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Lemon Chiffon Cake Recipe

Lemon Chiffon Cake Recipe

This moist, airy 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 YIELD:12-16 servings


  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • 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 peel
  • 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 peel
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • Dash salt


  • 1. Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Meanwhile, 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 peel 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. Yield: 16 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 345 calories, 13g fat (4g saturated fat), 100mg cholesterol, 288mg sodium, 54g carbohydrate (40g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

Reviews for Lemon Chiffon Cake

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Gretel86 User ID: 6962696 269336
Reviewed Jul. 11, 2017

"I made this for my mom for her birthday. She always loved the chiffon cakes my grandmother used to make and her favorite flavor is lemon. It turned out fantastic! I even had a recipe book from my grandmother with her banana chiffon cake recipe, and the ingredients for the cake are almost exactly the same (except for the fruit, of course). Also, the frosting for this cake is amazing! It tastes like Pez lemon candy to me (sweet and tart) and goes very well with the cake."

Sandra User ID: 9152319 265137
Reviewed Apr. 24, 2017

"My first attempt at making a chiffon cake. This is DIVINE! Thank you."

hchambers User ID: 7140928 253447
Reviewed Aug. 31, 2016

"Great cake! Everyone loved it! You can substitute lemon juice for water to give the cake a more intense lemon flavor."

ttfn999 User ID: 7587922 248758
Reviewed May. 28, 2016

"I live in Colorado so I was worried. Was my first try to a chiffon type cake and it was a success. I added a quarter cup of flour for the altitude, and used lemon juice for water. Otherwise followed the recipe exactly. Baked to 55 min and let it stay in there for another 7 min (aimed for 5 but got sidetracked). It fell out of the pan while cooling onto the plate I had it upside down over. Glad I planned for "just in case" since it raised only to the top of the pan. Picture perfect."

renoir User ID: 952846 247275
Reviewed Apr. 19, 2016

"This cake is fabulous!!! I made it for 2 separate occasions, both times to rave reviews. It's now one of my handful of go-to recipes. And, I should mention that I'm a professional baker."

cmrszippy User ID: 5784382 246544
Reviewed Apr. 3, 2016

"Made this cake, first time followed recipe. Only deviation from recipe was left in oven for 58 min. cake was perfect. Served it to family and friends and was a tremendous hit with all. Next time I make recipe I will substitute water with lemon juice and water. I would like to taste a little more lemon in cake. cake came out of tube pan perfectly and was very light and airy. Thanks for recipe submission - new favorite of mine."

teryn69 User ID: 6818421 245967
Reviewed Mar. 24, 2016

"Gosh, I don't know what I did wrong. Nothing, really. I followed the instructions, with the minor exceptions of changing water to lemon juice, used coconut oil instead of canola. The cake rose beautifully, browned nicely....then it was time to invert it. I have the only kind of tube pan I know, the kind with two parts. Inverting it made the bottom start to slide. Not to mention, they don't make ketchup bottles like they used to, my beer bottles neck was too large, I was out was of options! I was standing there, holding the thing upside down, while hubby looked frantically for something to set the cake on! That's when I saw that it was literally falling out of the pan! Oops! I don't think it's supposed to do that :( Doing so, it broke apart. Not just from the bottom, from the sides also. Ho-hum. This was to be my Easter dessert. Ah well...hopefully no one minds. The taste is delicious (I took off the broken top and sides). Next time, I think I'll do what my gut told me to do, and that's to put it in a bundt pan."

crazycreek User ID: 8651596 242545
Reviewed Jan. 25, 2016

"everyone loved this cake but the 2nd time I made it I used the lemon juice from the lemons instead of water, was just as awesome a wee bit more lemony"

phmarty User ID: 4416237 242001
Reviewed Jan. 18, 2016

"This cake took forever to make, was so looking forward to eating it, after grating all those lemons and wasting 7 eggs this was the worst cake I have ever made, will not be making this again...don't know what I did wrong ...good luck!,!!!!"

dcscake_OH User ID: 228890 241843
Reviewed Jan. 16, 2016

"i have made this cake for my family and they love lemon, so it is a real hit. It is so tender."

defig User ID: 6453932 241836
Reviewed Jan. 15, 2016

"I used to love the Betty Crocker orange chiffon cake mix they made many years ago. If I changed the lemon juice and zest to orange, do you think it would work?"

Galiahutchinson User ID: 8140477 241619
Reviewed Jan. 12, 2016 Edited Mar. 7, 2016

"I made the cake and icing just as written maybe a little more lemon juice in the icing. Mt husband and I thought it was delicious. Just what I was looking for, loved the tart sweetness. Thanks for sharing. My cake and icing looked exactly like the picture. I will make this for any special occasion.

I just wanted to add I have made this cake several times since the first one. I have made in chocolate, orange and coconut. All have been outstanding, this is a wonderful cake but the lemon is the very best. Thank you so much for posting the recipe. 6 stars at least."

806Texascook User ID: 8694562 241604
Reviewed Jan. 12, 2016

"I made this cake yesterday. Followed it step by step except I used a 9x13 pan instead (aluminum). Such a delicious cake. Moist and airy. Reminds me of angel food. The icing doesn't look anything like the picture, it actually was more like a glaze which was fantastic. This cake would be great with ice cream, right now I have it in the fridge and eating it cold. Warm w/ice cream, amazing!"

tholmes01 User ID: 8678093 240877
Reviewed Jan. 2, 2016

"Excellent recipe!

Like many others, I put in 1/2 a cup of lemon juice and 1/4 cup of water. I baked it in a 13x9 pan for about 30 minutes. I served it in the pan, but it came out easily. I did a two part frosting - for the first, I put down a thin layer (about 1 inch) of lemon curd, and then topped it with a lemon flavored whipped cream (whipped cream, powdered sugar and 1/4 cup lemon curd). Next time (when I hopefully don't need to transport it), I'll do it in rounds and use the lemon curd between layers."

SundanceGirl User ID: 7228365 238598
Reviewed Dec. 2, 2015

"Made this for father-in-laws 85th birthday as lemon is his favorite. It was a hit! Made it just as the recipe called for and will make it again. Stayed very moist for several days. Thank you"

lainey111 User ID: 7896228 229424
Reviewed Jul. 12, 2015

"I made this for after playing cards with neighbours. Absolutely a winner. I too used 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup water in the batter. Nice and lemony. Will definitely make again. Thanks so much for the recipe."

Oksewnsew User ID: 7336319 225024
Reviewed Apr. 18, 2015

"I made this this past Thurs. and OH MY it is delicious! I made it exactly like the recipe..It's so light and refreshing, will definitely be making it again."

linlin5050 User ID: 5587959 224447
Reviewed Apr. 8, 2015

"Everyone loved it, light and airy and a pure simple lemon flavor, will make again and again"

tsheets59 User ID: 8321440 224246
Reviewed Apr. 6, 2015

"I baked this recipe for our Easter dessert. It was really good the way it is, but I think I will try substituting lemon juice for the water in the cake. With all the grated lemon peel, you may as well use the juice from the lemons you use. I also didn't have a "tube" pan, so I used a deep Bundt pan. That worked fine except it was difficult to get it out of the pan. This recipe says to use an ungreased pan, but I think I will try a greased and lightly floured pan the next time. I thought the icing was too thick, I was wanting more of a glaze, so I used a little more lemon juice. Very tasty. This cake is not going to be light and fluffy like an angel food cake, it's more dense than that, as long as you know that from the start you won't be disappointed. If you want a light yellow cake, use store bought eggs. I used farm fresh eggs and it was pretty yellow. Your cake is not going to turn out like the picture unless all of the brown edges stay in the pan when you remove the cake. Good Luck! It's worth trying."

OhioBuckeye User ID: 4317760 222053
Reviewed Mar. 5, 2015

"So good!!! This cake was beautiful, light, moist, and delicious. I wanted to make sure my cake would taste lemony, so I used a 1/2 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice and only 1/4 cup of water. This gave it a beautifully lemon flavor. I would recommend making this change to the recipe. I cannot imagine a more perfect lemon cake. Every crumb of this cake was savored and enjoyed by my family and coworkers. I made the lemon frosting, but did not have any more lemon peel, so I substituted 1/2 tsp lemon extract in place of lemon peel. It wasn't as spreadable as I liked, so I added a little bit of milk so it could drizzle down the sides of the cake. The frosting was very lemony and delicious, but I'd prefer another type of frosting-- perhaps a buttercream. Surprisingly, the frosting by itself tasted like an amazing melt-in-your mouth lemon candy which I may make again as candy!"

linnylou306 User ID: 7206202 221096
Reviewed Feb. 22, 2015

"most excellent; my daughter loved it and asked for the recipe. It is really quite easy and turned out beautifully. It is a large cake so judge yourself accordingly--if your pan is on the small side, take out a bit of the batter."

1FatKitty User ID: 8248047 219850
Reviewed Feb. 6, 2015

"I'm an experienced baker and always looking for a new treat to customize. I baked the cake using 2 round pans. I added extra lemon zest to the cake--what can I say...I love lemon. I also added lemon curd in between the layers before frosting. I used a cream cheese icing with lemon juice and lemon zest. WOW!!! This has to be the lightest, fluffiest most delicious cake I've made in a while. This one is a keeper. I've read the other reviews and I think you might be mixing in your egg whites instead of folding them in gently. If you mix them, it deflates the proteins and adds moisture to the batter giving you a wet cake. I hope that tip helps and I sure hope you are up to trying this is just delicious!"

emilyhodges User ID: 8241468 219475
Reviewed Feb. 1, 2015

"I used this icing with a bought cake mix. It worked really well. I would use this icing for lemon cookies or sugar cookies. Next time I will use a different technique for the icing. My icing was a little lumpy. One day I hope to make the cake."

Denise4LasVegas User ID: 8199875 217008
Reviewed Jan. 5, 2015

"It tastes alright, could be more lemony for my taste. I'm also trying to figure out why it DOES NOT look anything like the picture, i.e., YELLOW!!!! The outside is a golden brown and the inside is white. Should I have used food coloring and then what about the outside of it?"

Cakebaker11 User ID: 8095603 92631
Reviewed Nov. 13, 2014 Edited Nov. 15, 2014

"I tried the cake and the top didn't bake!!! I baked it for sixty minutes and it still was mushy.

The stuff that baked was really good with raspberries though. I'm going to try again."

hitza User ID: 6053233 87932
Reviewed Jul. 22, 2014

"The frosting was just a tad heavy but still delicious."

patchccc User ID: 7889070 174538
Reviewed Jul. 14, 2014

"LEMON LOVERS DREAM - I was very hesitant to make a homemade cake, let alone a Chiffon cake. Absolutely delicious. Made this for a 4th of july party. Everyone loved it and some came back for seconds. Followed the recipe to exact, using fresh lemons. I had read the reviews on the frosting/glaze but I found it was just perfect. Make sure you GENTLY fold in egg whites. If not, cake will be more dense instead of "chiffon".."

canadiangirl25 User ID: 7856214 174533
Reviewed Jun. 19, 2014

"I made this last night, I didn't have fresh lemons to get lemon zest so I used lemon juice from the bottle I inverted it over night. I made a lemon glaze with some of the lemon juice milk and icing sugar. I invited my mom over today to taste it with me and it is one of the best cakes I have ever made my mom loved it so much she took some home to share with her husband definitely will be making it again. Not sure why it didn't work out for some people maybe they didnt bake it long enough or preheat the oven or it could be the folding in of the egg whites because you dont want to lose all that air you whipped into them so you have to do it delicately"

cflinta1 User ID: 6535043 173423
Reviewed Apr. 22, 2014

"Excellent cake! I agree with gjfarm1, the frosting is too heavy for the cake. Next time I'll just do a glaze for the finishing touch and maybe add lemon extract to the cake for a bit more flavor. Great recipe definitely a keeper"

gjfarm1 User ID: 7444945 173421
Reviewed Apr. 16, 2014

"Excellent cake! Frosting too heavy for such a lite time will dust with powered sugar. Used 2 tsps. lemon juice instead of all that lemon zest in cake also.....tasted amazing! Looking forward to baking this one again."

RaggsMom User ID: 7597059 104824
Reviewed Mar. 29, 2014

"Make this a layer cake....add lemon curd between layers and frost with whipped cream!! Fabulous !!!!"

waynepat User ID: 1352809 177596
Reviewed Mar. 28, 2014

"very good"

lorstout User ID: 2537668 161672
Reviewed Mar. 9, 2014

"Definitely a keeper! The texture is a little like sponge cake, very moist with great lemon flavor."

Danerlea User ID: 875081 141537
Reviewed Aug. 27, 2013

"This makes me think of lemon angel food cake. It turned out well- moist and tasty. I think the next time I make it I may try to make the cake more lemony and the frosting more mild."

TaraQ User ID: 7309410 173392
Reviewed Jun. 25, 2013

"I am not a great baker...until now! This was easy, delicious and we have now made it 4 times in 2 weeks."

tiachic User ID: 7306136 158810
Reviewed Jun. 18, 2013

"This was one of the best cakes I've ever made. It was light and fluffy and the lemon flavour was incredible."

megan3171 User ID: 4906228 100968
Reviewed Apr. 1, 2013

"Very lemony, very yummy."

cathy-the-baker User ID: 7162415 157060
Reviewed Mar. 6, 2013

"Just like a cake my mom made when I was a kid. Love it!"

Michele.Y User ID: 6859589 113362
Reviewed Sep. 13, 2012

"I've always been a successful chiffon cake baker but I thought I'd try a new recipe instead of what I do regularly. This recipe didn't turn out for me. It was very dense for a chiffon cake. I also used the juice of 4 lemons to get the lemony taste that I like."

tfb1108 User ID: 3715262 177594
Reviewed Aug. 26, 2012

"Chiffon cakes have been a staple in our family since several members discovered an allergy to milk proteins so we have to avoid all things dairy. This recipe is wonderful, even without the glaze. It baked up beautifully. The lemon flavor is not overwhelming so it can easily be served without concerns. However, as I am a lover of lemon, I will take the suggestions of over reviewers and substitute lemon juice for some, if not all of the water. Enjoy!"

LMG247 User ID: 6789961 158809
Reviewed Jul. 25, 2012

"This recipe has been in my Boyfriend's Family for years! It varies slightly from the recipe that I have, but it still tastes the same! I add shredded coconut around all sides of the cake once the frosting is on. It's a big hit!"

tnbshepperd User ID: 4246539 104823
Reviewed Jul. 2, 2012

"made this for my (and my daughter) birthday last night and my family LOVED it! The cake is very fluffy and light. It is light in flavor, but not bland. The majority of the lemon flavor comes from the frosting which is PLENTY sweet and tart!

I would absolutely make this again. We had no problems with it at all."

Tracey1967 User ID: 6742359 173388
Reviewed Jun. 17, 2012

"I have made this cake twice with the same disappointing result. The taste is fine, but both times it was very undercooked. It did spring back when I tested it, but both times the cake fell out of the pan while inverted. I followed the recipe. I am an experienced baker. This cake recipe just does not produce a good result. I will find another next time."

shecooksalot User ID: 5888460 161654
Reviewed Jun. 27, 2011

"I didn't really like the taste of this cake. I was expecting a much different, I guess more lemony flavor. I agree with the other reviewers who said it tasted a bit bland.

However, it did bake up really nice and I was rather impressed with how beautiful it looked. I just wish the taste was different."

Ryled1 User ID: 5325544 105089
Reviewed Aug. 12, 2010

"If you love lemons, then this is the cake for you. If your not a big fan, then you might not like the cake. I love all things lemon. I substituted 2 parts lemon juice or 1/2 cup then added in 1/4cup of water, for cake recipe. Some reviewers said cake was too bland. It tasted great w/lemon juice added in. I wIll try 3 parts lemon jc, next time instead of water. I also used a reg 9x13 pan bc I dont have tube pan. Still came out nice, just more dense, bc chiffon couldnt climb sides of pan. Still very nice cake. Love this cake recipe! My sis wanted it too after tasting it."

grensrud User ID: 4501110 104822
Reviewed Jul. 29, 2010

"Was very good - although I've made it twice and maybe it's my pan...but the batter has leaked through the bottom a bit before the cake starts to bake. I replaced the lemon peel with lemon extract as well. I also learned the second time to add a bit more lemon juice to the frosting or else it is too thick to melt down the sides of the cake as shown in the picture. Doesn't affect the taste, but doesn't look as pretty. Either way is a great cake, very tasty and a huge hit both times!"

conservativegranny User ID: 1697788 177592
Reviewed May. 18, 2010

"I made this for our Mother's Day gathering. It was a huge hit! Very lemony (I used fresh lemons) light and moist. It tasted like lemonade. I could have eaten it without the frosting. A bit too much lemon for me but the rest of the gang loved it. I would make it and instead top with strawberries and some whipped cream."

time2cook User ID: 1877649 174008
Reviewed Apr. 15, 2010

"Just ok. Liked the lemon flavor, but the cake was dry, not moist at all. Icing was good, but the cake was a little dense and bland. Maybe a box of instant lemon pudding would add flavor and moisture?"

TERIJUNE User ID: 4871839 87931
Reviewed Mar. 22, 2010

"I made this cake yesterday afternoon. I'm not sure if I did something wrong, but when I took the cake out oven after performing the "spring test" and inverted it, a bunch of gloppy cake oozed out. I turned it back over and put it back in the oven for quite some time. I haven't tried the cake yet, but I'm questioning what I could have done wrong."

xicota User ID: 944314 104994
Reviewed Mar. 21, 2010

"Yes, Abby21, lemon peel and lemon zest are the same---zest is achieved with a "bar zester". This tool "shaves" the peel from the fruit in fine shreds, with no pith. I wouldn't be without this handy gadget! I also use it when I make marmalades. Your idea of replacing some of the water w/juice I will definitely try."

Abby_21 User ID: 1024283 141530
Reviewed Mar. 20, 2010

"There..cake is tasted and sampled. I will definitely make it again, but the cake itself is quite bland. Think I would try it next time using 1/4 c lemon juice and 1/2 c. water instead of 3/4 c. water. The lemon peel just didn't add much flavour and lemons here are 89 cents a piece. I left the peel out of the frosting because of the cost. It was nice and tangy!"

Abby_21 User ID: 1024283 100963
Reviewed Mar. 20, 2010

"I'm just making this right now because it sounds fantastic. One question: is grated lemon peel the same thing as lemon zest?"

vellenww User ID: 3022831 141529
Reviewed Mar. 19, 2010

"I have made this cake about 5 or 6 times - and it is a winner! Everyone loves it and is serves a lot of people."

larain User ID: 3096196 161652
Reviewed May. 7, 2009

"This is a wonderful cake! I'm making it again!"

sandyshores User ID: 2724858 161586
Reviewed Apr. 13, 2009

"This was delicious! The cake was subtle while the icing packed a punch. My family loved it. I will definately make it again."

smfeldner User ID: 3400556 158807
Reviewed Apr. 12, 2009

"I made this dessert for our family's Easter dinner. It was gone in seconds. A huge hit! Served with strawberry-rhubarb compote. Will definitely make again."

sharvey User ID: 2449678 113361
Reviewed Apr. 1, 2009

"this was great! I added more lemon to mine, but it was fabulous!"

jordynnsmommy User ID: 3687676 104820
Reviewed Mar. 30, 2009

"This is my absolute favorite cake! I love most things lemon and this is a great recipe. I just add a bit more lemon juice to the frosting to make it extra strong."

pbehnke User ID: 2821491 157059
Reviewed Feb. 2, 2009

"This may be an airy cake, but it also seemed heavy - did not like the texture - don't know if I did something wrong, but thought I followed all the directions. There has to be a better lemon cake recipe out there -- I'll keep looking"

imuscle User ID: 3828184 209861
Reviewed Jan. 24, 2009

"I guess I bake too much, this cake was one of the worst tasting I have ever made. The cake is airy allright...and very something you would buy prepackaged in a very cheap food store. I couldn't even finish the first piece and threw the rest away. For me, this was a waste of good lemons."

onawhim2 User ID: 981033 92629
Reviewed Dec. 29, 2008

"My husband LOVES this tasty cake - and it's really not all that difficult, considering the amazing results!"

kay52178 User ID: 1593546 113360
Reviewed Aug. 4, 2008

"This cake was just ok to me. I didn't find it to be airy, it seemed very dense to me."

gbc User ID: 1270085 174007
Reviewed May. 22, 2008

"It is a wonderful light and airey cake. The lemon taste is great. It was best the first day but still good the second day. Too many calories though but very good."

RustyStickers User ID: 2227937 92627
Reviewed Apr. 7, 2008

"This cake WAS wonderful! The frosting tasted very sweet in the bowl but after sitting on the cake overnight it was perfect. The cake is light, airy, tender and deliciously lemony. The frosting is the perfect combination of sweet, tart and wonderful!"

clericalrose User ID: 464381 172439
Reviewed Apr. 4, 2008

"Made it love it and will make it again. Thank you for sharing."

rdrover49 User ID: 762278 172437
Reviewed Mar. 31, 2008

"OMG, I made this cake for Sunday dinner and my family raved over it. My son has been wanting a lemon meringue pie, but I seen this recipe and decided to make it. I'm glad I did. It was wonderful. I plan on making it more often now. I was so easy. Thanks for sharing it."

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