Lemon Chiffon Cake

lemon chiffon cake with raspberries

Lemon Chiffon Cake is a famously fluffy lemon sponge cake that’s delicious on its own or topped with whipped cream and berries. The ultra light texture makes this cake a summer favorite.

lemon chiffon cake is a game changer

It may not be such a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but in the little universe that is our kitchen, a great new cake recipe can be a game changer. This one is different from anything I’ve shared before, in fact I had to get a brand new tube pan for it, and now we’re obsessed.

the history of chiffon cakes

“The recipe is credited to Harry Baker (1883–1974), a Californian insurance salesman turned caterer. Baker kept the recipe secret for 20 years until he sold it to General Mills, which spread the recipe through marketing materials in the 1940s and 1950s under the name “chiffon cake”, and a set of 14 recipes and variations was released to the public in a Betty Crocker pamphlet published in 1948.”


let’s talk texture (it’s dreamy)

You can’t have a discussion about lemon chiffon cake without talking texture. Woa. Light, spongey, feathery, airy, diaphanous…and it slices like a dream. It’s really unlike any other type of cake, and so worth making. You can eat a piece and hardly even know it!

The secret to the fluffy texture of a chiffon cake is that it’s made with oil, not butter, and the egg whites are beaten before being folded into the batter. This results in an airy sponge-like cake that stays moist and tender longer than regular cakes.

everything you need to know about chiffon cakes

What’s the difference between a chiffon cake and an angel food cake?

Both cakes are tall and light and baked in a tube pan, and both are made with beaten egg whites, but chiffon cakes contain oil and egg yolks, while angel food cakes do not. A chiffon cake has a slightly more open, spongy texture than an angel food cake. A chiffon cake is a little richer, with better flavor, and a more appealing texture, in my opinion.

How do I get my egg whites to whip up nice and fluffy?

Make sure your bowl and beaters are clean and free from oil. Even a tiny bit of oil can deflate your whites. Use a glass or metal bowl, not plastic, and room temperature egg whites beat up easier than cold.

Can you over whip egg whites?

Yes, you can. You want to whip them until they just hold their peaks when you lift up your beaters. If you beat them too much they’ll get coarse and grainy.

Do I have to use a tube pan for chiffon cake?

Chiffon and angel food cakes are super delicate, and the structure of a tube pan helps them rise tall. You can theoretically bake this batter in other pans but you’d have to adjust the amount of batter for the pan (the cake rises high and can overflow.) It would still need to be cooled upside down.

Why do you cool a chiffon cake upside down?

Chiffon cakes are very airy and light, so cooling the cake upside down takes pressure off the just baked cake and ensures that it won’t collapse. If your pan has ‘legs’ like mine, below, that makes it easy.

Cooling a lemon chiffon cake in an inverted tube pan.

Can I make a gluten free chiffon cake?

You can use a good gluten free baking mix in place of the all purpose flour in this cake.

Can I make this cake without the lemon?

Yes, leave out the lemon juice, zest, and extract. Add more water to compensate for the lemon juice, and extra vanilla extract in place of the lemon extract.

lemon chiffon cake dusted with powdered sugar

lemon chiffon cake has a subtle lemon flavor

This isn’t one of those super tangy lemon cakes like my lemon velvet sheet cake or lemon drizzle cake. This one speaks in soft citrusy tones, but is no less delicious. Sponge cakes need flavoring to make them interesting, whether it’s vanilla, almond, rum, chocolate, or some sort of citrus. I think a lime or orange version of this cake would be delicious.

You can double down on the lemon flavor in this cake depending on how you serve it. If you like you can make a simple glaze with powdered sugar and lemon juice to spoon over the top (see instructions in the recipe notes.)

how to serve lemon chiffon cake

This cake is a blank slate for so many different serving variations (the flat top makes it easy to decorate.) It can totally work on its own with just a dusting of powdered sugar, but if you want to take it to the next level, you have options.

  • the most traditional way to serve this cake is with whipped cream and fresh berries. It’s simple and classy. You can pile them on top of the cake, or just serve them on the side.
  • macerate strawberries for a juicy topping: toss sliced berries with sugar and let sit for at least 30 minutes to coax out the juices.
  • it lends itself to all sorts of glazes, from chocolate or vanilla bean to lemon. Spread it over the top and let it drip over the sides. Delicious.
  • a full on fruit sauce like strawberry, raspberry or cherry would be really nice. Blueberries go especially well with lemon.
  • serve with lemon curd on the side.
  • drizzle with chocolate or caramel sauce.
  • frost the entire cake with a sweetened whipped cream or a simple buttercream frosting.
  • it’s excellent as a base for any flavor ice cream you like. Serve a slice topped with a scoop and the spongy cake will absorb the melting ice cream…it’s wonderful.

more lemony desserts

lemon chiffon cake with raspberries
5 from 22 votes

Lemon Chiffon Cake

Lemon Chiffon Cake is a famously light and fluffy lemon sponge cake that's delicious on its own or served with whipped cream and berries.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yield 18 servings
Calories 197kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 10" angel food cake tube pan


  • 8 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • zest of two large lemons (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • Preheat oven to 325F. Have a 10 inch angel food tube pan ready, but don't grease.
  • Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar just until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
    Whisking dry ingredients for lemon chiffon cake.
  • Add the egg yolks, oil, water, lemon zest, lemon juice, and extracts to the flour mixture, and whisk well, until very smooth.
    Whisking wet ingredients for lemon chiffon cake.
  • Add a small amount of the beaten egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and fold together gently until well combined.
    Folding egg whites into batter for lemon chiffon cake.
  • Add the egg yolk mixture slowly back into the rest of the egg whites, in a few batches, folding everything together gently between each addition until everything is combined. Don't over mix, and be gentle so you don't lose all that air you whipped into the egg whites.
    Folding egg whites into the batter for lemon chiffon cake.
  • Pour the batter into an ungreased 10 inch angel food cake pan.
    lemon chiffon cake batter in pan
  • Bake for 55 minutes, then turn the oven temperature up to 350F and bake for about 10 more minutes, until a tooth pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely with the pan turned upside down. You can invert your pan over a bottle to let it cool, or if your pan has little legs like mine does, you can rest it on those. When it's cool, gently run a thin knife between the cake and the edge of the pan, and remove the cake from the pan.
    Cooling a lemon chiffon cake in an inverted tube pan.
  • Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries, if desired.
    Lemon chiffon cake on a white plate with a bowl of raspberries and a jar of whipped cream.

Cook’s notes

  • For this cake you do not grease the pan, this way the batter can cling to the walls of the pan to help it rise high. It does help to have a pan in good condition. If your pan is old or scratched, the cake may be more difficult to remove.
  • To make a simple citrus glaze for your cake, whisk together 2 cups confectioner’s sugar with about 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice to form a glaze. Spread over the top of the cooled cake and let drip down the sides.
*recipe lightly adapted from King Arthur Flour


Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 159mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 106IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    May 18, 2022 at 4:09 pm

    5 stars
    I’m baking this cake now…looks awesome…was wondering if you could make it as a layer cake instead of in a tube pan?

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      May 18, 2022 at 4:20 pm

      I haven’t tried that Kim but I’m sure you can.

  • Reply
    March 10, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    5 stars
    I’m baking this cake right now and it’s beautiful as it’s raising up in the oven. I didn’t feel like I had to beat myself up as I made it, just kind of threw it together, no crazy unnecessary prep. My only question is the zest from the lemons. 2 lemons zested is far more than 2 tsp. I used it all because you can never have too much lemon flavor.

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      March 10, 2022 at 4:00 pm

      Thanks Diana, and I changed that to 2 Tbsp, don’t know how that happened, and you are right, you can NEVER have too much lemon flavor 🙂

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