Lemon Chiffon Cake with Cream cheese frosting is a delightful cake flavored with lemon zest, then frosted with the a creamy and bright lemon cream cheese! Perfect chiffon cake texture, and the frosting is very simple but next level-good!
This is my tested and go- to chiffon cake that is tall, fat and fluffy. I would not have it any other way! I have incorporated many flavors in it like in this Mocha Chiffon Cake and Pineapple Chiffon Cake.
Based on this Vanilla Chiffon Cake recipe, this Lemon Chiffon Cake is perfectly flavored with lemon zest. It is bright, ever so subtle and not overpowering!
Lemon Chiffon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing
I have gotten many raving comments for this chiffon cake. It comes out soft, airy and with an elegant height. This cake is finished with a simple lemon cream cheese icing- it is a stunner for any dining table!
If you need a celebration cake, but not the layered or fully iced ones- this is it! And with this kind of cake, no serious decorating skill is needed. Win-win for me!
So you are not only sure that is is delicious and drool worthy- you are guaranteed to have an elegant looking cake with just minimal effort! Also check out Cheese Chiffon Cake and Chocolate Chiffon Cake.
- Eggs. The eggs are separated in this recipe. A chiffon cake gets its airy texture from the whipped egg whites. The yolks are beaten together with sugar, the oil, water, vanilla extract and lemon zest.
- All-Purpose flour. Whisked together with the salt and baking powder, the mixture makes up the dry ingredients in the cake.
- Lemon Zest. The main flavoring ingredient in the cake, a few teaspoons gives a pleasant and perfect lemon flavor.
- Baking powder. Together with the whipped egg whites, the baking powder makes the cake rise to its beautiful height.
- See the complete ingredients in the recipe card.
The Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream Cheese. The base for the icing. It adds richness and it is a perfect base for flavoring.
- Lemon Juice. Fresh lemon juice adds just the right level of flavor. However, you can adjust the amount to the flavor level you prefer.
- Icing Sugar. You can also adjust the amount of sugar to you liking, both in the consistency and sweetness.
Lemon Chiffon Cake Process
- Beat the Egg Whites. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add in the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar while the mixer runs, until stiff peaks form.
- Make the Yolk Mixture. In a mixing bowl, whisk yolks, sugar, lemon zest, oil water and vanilla.
- Add the Dry Ingredients. Gradually sift the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder) mixture over this yolk mixture, beating with a whisk until smooth.
- Fold the Egg Whites to the Yolk batter. Gently fold the beaten egg whites gradually into the yolk batter. The resulting mixture should be streak-free and uniform in color.
- Pour and Bake. Bake the cake at 350 F for 55-65 minutes, or until the top is golden and a kinife gently inserted at the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Cool the Cake. Cool the cake inverted on an overturned mug.
- Spread the Frosting on the Cake. Spread the lemon cream cheese frosting on top of the cake. You can also pipe the icing for a more elaborate decoration. I used the back of the spoon to make rough mermaid scales pattern on the cake.
Step by Step Photos
Pointers and Tips
- The eggs and water for the cake should be at room temperature for the optimal volume of the cake. I separate the eggs while they are still cold from the fridge, then I let them sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
- The cream cheese should be softened so take it out from the fridge ahead of time, at least 20-30 minutes early, but this depends on your surroundings.
- You can add more or less lemon juice in the frosting to your preference. If the frosting is too thin to spread, add icing sugar gradually until desired consistency is achieved.
Questions About the Recipe
Chiffon cakes are generally more airy and spongy than a butter cake. In comparison, butter cake will be on the moist and dense side. This is because chiffon cake (very similar to sponge cake) gets its rise from the whipped egg whites.
This prevents the cake from collapsing on its own height as it cools. When it is overturned and elevated, more airflow and steam passes through both sides ( top and bottom), and it being inverted allows the cake to retain its height.
Lemon Chiffon Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Chiffon Cake
- 7 egg yolks from large eggs
- 1½ cups sugar divided
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup canola oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tsp lemon zest about 3 lemons
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 7 egg whites from large eggs
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
For the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest to sprinkle on top
Make the Chiffon Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Using a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar. Continue beating at medium high speed until the egg whites are opaque and are forming soft peaks.
- With the mixer running, gradually beat in 1/2 cup of the sugar, until the whites form stiff peaks. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl, use a wire whisk to stir together the yolks, remaining sugar, lemon zest, oil and vanilla extract until pale in color and a bit frothy.
- Sift the flour mixture gradually over the yolk mixture, beating the flour well after each addition. keep beating until the batter is smooth and no lumps of flour remain.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the yolk batter in three additions. Make sure the color is uniform and no streaks off egg whites remain.
- Pour the batter into a 10 inch tube pan. Run a knife across the batter to remove any air pockets. Also, tap it lightly against the counter once or twice. Bake the pineapple cake at 350 F for 55-65 minutes, or until the cake is nicely golden and springs back to the touch.
- To cool the cake, let it rest on an overturned mug ( see post picture).
Unmold the Cake
- run a spatula or knife along the sides of the pan. Gently press the cake sides inwards to release any parts that are still stuck. Carefully release the outer pan.
- To release the center tube, run a knife along the bottom of the pan. Gently press the cake down and away from the tube to release any stuck parts. Carefully lift the cake and turn it over on cake stand or cake plate.
Frost the Cake
- Spread the lemon cream cheese on top of the cake until the top is fully covered (Optional decorating tip in the recipe notes). Sprinkle lemon zest all over the frosting for added brightness and garnish.
How to Make the Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the icing sugar and lemon juice until combined.
- The eggs should be at room temperature. For ease, separate the eggs while they are still cold, then let them sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.
- The cream cheese should be softened for best results. Take it out of the fridge ahead of time ( depends on how warm your climate is).
- You can adjust the icing consistency by adding more icing sugar to thicken it, or more lemon juice to thin it down and give it more flavor.
- TO decorate the icing, you can pipe some flowers on top using a piping bag. Or you can use the back of the spoon to make some indentions on the icing ( like mermaid scales) after you spread it out.
- Store the cake in a tightly covered container for up to 3 days. To serve. let it come to room temperature first.