Meyer lemons are one of my favorite citrus along with my favorite Japanese citrus Yuzu. Although it is now almost end of the season for Meyer lemons (from December through May), I wanted to share this delicious Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake that I’ve been making for the past few months.
Airy, Fluffy, Not-So-Sweet Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake
Chiffon cake has been one of my favorite desserts to make at home. It’s easy and straight forward, as long as you know how to make a delicate, frothy meringue with egg whites and sugar.
The sponge is so light, airy, fluffy… Even after eating a slice, it feels like you didn’t eat any! It’s a perfect light snack or dessert to go with your coffee or tea.
What is Meyer Lemon?
Some of you may not have heard of Meyer lemons. I didn’t know this type of citrus fruit until I came to the United States. When I Googled Meyer lemon, I found out it is actually native to China (that was unexpected) and introduced to the U.S. in 1908.
But it didn’t become popular until the end of 1990s when chefs like Alice Waters at Chez Panisse started to use in “California Cuisine” and Martha Stewart featured in her recipes (source).
Meyer lemons are moderately acidic and do not have the tangy flavor as regular lemons. They even taste slightly sweet. My favorite part of Meyer lemons is their rinds. Smells fantastic and if there’s a pile of Meyer lemon zest I feel like I could dive right in!
Can we substitute regular lemons for Meyer Lemon?
Yes you can, in most recipes, as long as you keep in mind that the Meyer lemon is less tart and slightly sweeter. You probably want to increase in the amount of sugar a tiny bit and/or use less juice. I haven’t tested the recipe with regular lemons yet. If I test it out one day, I’ll write down the measurement in the recipe (please remind me if I forget…).
I hope you will enjoy making this Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake recipe! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
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Similar Recipes to Meyer Lemon Chiffon Cake
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 85 g (3 oz, or measure ½ cup and remove 1 Tbsp.) granulated sugar, separated
- 3 Tbsp. (40 ml) vegetable oil
- 2 Meyer lemons
- 75 g (2.6 oz., or ⅔ cup) cake flour (see Note for homemade cake flour recipe)
- 1 tsp. (3 g) baking powder
- 2 Tbsp. powder sugar for sprinkling on the cake
- 60 g (½ cup) powder sugar
- ½ Meyer lemon (for ½ - 1 Tbsp. juice)
- 17 cm (7”) chiffon cake pan (buy online)
- Preheat the oven to 340F (170C). Separate 3 eggs to yolks and whites. Egg yolks in a large bowl, and whites in a smaller bowl.
- In the bowl with egg yolks, add roughly ⅓ of granulated sugar and whisk until creamy pale yellow color.
- Add 3 Tbsp. (40 ml) vegetable oil and zest of 1-2 Meyer lemons (I love more zest in the cake so I use 2, but you can use one).
- Cut Meyer lemons in half. Juice all of it (4 halves).
- If you don’t have 4 Tbsp. (1/4 cup or 60 ml) of juice, add water.
- Add 4 Tbsp. (1/4 cup or 60 ml) juice to the egg mixture and whisk well.
- Sift 75 g (2.6 oz) cake flour and 1 tsp. baking powder into the egg mixture. Whisk until totally incorporated and make sure there are no lumps.
- Using a stand mixer (make sure there is no trace of water or oil), whip the egg whites on medium low sped (speed 4) till opaque, foamy and bubbly. Add ⅓ of the remaining granulated sugar and continue whipping.
- After 30 seconds or so, increase the stand mixer speed to high (speed 10) and add the remaining sugar slowly in small increments.
- It takes about 2-3 minutes until stiff peaks form (from the moment you switched to speed 10, but this is just a rough estimate). To check on stiff peaks, pull up your whisk and see if you can make strong “peak” that stays still without bending down.
- Using a whisk, fold in ⅓ of the egg whites in the batter until the mixture is homogeneous.
- Fold in the rest of egg whites in 2-3 increments and mix gently until the mixture is homogeneous.
- Pour the batter into the ungreased 17 cm (7”) chiffon cake pan in same location to prevent from forming more bubbles.
- To remove or prevent air pockets before baking, run a skewer (chopstick, knife or spatula) through the batter and then drop the pan gently on a counter a few times.
- Bake at 340F (170C) for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when gently pressed. If the top gets burn too quickly, cover the top loosely with aluminum foil.
- As soon as you take out the cake pan from the oven, drop it on the counter to shock to the cake (so it stops shrinking). The cake must be cooled upside down in its pan so that it stretches downward instead of collapsing. Stick the cake pan on a tall heavy bottle or invert the cake pan onto a cooling rack (if you use angel food cake pan). Let it cool completely.
- To extract the cake, run a thin sharp knife or thin offset spatula around both the outer and inner edge of the cake.
- Remove the cake from the pan and run the knife on the bottom. Move onto a serving plate.
- Dust powder sugar on top, if you like, and enjoy!
- [Optional] To Make Meyer Lemon Icing Glaze, place powder sugar in a small bowl and stir in 1 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice using the half Meyer lemon you kept from step 4. The glaze should be thick, but pourable. Add more sugar or Meyer lemon juice as necessary to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle over the cake using a spoon and enjoy!
Make sure you use the correct chiffon cake pan. The best types are the aluminum ones with a removable base (Do not use non-stick bakeware for chiffon cake – it will not work). Do not grease the mold because the cake needs to cling on the sides and center of the pan for support as it rises or it will collapse.
For a 17 cm aluminum chiffon cake pan, you can buy from Nihon Ichiban or Amazon.
For a 7 inch round angel cake pan with removable base, you can buy from Amazon.
All-Purpose Flour vs. Cake Flour:
All-purpose flour and cake flour do not perform the same. Cake flour is more delicate, and if you use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, the texture will be dense and tough. If you can't find cake flour, use this substitution:
Take one level cup of all-purpose flour, remove 2 Tbsp, and then add 2 Tbsp of corn starch back in. (1 cup AP flour - 2 Tbsp AP flour + 2 Tbsp corn starch = 1 cup cake flour). Be sure to sift the flour 3-4 times to distribute the corn starch well.
Tips for beating egg whites:
-- Make sure your beaters and mixing bowl are clean and dry. A speck of oil or egg yolk on either one can minimize the volume of the beaten egg whites.
-- Avoid plastic bowls -- even clean ones may hold oily residue that can affect the beating quality of the egg whites.
-- Use a bowl that's wide enough to keep the beaters from being buried in the egg whites.
-- Do not overbeat or underbeat egg whites -- your cake may fall. Egg whites should be stiff but not dry.
Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.