Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lemon Strawberry Chiffon Layer Cake

It's over. Passover has come and gone, and I am more than happy to return to cakes, cakes and more cakes. So while I haven't managed to whip up any confections since the holiday ended...yesterday, I do have several things I've been counting down the days until I could share with you. Like this towering layer cake...a delicate chiffon cake filled with lemon curd and covered in a lemon-strawberry buttercream.

 If I could only say one thing about this cake, it would be: delicious. With a capital D. This thing disappeared in 24 hours in my house, which is quite a feat. 
Unfortunately by the time I got around to taking photos of this dessert the sun was just starting to set, so the pictures don't quite do all the delicious-ness justice, but I have faith that you will be able to overlook that and bake this immediately.
I didn't let it stop me from sampling immediately after completion. Promise. 
Because I'm paranoid about all sorts of things I kept this cake in the fridge, and served it at room temperature. I think the lemon curd filling really does dictate a stay in the fridge, but I won't tell you what to do...except I just did. Bring it out at least a 1/2 hour before serving to come to room temperature.

Tip of the Day: Whenever I have to beat egg whites separately from yolks, I use my stand mixer and bowl for the whites, and either use a whisk for the yolks, or convert the stand mixer to a hand mixer with clean beaters. Whites need more time and faster speed to whip, so it is much easier in the stand mixer.

Recipe: (Inspired by and adapted from this, this, this, this and this

5 eggs, separated
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour plus 3 tablespoons cornstarch ( or 1 cup plus 3 tbsp cake flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

 Beat the egg yolks and 2/3 cup sugar together until pale yellow and thick. 
Add the water, oil and vanilla and beat to combine.
Add in the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine. Set aside. 
Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and 2 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form. 
Dump 1/3 of the egg whites into the cake batter and stir to combine, then gently fold in the remaining whites until smooth. 
Divide the batter among 2, greased 9-inch round cake pans. 
Bake on 325 F for about 20 to 30 minutes, paying close attention.

Lemon Curd: 
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1 cup fresh lemon juice (4-5 lemons)
zest of 3 lemons - about 3 teaspoons
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

Whisk together the sugar and eggs in a microwave proof bowl until combined. Pour in the lemon juice and lemon zest and whisk until well mixed, then add in butter and continue whisking until uniform.
Microwave at 1 minute intervals, stirring at each break. Jamie at My Baking Addiction says it should take 3 to 5 minutes; I took exactly 5 1/2, switching to 30 second intervals after 4 minutes. Let cool to at least room temperature before using. 

Strawberry-Lemon Frosting:
½ cup butter or margarine, softened
½ cup shortening
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 pound icing sugar
½ cup fresh or frozen strawberries, pureed with ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 to 3 tablespoons cold milk

Beat the butter, shortening and lemon zest together until well mixed. Gradually add in the confectioners sugar, beating until smooth. 
Add in the strawberry puree, and beat until evenly distributed. 
Add in the milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the right consistency is created. 

To assemble:
When your 9-inch layers are completely cool, slice in half. Place one half on a cake plate, with a dollop of frosting underneath to stay in place. Spread 1/3 of the lemon curd on top, top with another layer, and continue until all layers are stacked. 
Spread a thin layer of frosting on the outside of the cake, then refrigerate for 20 minutes - this is your crumb coat. 
Continue with the frosting, cover the top and sides of the cake, then smooth. Use any extra frosting to pipe decorations.


  1. My mouth is watering! Looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

  2. That strawberry lemon frosting looks amazing!

  3. the chiffon in the two pans came out VERY thin which made it very difficult to half. and the strawberry frosting came out more like a pudding consistency but i hope it will still taste delicious but it definitely does not look the way yours came out but then again you are way more experienced. thanks for the recipe though!

  4. Yes, the cake layers are thin, you don't necessarily have to half them. Not sure what your frosting is like without more details but I hope it still comes out well!


  5. just made this cake- it was a huge hit- but had a bit of trouble with the curd- the egg whites sort of cooked in the curd leaving me with scrambled eggs and it didnt quite thicken- any advice?????

    1. Yes, you probably cooked it both too high and without constant whisking. Even so, most professional chefs strain curd after cooking just in case. Lately I've been having alot of success with this microwave lemon curd:


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