Lemon Chiffon Cake
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.
- 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
- 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).