My mother made this chiffon cake for special occasions - birthdays, Easter, etc. It is a delicious and rich cake which I now make for family celebrations too. This year, as we are at home for Easter instead of in France, I am celebrating having Easter with the family.
In order to make this cake, you need a tube pan. This one has a loose bottom which makes it easier to remove the cake when it is done.
As this is a chiffon cake, which is a bit like a soufflé, you must not grease or line the pan or the mixture will not be able to climb up the pan and rise. I cheat a little, though and line the base with baking parchment. It makes the cake easier to remove from the pan when it is cooked and cooled.
A chiffon cake is not difficult to make, but it requires a little care, as it called for 8 eggs.
Recipe for Lemon Chiffon Cake
2 cups sifted plain flour. (Use a coffee mug if you do not have American measuring cups).
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1/2 cup oil (sunflower or similar; you don't want to use one that has a definite taste or flavour)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
7 egg yolks
8 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Move oven rack to lowest position.
- Prepare your tin.
- Heat oven to 170 degrees Centigrade
- In a large, clean mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until whites are stiff.
- Set aside.
- In another bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat in cold water, oil, vanilla, lemon zest and egg yolks until smooth.
- Gradually pour this mixture over the egg whites and fold in gently so that you retain air in the mixture.
- Pour mixture into cake tin.
- Bake about 45 minutes. This is all it takes in my oven, but check that it is done with a skewer.
- Invert the tin over a long-necked bottle or a metal funnel (quite a long one!) until the cake is cool.
- Remove the cake from the tin by running a knife around the edges and gently loosening it.
Mixing the cake batter
Folding the batter into the egg whites
Letting the cake cool by hanging it upside down.
Filling and decorating the cake
When the cake is completely cook, mark the sides of the cake with toothpicks and slice through the cake so you have three layers.
Fill with lemon curd mixed with cream or creme fraiche or anything you like. It could be thick chocolate custard or creme patisserie, for example. I prefer lemon as it cuts the richness of the cake and icing.
Top the cake with icing made from icing sugar and water and decorate according to the occasion. I used chocolate eggs.