Friday, June 10, 2011

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Lemon Chiffon Cake

When I saw the picture of this cake featured in the Williams-Sonoma cookbook The Essentials of Baking, I imagined something luscious and buttery, dense and tangy.

In reality, this is an extremely light cake, almost like an angel food cake with hints of lemon in it. I added some whipped cream and a strawberry coulis to dress it up. It would be perfect for tea or a summer afternoon outdoor party as a light dessert.

Lemon Chiffon Cake
(adapted from Williams-Sonoma Baking)

4 lemons
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup water
6 large eggs, separated, room temp
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Citrus glaze:
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tbsp lemon juice (plus extra if needed)
1 tbsp heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325.  Grate zest from lemons and set aside.  Juice the lemons and strain until you have 1/2 cup of juice.  

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a large bowl, whisk together oil, water, egg yolks, lemon juice, and lemon zest until fully combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until batter is smooth.

In a stand mixer, combine egg whites and cream of tartar, then whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.

Gently fold half the white into the batter until almost fully incorporated.  Add remaining whites and gentle fold until just combined.  Pour batter evenly into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom.

Bake the cake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and invert the pan so air can circulate around the cake.  Cool completely inside the pan upside down, about 45 minutes.

Loosen the cake from the sides, then use the center tube to pull cake out of the pan.  Then remove the pan bottom from the cake.

To make the citrus glaze, whisk together all ingredients until glaze is smooth.  Add more liquid if it's too thick or more powdered sugar if it's too thin.  Place the cake on a rack and put some parchment paper underneath to catch the glaze.  Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.  

Serve with whipped cream and strawberry coulis (pureed strawberries with a bit of lemon juice and sugar to taste).  

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