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Lemon Chiffon Cake

This moist, airy lemon chiffon cake was my dad's favorite. Mom revamped the original recipe to include lemons. I'm not much of a baker, but whenever I make this dessert my family is thrilled! —Trisha Kammers, Clarkston, Washington
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 7 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Dash salt


  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together twice; place in another large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, water, oil, lemon zest and vanilla until smooth. Add to flour mixture; beat until well blended.
  • Add cream of tartar to egg whites; with clean beaters, beat on medium speed just until stiff but not dry. Fold a fourth of the whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites.
  • Gently spoon batter into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake on lowest oven rack 50-55 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan; cool completely in pan, about 1 hour.
  • Run a knife around sides and center tube of pan. Remove cake to a serving plate.
  • In a small bowl, combine frosting ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread over cake.

Lemon Chiffon Cake Tips

Why do chiffon cakes have a hole in the middle?

Chiffon cakes have a hole in the middle because they are typically baked in a tube pan. A tube pan is the ideal baking vessel for chiffon and angel food cake, also called foam cake, because its shape allows heat to penetrate evenly while baking. We recommend an aluminum tube pan with a dull finish rather than a shiny or dark finish to achieve a tender, golden crust.

Should I grease my tube pan before baking?

No. Do not grease or flour your pan when baking a chiffon cake. To rise properly, the batter needs to cling to the sides of the pan.

Why are chiffon cakes so delicate?

Chiffon cakes have a high ratio of eggs to flour and may contain either no fat or a small amount of fat, generally in the form of egg yolk and oil. Beaten eggs give chiffon cakes their light and fluffy texture. As such, they should be handled carefully after baking.

Why should I cool my chiffon cake upside down?

It’s important to cool chiffon cakes upside down in the pan, otherwise, they will collapse and flatten. If using a tube pan with legs, invert the pan onto its legs. If using a tube pan without legs, invert the pan and place the neck over a funnel or narrow bottle. Cool cakes completely in the pan before removing. To loosen from the pan, run a thin metal spatula around the edge of the pan and around the center tube using a sawing motion. Gently press the metal spatula between the pan and the cake to loosen more. If the cake pan has a removable bottom, lift out the cake and run a knife along the bottom of the cake. If the pan is one piece, invert the pan onto a plate; tap the side of the pan with the flat side of a knife and lift the pan away from the cake. Cool the cake completely before filling or frosting. Cut foam cakes with a serrated knife or electric knife with a sawing motion. — Amy Glander, Book Editor
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 345 calories, 13g fat (4g saturated fat), 100mg cholesterol, 288mg sodium, 54g carbohydrate (40g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

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  • Jenny
    Jun 7, 2020

    This recipe is awesome! My family loves how ligt and fresh this cake was. Crowd pleaser!!

  • Olivia
    May 16, 2020

    Delicious cake, my family loved it! The instructions were easy to follow and the cake came out great. For someone who likes chocolate, taste of home’s marble chiffon cake is also an excellent recipe!

  • Carla
    May 15, 2020

    tried out this cake today havent tasted it yet but am a bit confused to the non greasy of pan mine has stuck to the sides and made it very difficult to take out therefore has actually ruined the cake by have to force it out has any one else had this problem very disappointed as the cake looks really good it has just been spoilt by the outside

  • teddy
    May 5, 2020

    No comment left

  • Fay
    Dec 9, 2019

    No comment left

  • snker0521
    Jul 11, 2018

    While I did not make this recipe, I have made chiffon cakes using my mother's recipe for pineapple chiffon cake. She made the best cakes I can remember tasting. I will try this one as well as it is pretty much the same as hers without the pineapple.

  • tyansia
    Jun 27, 2018

    I prepped this cake as I would a regular angel food cake. I seperated the eggs, i combined the dry ingrediants in a seprate bowl, I beat the whites with the tartar and 3/4 cups of sugar, scraped into another bowl since I only have one bowl for my kitchenaid. add the yolks, liquids, etc and then the flour to the dirty bowl, mix ontil combined. scrape down bowl, fold in whites, place in an angel food pan bake at 350 for an hour. When I made it as the recipe suggested, it did not turn out.

  • pajamaangel
    May 17, 2018

    The taste of this cake is a very subtle lemon which I love. I didn't make any changes this time. Next time I believe I will make the frosting just a bit thicker: it came out in a consistency between glaze and frosting so it didn't look quite so pretty when I "frosted" the cake. This is only a minor change; I wouldn't change anything else!

  • Regi M
    May 9, 2018

    Wanted a change from an angel food cake I make with a recipe from Canadian Living - to which I add lemon and sometimes lime zest - or a combination. This was an excellent cake! I did use mostly lemon juice in place of the water after reading the reviews. Will definitely be making many times. In response to the reviews I read about the cake being dense - which mine wasn't - it is VERY important to GENTLY FOLD in the beaten egg whites. Also DO NOT grease your cake pan. I learned from my Mom as a very young girl and have never had a problem with angel food or chiffon cakes. A note to people who claim to be good bakers and then throw out their results due to lack of taste - mash up some strawberries or make a rhubarb compote or use other fruit to drizzle over the pieces on the plate. I can't abide people who have no clue on how to save what they say is tasteless and end up wasting good food.

  • Dottiemm
    Apr 8, 2018

    This is delicious . Takes a little time but well worth it. Big hit with guests