This Lemon Chiffon Is the Most Beautiful Cake You'll Ever Bake

By the time you finish this recipe, you'll agree chiffon cakes are the most beautiful in the bakery case. They're tall with an airy, even crumb that promises a light and fluffy bite. They don't even need lots of layers or fancy frosting to stand out; they just do.

Good to Know

Chiffon cakes were invented in Los Angeles in the 1920s by a baker who wanted to create a dessert that was both lighter than a pound cake and moister than a sponge cake . It was an overnight success, but the recipe was kept secret for 20 years until it was sold to General Mills and released to the public as one of Betty Crocker's signature desserts.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Yield: Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 2¼ cups cake flour
  • 1½ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Good to Know

Cake flour, a low-protein flour that's milled to an almost powdery texture, is vital to this recipe. It generates less gluten in a cake batter than other types of flours , creating a finer crumb than all-purpose or bread flour can produce. The flour's light texture works well with the beaten egg whites to keep the cake fluffy.

Instructions

1. Prep the Pan

Preheat oven to 325 F. Take out a 10" tube pan and set aside. Do not grease the pan. 

Good to Know

Leaving the pan ungreased allows the cake to "climb" the sides as it rises.

2. Mix It All Together

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder and salt.

In another medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, vegetable oil, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract until smooth. Combine the flour mixture and the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Good to Know

The vegetable oil is what keeps the cake soft and moist after it comes out of the oven. In fact, vegetable oil can keep a chiffon cake fresh for days.

3. Beat Those Egg Whites

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until very foamy. With the mixer on high speed, gradually stream in the remaining ¾ cup sugar. Continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, from 3 to 5 minutes. 

4. Add the Egg

Add one-third of the egg-white mixture to the egg-yolk mixture and whisk to combine. This will lighten the batter.

Add in another third of the egg-white mixture and fold in, using a spatula, until the egg whites are well-combined.

Add in the remaining egg-white mixture and fold it in until no streaks of egg whites remain. Pour batter into prepared pan.

5. Bake

Place the cake in the oven for 50 to 55 minutes, until it springs back when lightly pressed and appears to be set.

6. Flip It

Take the cake out of the oven and immediately flip the pan upside down, standing it up on its "feet" or carefully placing the pan over a bottle. Cool the cake completely before up-righting. 

Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake, then transfer it to a cake stand to serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container. 

The cake needs no frosting, but you can finish it with a light glaze or a dusting of powdered sugar if you want to dress it up. It's delicious either way!

Good to Know

A basic chiffon cake is not only easy to make and impressive to look at, but it's also a blank slate for other flavors. You can easily switch out the lemon for orange or another citrus fruit. If you prefer a vanilla cake, replace the citrus juice with more milk and double the vanilla extract.


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This Lemon Chiffon Is the Most Beautiful Cake You'll Ever Bake