A tender chiffon cake pairs well with the light and billowy frosting, seasoned with spicy-fresh ginger juice. Warm spices and a shot of rum add a kick to the apple compote that makes this a centerpiece dessert for the adult table.

November 2019


Credit: Tara Donne

Recipe Summary

5 hrs 40 mins
1 hr
10 to 12




Make the cake layers
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with shortening; dust with flour. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together egg yolks, 2/3 cup water, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla in a separate bowl until smooth. Whisk egg yolk mixture into flour mixture until batter is just combined.

  • Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Fold one-third of egg white mixture into batter. Add remaining egg white mixture; gently fold until just combined. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.

  • Bake in preheated oven until cakes are light golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in cake centers comes out clean, 16 to 20 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove cakes from cake pans; transfer to wire racks, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  • When ready to assemble cakes, make the ginger–cream cheese frosting: Place grated ginger in center of a square of folded cheesecloth; gather edges of cheesecloth, and squeeze ginger over a small bowl to equal 2 tablespoons juice. Discard solids; set aside ginger juice.

  • Beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.

  • Stir together ginger juice and heavy cream in a small bowl. With mixer running on medium-high speed, gradually drizzle ginger juice mixture into cream cheese mixture; beat until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Use immediately.

Assemble the cake
  • Place 1 cake layer on a serving platter. Spread top with about 1/3 cup frosting. Spoon 3/4 cup frosting into a ziplock plastic bag; cut a 1/3-inch hole in one corner. Pipe a 1/3-inch-tall ring of frosting just inside the top edge of frosted cake layer (to create a barrier). Spread half of the cooled compote (about 2/3 cup) in an even layer inside piped ring. Top with second cake layer; repeat process with frosting, frosting ring, and remaining compote. Top with third cake layer; spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate assembled cake at least 4 hours or up to 1 day. Serve chilled. 

Make Ahead

Cake layers can be made a day ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap, and stored at room temperature. Cake may be assembled and kept chilled up to 1 day.