The aroma is in the lemon chiffon cake; the tang is in the glaze. Why? Because the lemon zest went into the cake while the lemon juice went into the glaze. If you have’t discovered it yet, lemon zest is highly aromatic but without any substantial tang. It is the juice that is really acidic.
This lemon chiffon cake is best served as soon as the glaze is poured over it. That is when the sharp contrast between sweet and tangy is most pronounced. Left for several hours, the flavors blend and turn mellow. Still delicious but it is really the sharp sweet-tangy contrast that makes this cake stand out.
As with any chiffon-type cake, a tube pan is the ideal baking pan. I use silicone, eight inches in diameter, which is naturally non-stick. If you are using a regular pan (not non-stick), you may have to grease the pan and line it with parchment paper. You’re on your own there — the very reason I use silicone is to skip the greasing-flouring-lining part.
- 1 and ¼ c. of cake flour
- ¾ c. of granulated sugar (I used vanilla sugar), divided
- 1 tsp. of baking powder
- ½ tsp. of salt
- ¼ c. of palm oil
- 4 large eggs, separated
- finely grated zest of one lemon (see guide)
- ⅓ c. of milk (I used skim milk)
- about 10 drops of yellow food color, optional
- For the lemon glaze:
- 1 c. of powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
- 1 tbsp. of lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Sift together the flour, half of the sugar, baking powder and salt.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the oil, egg yolks, lemon zest, food color (if using) and milk.
- Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture; mix until smooth.
- Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Continue beating, adding the remaining sugar little by little, until stiff.
- Add about a quarter cup of the egg whites to the flour-oil mixture. Whisk lightly. Add the remaining egg whites and fold in until blended.
- Pour into the tube pan. Bake until a skewer inserted down the middle comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.
- Cool the cake in the pan with the pan upside down. Loosen the cake and invert onto a plate.
- Make the glaze by mixing together the powdered sugar and lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but still of pouring consistency. If the glaze doesn’t drop off a spoon, add a few more drops of lemon juice until it is just pourable. You need to use the glaze immediately as it solidifies within minutes.
- Using a spoon, drizzle the glaze over the cake.
- Cut and serve the lemon chiffon cake.