Mother’s Day Lemon Chiffon Cake

May 10, 2009 at 2:50 pm 38 comments

Generally, every baked good I make goes through the same life cycle. I make it because baking is my ultimate form of escape. I focus so hard when I’m baking that all my stresses just melt into the background, and as the pan goes into the oven and I wash the dishes by myself, I just think. And it’s utterly relaxing.

I don’t give too much thought to what happens after I’ve finished. So I’ve got an entire cake, or five dozen cookies. Now what?

Usually my mom and I eat a little of what I make. She doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth, so she’ll try a small slice or one cookie. I’ll try it too, and if I like it, I might keep some and eat it throughout the week.

More than half of what I make, however, is always shared instead of kept at home. My mom sends plates of pretty stacked cookies over to our neighbors, who never bake themselves. I carry treats to school in my plastic cake carrier, stored in my locker until lunch time. And sometimes my mom brings it to work, so that whenever I’m in her office I inevitably get the question, “When are you baking again?”

But this cake. Oh, this innocent looking cake is a completely different story.

The first time I made it, my mother was actually shocked to like it. I had only just gotten into baking, and most everything was too rich or too sweet for her taste. But this chiffon cake, light as air and served without frosting, did it for her. Granted, it’s a small cake, but the two of us ate it all by ourselves.

I’ve made the cake countless times since, for her birthday and other special occasions. Once, over the course of 5 hours, my mom, dad, and I finished the entire thing. We started by cutting equal slices and carefully plating them, passing around forks. By the end, we tore off pieces of cake and brought them directly to our mouths. No utensils required.

Since the first time I started baking, my mother has enjoyed many more of my desserts. At least she doesn’t cringe when I ask her to try something with chocolate oozing out of it. But this cake was still, naturally, the only thing I even considered making for Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you. And a happy Mother’s Day to all of you, too.

[Note: The recipe can be doubled and used in a 10″ cake pan, just adjust the cooking time accordingly, most likely around 1 hour.]

Lemon Chiffon Cake
Makes one 7″ cake
From Martha Stewart Living

3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar, divided
3 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp grated lemon zest (about 4 lemons)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and 3/4 cup sugar. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the three egg yolks, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, and water. Stir in the dry ingredients.

In an electric mixer, beat the three egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat on high until soft peaks form, 1-2 minutes. Gradually add the tablespoon of sugar, beating on high for about 3 minutes until stiff peaks form.

Stir 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the batter, then use a rubber spatula to gently fold the remaining 2/3 into the batter. Pour into an ungreased 7″ tube pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Bake 45 minutes or until a skewer poked into the cake comes out clean and the top is golden.

Cool the cake upside down by inverting the pan onto a bottle. Let cool to room temperature, at least 2 hours, before running a knife between cake and pan and inverting onto a plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve. You can also split the layers horizontally and fill with lemon curd, or pour a glaze over the cake. It’s also delicious with fresh fruit or ice cream.

Printer Friendly Version – Lemon Chiffon Cake

[PS: If any of you are wondering, testing season is not over. I have four more tests to take. But I’m burning out a little and getting a little bit more lax about my free time, and blogging. My last test is on the 22nd, so just two more weeks.]

Entry filed under: Cake/Cupcakes. Tags: , , , , , .

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38 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Alana @ The Good Girl Gone Blog  |  May 10, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Looks delish, as usual. You’re so close to being done- gl!!

  • 2. Monica h  |  May 10, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    No utensils? That’s the best way to eat any baked treat!

    This looks so good!

  • 3. Evan  |  May 10, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    There really is nothing like a light, airy dessert that you can consume all of in one sitting. Yum!

  • 4. Eliana  |  May 11, 2009 at 7:09 am

    I love that you served this cake without frosting. It has such an understated sophistication to it. So elegant. Great job :)

  • 5. Marta  |  May 11, 2009 at 7:53 am

    You’re like me! I rarely ever keep the treats I bake at home… people in the office LOVE me! hahaha and I seldom eat much of it, I guess that’s the only way to keep yourself from ballooning in size while having a food blog :)
    This cake looks very moist, which is nice to see in a chiffon cake. They are usually toward the drier side of things. My favourite kind of desserts are the ones with chocolate oozing out of them, but I know several people who would enjoy this cake much more!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  • 6. Jen  |  May 11, 2009 at 8:53 am

    To me, chiffon cake = more pieces + less guilt
    This cake fits into that equation perfectly! Good luck with exams :)

  • 7. Niki  |  May 11, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Lemon chiffon cake is one of my new favs… My mom loved it too. She always has to make some comment about my baked goods. Too rich, too crumbly, needs more this, needs less of that… This cake was one of the first things she was like, huh. That’s really good.
    It’s magic….

  • 8. Jude  |  May 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Such a nice post dedicated to your mom. It’s sweet in many different ways :)

  • 9. Amanda  |  May 11, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    This looks so nice and perfectly textured. I think I’m going to make this soon after I get to VA. It’s in the 80s and above there, and a light cake will be perfect. :)

    Keep pluggin’ away at those exams. They’ll be over soon!

  • 10. gratinee  |  May 11, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    I’m definitely going to make this one. I LOVE lemon! Thanks for posting this!

  • 11. Baking Monster  |  May 11, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    This looks so good and it doesn’t look to rich which is great!

  • 12. The Mad Penguin  |  May 11, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Ok, when are you moving to Australia and stop depriving me of yummies?

    Just pics are enough to make me feel hungry! Yuummmm

  • 13. Cze-Johnson Carrie  |  May 11, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    yum! looks so refreshing! I’ve been seeing lots of lemon recipes lately… not sure if I’m just uber-aware of them, or just coincidence.. but I’m happy for all these new recipe finds!

  • 14. Wendy  |  May 12, 2009 at 3:02 am

    My mum loves chiffon cakes as well, she especially likes earl grey and banana ones :) Good luck with your tests, I’m going through exams too, but due to my ahem poor time management skills, I haven’t been able to bake for my mum :(

  • 15. thestudiouscook  |  May 13, 2009 at 8:56 am

    looks really great!

  • 16. Pottery Monster  |  May 13, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    I am going to try this, with orange I think. Pictures are great!

  • 17. Olivia McDowell  |  May 15, 2009 at 1:58 am

    You are such an incredibly talented chef AND photographer AND writer: you will surely go far in this world!

    Good luck with it all, and nomnomnom!

  • 18. Julia @ Mélanger  |  May 15, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Wow. I have been eyeing off this recipe on MS and think this is a sign. :)

  • 19. healthybaking  |  May 23, 2009 at 8:14 am

    I’m going to try this today :)

  • 20. Bianca  |  June 9, 2009 at 1:52 am

    Tried it yesterday,was a huge success. Although not lemony enough since I put 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of lemon zest because I read the recipe wrong, it was really yummy and dissapeared quite fast :). Thanks!

  • […] descoperit recent o reteta usoara si pufoasa de asa-zis “chec cu lamaie“, pe numele ei englezesc si pompos lemon chiffon cake. Desi aparent simpla, aceasta prajitura […]

  • 22. Shilpa  |  June 24, 2009 at 7:23 am

    Tried this a couple hours ago and it was AMAZING! My mother is just like yours and tends not to appreciate anything too sweet or chocolatey – she had 2 very generous slices of this cake!

    I did not have cake flour so substituted 2/3 C all purpose + 4 1/2 tsp cornstarch to equal the 3/4 needed.

    Keep up your great work :)

  • 23. Cheery  |  June 8, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I’m planning on baking this for my mom’s birthday in a couple of days, and I was wondering if I could use a Bundt pan instead of a tube pan?
    She loves lemon and is exactly like your mom in that she doesn’t like over-sugary or dense sweet treats :D

    • 24. Elissa  |  June 9, 2010 at 11:52 am

      Cheery – I think it would techinically bake fine in the bundt pan, but I think it would be difficult to remove. The tube pan I use has a flat bottom, so it isn’t too hard to get the cake out. But a bundt pan, with elaborate designs on the bottom might cause some of the cake to stick.

  • 25. Cookie Monster  |  June 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

    I’ve heard that a lemon coffee cake is good, what do you think?

  • 26. Recipes to Try (Sweets/Desserts) | Schmelly Eats  |  August 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    […] Lemon Chiffon Cake From 17 and Baking (05/10/09) […]

  • 27. shewhois  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Do you know if I can bake this in a 9 inch springform pan? I don’t have tube pan or angel food cake pan and I’m really hesitant about baking it in a bundt pan since it might get stuck.

  • 28. Yolanda  |  March 26, 2011 at 4:09 am

    mmmmmm! We love lemony flavours! Another cake on track!


  • 29. Today is National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day « One 2 Try  |  March 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    […] and baking – Mother’s Day Lemon Chiffon Cake. I like the simplicity of this […]

  • 30. Jackie  |  May 22, 2011 at 12:36 am

    Hmmm can I make this into cupcakes?

  • 31. Ella  |  June 4, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    I made this cake yesterday in a regular non stick pan, but it stuck anyway! Is there a reason that you say not to grease it? Not that I’m complaining – I got to eat the cake right out of the pan!

  • 32. Elissa B.  |  January 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    These recipes are not yours

  • 33. Annie  |  March 30, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Hi,I tried the recipe but didnt come that good. I used plain flour instead of cake flour. It wasn’t light, it was a bit thick and compressed type. Where did I go wrong?

    • 34. Elissa  |  March 30, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      Hi Annie, the problem was likely the plain flour – this kind of recipe needs cake flour. Also, be sure to measure the flour by fluffing first with a spoon and gently filling the measuring up, so the flour doesn’t get too compact.

  • 35. Kayla  |  October 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Just curious, do you just have an unlimited amount of money for baking? And if so, how? I love to bake and am in college, but have zero dollars.

  • 36. International Decor  |  November 30, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    thank you for sharing this post

  • 37. Buttercream in Bloom | VIVIMETALIUN  |  December 6, 2013 at 9:19 am

    […] Boston Cream Pie to Lemon Chiffon Cake, the treats I bake for my family inevitably turn out well and become favorites. And I only make […]

  • 38. Hermina I. Hevey  |  September 26, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    If you are going for best contents like myself, only pay a quick
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Elissa Bernstein

I'm Elissa: a 17 (now 21) year old baker in Seattle Boston juggling creative nonfiction workshops, subway maps, and my passions for writing, baking, and photography. Photo above © Michelle Moore

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