food

Cotton Chiffon by Audrey: “These tantalisingly airy & low-calorie cakes give me such joy”

Last Updated: September 6, 2020

Written by Ping Er

Every time I see chiffon cakes in bakeries, I’m brought back to the age of five as I remember wheedling my grandma to get us some at the market. My grandma can’t eat cake because of the eggs, but her heart always went out to me and we’d bring home an appetising ring of chiffon cake.

Though I’ve outgrown the need to wheedle, I have not outgrown the love for cake. Naturally, when I heard of Cotton Chiffon and their wide variety of chiffon cake flavours, that warmth of nostalgia returned full force.

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Of course, I made a point to try some of Cotton Chiffon’s bakes this week, and I even had the privilege to speak to its owner, Audrey.

With her passion for baking and a soft spot for chiffon cakes, Audrey launched Cotton Chiffon during the ‘Circuit Breaker’ period in a daring venture to realise her dream of starting a bakery to call her own. As always, I was a little awed by the guts it must’ve taken to start a new business (not to mention in F&B) in the middle of a pandemic and economic slowdown.

Audrey was also no stranger to the resulting job insecurity, having previously held positions in the F&B industry. Like many of us, she got some baking time in during the lockdown, which eventually blossomed into the thriving business she’s running today.

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She prides the Cotton Chiffon cakes for their rich flavours while maintaining a low sugar and low flour content to cater to the health-conscious.

As you might know, chiffon cakes are a tricky affair that needs the meringue whipped to an airy, yet stable consistency. It was a challenge to achieve her vision of low sugar and low flour content chiffon cakes, but after three years of experimentation, she eventually found the right balance of ingredients to do so.

The cakes looked so satisfyingly tall and voluminous with such a tantalising airiness to them. It was a joy to open the boxes to see such wonderfully substantial cake-to-air ratios.

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To set it even further apart, Cotton Chiffon’s cakes contain no baking powder or preservatives. This makes their cakes especially soft and pillowy.

I especially liked how they had a nice amount of moisture, without the slightly dry texture that you sometimes find in other chiffon cakes.

What I tried

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I first tried their Lychee Carnation Cotton Chiffon (S$29). With a subtly pink lychee marbling against a vanilla milk cake base, this cake was fruity with an innate whiff of familiarity. The lychee flavour made for a delicious sweetness against the milder cake base.

I especially appreciated how the lychee tasted pretty fresh, unlike the slightly artificial taste that some lychee flavours can get from using too much sweetener.

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Take a moment to admire that crumb. With visible air pockets that prove just how fluffy and voluminous the cake is, you wouldn’t know whether to feast your eyes or mouth first.

Next, I tried the Ondeh Ondeh Inspiration Cotton Chiffon (S$29), a delightful medley of pandan and gula melaka.

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In a nostalgic twist on the Peranakan classic, this cake embodies pure nostalgia. Feel the comforts of childhood and home as you savour this fusion of flavours. 

Audrey did mention that for this cake, she made a point to have a lighter hand with the gula melaka to keep the sugar level low. As a result, the pandan flavour is more prominent than that of the gula melaka, so it might not be immediately obvious that this is an ondeh ondeh spin-off.

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I do appreciate the effort to stay true to Cotton Chiffon’s characteristic low sugar content, but I still would’ve enjoyed a stronger gula melaka taste.

As it is, I think this flavour might easily be mistaken for just pandan, which is a pity since Cotton Chiffon has another flavour called Amazing Pandan Cotton Chiffon (S$27). It might do the menu more justice to be bolder with the flavours in order to differentiate them.

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Of course, a foray into Cotton Chiffon’s bakes is not complete without sampling their Signature Brown Butter Belgium Chocolate Cookies (S$9 per packet). These crispy little treats packed a deep, nutty flavour from the browned butter, giving it more depth than your regular chocolate chip cookie.

As expected, minimal raw brown sugar is used in these, so most of the sweetness comes from the mix of milk, dark and white Belgium chocolate used to make them.

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Honestly, making cookies is such a considerate move on Cotton Chiffon’s part. After feasting on several slices of melt-in-your-mouth airy chiffon cakes, I had these tiny crispy morsels to crunch on without too much guilt.

After all, they’re bite-sized, and they provide all the textural contrast you need.

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Final thoughts

Needless to say, I highly recommend you try Cotton Chiffon’s cakes. Surprise your family and friends with it as a definite crowd-pleaser.

With a wide range of flavours ranging from Tiramisu Inspiration (S$29) to Yuzu (S$28), you’ll be pretty spoilt for choice! Check out their website and Facebook for more information on flavours and deliveries.

Expected Damage: S$27 – S$30 per whole 21cm diameter cake, S$9 per packet 120g of cookies

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