The aromas that waft from Sweet Tartlette, a patisserie on Traverse City’s West Front Street, hint of the edible luxuries inside: house-candied orange slices, melted dark chocolate, fresh-squeezed key lime, roasted hazelnuts, toasted coconut and warm, bubbling compotes of local fruit. Those ingredients are the telltales of proprietor Sarah Steele’s penchant for balancing diverse flavors and textures in her sweet treats.

A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America’s Baking and Pastry Arts program, Sarah is equally fond of solidly classic recipes that can be morphed into a variety of delish versions. Such is the case with her recipe for Orange Chiffon Cake. Serve it as is for brunch, for dessert with a dollop of chocolate whipped cream, or even layered with rhubarb or strawberry compote and covered with, say, vanilla whipped cream for an event as special as a wedding.

If you’re not up to tackling the cake yourself, Sweet Tartlette takes special orders.

Orange Chiffon Cake



  • Dab of butter for greasing pan
  • 3⁄4 cup cake flour + a dusting for greased pan
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 3⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Orange Glaze

  • 6 tablespoons orange juice
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 cups Domino’s 10X confectioners sugar


Cake: Yield—one 7-inch Bundt cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cake pan with butter, and dust with flour. Mix flour, sugar (minus 1 tablespoon), baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl combine oil, egg yolks, orange juice and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients.

Whip egg whites with cream of tartar and the remaining tablespoon of sugar to medium-firm peaks. Gently fold one-third of the whites into the batter until a few streaks of egg remain. Fold the remaining two-thirds of the whites into the batter. Bake for approximately 25 to 35 minutes.

Orange Glaze: Mix ingredients to make a thick glaze. Pour over cooled cake.

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