Friday, March 29, is National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day–which we guess commemorates that day back in the 1920s when an insurance salesman by the name of Harry Baker invented the chiffon cake. That already makes us feel bad. We get paid to hang out in the kitchen and still haven’t invented anything. Anyway, Harr sold his new confection to the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles, but kept the recipe a closely guarded secret. It wasn’t until twenty years later that he sold it to the General Mills company for an undisclosed sum of money.
In 1948, the chiffon recipe made its grand debut in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine, where General Mills marketed it as “the first new cake in 100 years.” The secret recipe called for vegetable oil instead of butter or shortening, and instructed the maker to beat the egg whites and yolks separately. It became a huge sensation!
Today, chiffon cake comes in many flavors including chocolate, orange, walnut, maple and of course, lemon. The light, fluffy texture of the lemon chiffon is why it has its own special day of the year, and we intend to give it its due. Celebrate National Lemon Chiffon Day by making the following recipe for your family and friends. Pay close attention to the instructions for how to prepare the eggs–that’s the key to this recipe’s lighter-than-air texture. And speaking of eggs–you can toss some jelly beans on top of a Lemon Chiffon Cake and have an instant Easter dessert. We’re even adding a cute yellow toy chick on top of the one that we made. So that’s good timing…
- 7 eggs, separated
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 4-1/2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- Dash salt
- Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, water, oil, lemon peel and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and beat until well blended. Add cream of tartar to egg whites; beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter.
- Gently spoon into an ungreased 10-in. tube pan. Cut through batter with a knife to remove air pockets. Bake on the lowest oven rack at 325° for 50-55 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert pan; cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Run a knife around side and center tube of pan. Remove cake to a serving plate. In a small bowl, combine frosting ingredients; beat until smooth. Spread over top of cake, allowing frosting to drape down the sides. Yield: 12-16 servings.