Lemon Chiffon Cake

Rated 4 out of 5
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This moist, lemony chiffon cake is simple, delicate and delicious. The texture falls somewhere between a dense butter cake and a light and airy sponge cake. Be careful not to overwhip the egg whites, or the cake will be dry. If desired, serve slices of the cake with blueberries and vanilla ice cream.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 12


  • 3 or 4 lemons
  • 2 1/4 cups (9 oz./280 g) cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) canola oil
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) water
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

For the citrus glaze:

  • 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted, plus more if   needed
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, strained, plus more if needed
  • 1 Tbs. heavy cream


Preheat an oven to 325°F (165°C).

Grate the zest from the lemons and set aside. Juice the lemons and strain the juice into a liquid measuring pitcher. You should have 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml). Have ready an ungreased 10-inch (25-cm) tube pan with a removable bottom.

Sift the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt onto a sheet of parchment paper. In a bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add the water and whisk until well mixed. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture until the batter is smooth.

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Using the rubber spatula, gently fold half of the whites into the batter until almost fully incorporated. Add the remaining whites and gently fold in just until combined. The batter should be smooth but foamy. Pour the batter evenly into the tube pan.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and invert the pan onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, upside down, about 45 minutes.

Rotate and tap the pan against the countertop until the cake disengages. Using the center tube, pull the cake out of the pan. Invert the cake onto the rack and disengage it gently from the pan bottom. Pull the pan bottom and tube from the cake.

To make the glaze, in a bowl, whisk together the 2 cups (8 oz./250 g) confectioners’ sugar, the 2 Tbs. lemon juice and the cream until the sugar dissolves and the glaze is smooth. Add a few more drops of lemon juice if the glaze is too thick, or a little more sugar if it is too thin. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. When the glaze dries, transfer the cake to a platter. The cake is best served the day it is baked. Serves 10 to 12.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2013).

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Do not invert! I have been making this cake for years and love the taste and texture. I believe it happened only once that when I inverted it after baking, the cake did not fall out of the pan. I use a traditional angel food cake pan. It sticks to the sides, but the cake slides out leaving the browned edges on the pan. I kept thinking I was doing something wrong or needed a new pan, so thank you to other commenters who shared the same experience. Next time I will finally ignore the invert instructions.
Date published: 2019-03-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great...except for one thing I made this to bring to a dinner party. It would have been perfect except for one ill-advised direction. Do NOT turn the pan upside down to cool on a rack! I did not grease the tube pan, but some time during the 45 min cooling process, the cake slipped out of the pan and onto the rack, leaving behind the nice, moist, browned crumb on the sides and bottom. And the lovely browned, slightly crispy top ended up stuck to the rack. The cake will taste delicious, I'm sure, but it doesn't look so hot any more. Very frustrated... it would have been beautiful if I hadn't turned it upside down.
Date published: 2019-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delicious lemon cake I recently saw this recipe and knew I had to make it. It is delicious. This is one to try for Thanksgiving.
Date published: 2017-11-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Yummy Lemon-y Goodness I made this for Easter. Everyone raved about it. The cake was super moist. The glaze is to die for - although I used almost twice the lemon juice the recipe called for the glaze. Maybe it's me. I paired it with some vanilla ice cream and made lemon whipped cream. Definitely a keeper. Also, I never used a tube pan before and was nervous about inverting a piping hot cake just out of the oven. Turned out just fine.
Date published: 2017-04-17
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