« Back to the list

Mom's Chiffon Cake with Lemon Curd




Recipe from Ciao Italia Family Classics



My mother made this cake so often she could do it by heart. A chiffon cake was popular in the '50s and '60s. There isn't any butter in this cake; it uses oil and beaten egg whites with baking powder to provide the leavening. A chiffon cake differs from a sponge cake in that a sponge cake is oil- and butter-free, and relies on egg yolks for fat. Both these cakes are known as foam cakes because of the beaten egg whites that are folded into the batter. Mom's chiffon cake is delicious and light, and doesn't need any other embellishment, but for a special occasion, I like to fill it with a lemon curd. To make the assembly easy, make the curd a couple of days ahead.

Number of Servings

Makes one 10-inch cake


2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 eggs, separated
3/4 cup water at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or orange liqueur
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup whipping cream
Lemon Curd
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preparation - Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla and orange zest. Beat with a whisk or hand-held mixer until smooth.

2. Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Fold into egg
yolk mixture.

3. Pour into a 10-inch ungreased tube pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a cake skewer inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. The cake should be golden brown and firm to the touch.

4. Immediately remove the cake from the oven and prop upside down, placing the open funnel of the tube pan over the neck of a wine bottle. This allows the cake to cool without collapsing. When the pan is cool to the touch, run a butter knife around the inside edges, remove the cake from the pan and set aside.

5. Whip the cream until it is stiff and fold into the Lemon Curd.

6. Split the cake horizontally into three layers with a serrated knife, and spread some of the curd mixture equally between the layers. Reassemble the cake.

7. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar and cut with a serrated knife to serve.

Lemon Curd

Makes 1 3/4 cups

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (about 4 lemons or 6 large limes)
1 tablespoon grated lemon or lime zest
1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
_ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork

1. Combine the lemon or lime juice, zest, sugar, butter and salt in the top of a double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar no longer feels gritty in the bottom of the pan. Slowly pour in the eggs, stirring constantly with a spoon or whisk, and cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

2. Transfer the curd to a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.