Lemon Chiffon Cake

Adapted (with changes) from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Rose's recipe as written is excellent, however, I did make a few changes to suit my personal tastes. I upped the sugar by 2 tablespoons, the lemon zest by 1 tablespoon and the vanilla extract by 1/2 teaspoon. I also used canola oil in place of safflower oil.


2 1/4 cups (8 ounces) cake flour

1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs granulated sugar

2  tablespoons lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup canola oil

7 large eggs separated, room temperature

3 large egg whites, room temperature

2/3 cup water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Grab your 10-inch tube pan with a detachable bottom, but do not grease it as the batter needs to climb up the sides :)

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of the sugar and the lemon zest. With your fingertips, work the zest and sugar together until the sugar is grainy and very aromatic.  Add the cake flour, baking soda and salt to the bowl.  If using a stand mixer, use the beater attachment and beat on low until the ingredients are well incorporated. You can also do this by hand with a whisk. Once incorporated, make a well in the center of your mixing bowl.  Add the oil, egg yolks, water, lemon juice and vanilla to the well. Mix for about 1 more minute on medium speed until the batter is smooth and there are no lumps. 

In a second large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium speed until they reach soft peak stage. You will know your egg whites have reached this stage when the beaters start to leave a trail or when the peaks fall over when the beaters are raised. Add the remaining 2 Tbs of sugar, and continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks when the beaters are raised.

Using a large spatula or whisk, add 1/3 of your egg whites to your cake batter and gently stir them until they are incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites to the batter and very gently fold them into the batter until they are incorporated and no traces of egg whites remain.  

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed in the center.  You can try the 'ole toothpick test, but it can be tricky since you can't get all the way into the center. Mine baked in 50 minutes to perfection. Remove the pan from the oven and immediately invert it onto a wine bottle (or something similar) to allow for proper cooling, which can take up to 90 minutes.

Serve this heavenly cake with a dusting of powdered sugar or drizzled with your favorite glaze.