an oven thermometer (you can get one for less than $10).
It’s easy to make taisan cupcakes — simply make this recipe in cupcake cups instead of a loaf pan. Best to use the cardboard-type cups so that the cake has something sturdy to cling to.
Also, watch your baking time. Cupcakes will be done quicker.
You can serve taisan fresh from the oven or at room temperature. Personally, we like it chilled.
This cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Other Filipino chiffon cake recipes
Are you a fan of chiffon cakes like I am? Check these out.
Taisan (Filipino Chiffon Cake Recipe)
- unsalted butter softened
- granulated sugar
- grated cheese
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9×5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper with a slight overhang. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a handheld electric mixer or using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk egg whites with cream of tartar on low-medium speed until foamy.
- Gradually add sugar – about a teaspoon at a time – and continue to whisk until you reach stiff peaks.
- In another bowl, using an electric mixer or by hand, whisk egg yolks until smooth and thick.
- Add sugar and continue to whisk until well blended.
- Add water, oil, vanilla extract, melted butter and milk. Whisk until combined.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt directly onto your egg yolk mixture and stir until incorporated.
- Gently fold meringue into cake batter in thirds, making sure each addition is well blended and no more streaks of egg whites remain.
- Transfer cake batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with minimal dry crumbs.
- Take out from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for a few minutes. While the cake is still warm, brush the top with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cheese. Enjoy!
- Yield depends on how thick or thin you slice your cake. Estimated nutrition info is based on 8 slices.
- Make sure to use room temperature ingredients.
- When making the meringue, avoid going faster than medium speed for a more stable meringue that won’t deflate after baking.
- You can serve taisan warm, room temperature or chilled.
- See post for more baking tips, FAQs and step-by-step photos.
Nutritional information are estimates only.
Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.