Lemon Chiffon Cake

Total Time

Prep: 30 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling


16 servings

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
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


  • 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


  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Run a knife around sides and center tube of pan. Remove cake to a serving plate.
  6. 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.