Moist and light lemon chiffon cake with creamy cheesecake mousse filling, iced in whipped cream…are you drooling yet?
7 years ago last Monday, Ryan and I were married…It was a wonderful day with family, friends, and everyone had a great time. Why wouldn’t they when we plastered them with course after course of delicious food, and ended with the most amazing cake that my aunt (who incidentally also taught me how to bake and decorate cakes) and my cousin made for us. (A million thanks again Tita Jo and Christina!!!)
I thought it would be nice to make that same cake, the lemon chiffon cake with cheesecake mousse to celebrate our anniversary.. and it was just as delicious as I remember. A pillowy, soft, moist, lightly lemon flavored cake, with a cheesecake mousse filling (my favorite filling ever! thank you Costco!), and in general not overly sweet… (hold on, I need to get another slice)
If you’ve never had a chiffon cake before, it has the richness of a pound cake but the texture of an angel food cake. It’s pretty much the only cake I grew up with since my aunt made all our cakes for birthdays and anything else we needed a cake for.
Now up until this cake, I haven’t made a chiffon cake in years. Why? You’re gonna laugh – I kept losing the recipe. Okay. I know that there’s tons of recipes online for chiffon cakes, but this recipe is what I grew up with, it’s tried and true, and holds a special place in my heart because it was the recipe for the first cake I’ve ever made. Yes, I’m sentimental =).
I swear I don’t know what it is with this recipe that it is perpetually getting lost! have asked my aunt for this recipe more times than I can count and I have tried many ways to keep it safe! I typed it up – computer crashed. I took a picture on my phone – forgot to download it and now I don’t know where the phone is. I emailed it – can’t find it in my email. I wrote it down – it was the only recipe that didn’t make it into the recipe binder when we moved (I had it taped to the inside of my cabinet door ). Uh oh.. I hope I’m not jinxing my blog by posting this recipe!
The process is a bit different than most other cake recipes but I really urge you to try making one sometime because it is sooo worth it. I personally think it’s much easier and faster than other cakes.
Chiffon cake recipes use canola oil instead of butter or any other solid fat and relies mostly on whipping egg whites for lightless and rising (though this recipe has some baking powder as insurance). Most recipes also call for baking them in special tube pans, but I’m not one for a one function pan so I’ve always baked them in my regular cake pans.
As for the filling, my favorite ever in the whole entire world is Costco’s cheesecake mousse. Say what you will but the warehouse giant has the most amazing filling and I have never been able to find it sold at any other bakery/store. I searched high and wide for that recipe to give my aunt for our wedding cake and it was soo worth it. This filling is also the number 1 flavor chosen by my clients… and now you get to taste it too! (I’m soo excited for you if you’ve never tried it before!!! Double the recipe and sit in a corner eating the leftover mousse with a giant spoon – I won’t tell! )
Note: For our wedding cake, my aunt used Pastry Pride (a non-dairy whipped icing) instead of regular heavy cream for the filling and the icing as well as a slightly altered recipe because it needed to sit out for a long time during the reception (regular whipped cream should be kept refrigerated) but the simplified filling recipes below use regular heavy cream since it’s more accessible to most people.
Check out the additional tips at the end of the recipe!
- Chiffon Cake Ingredients
- 1¾ cup cake flour, sifted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- zest from 1 lemon
- 6 large eggs separated
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, ½ cup granulated sugar, (total 1 cup + 2 tablespoons, divided)
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
Easy Cheesecake Mousse Ingredients
- 2½ cups heavy cream
- 1 box cheesecake flavored jello pudding
Whipped Cream Icing
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ tsp vanilla
- Bake the Chiffon Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- Line the bottom of 2 - 8" pans with parchment paper.
- In large bowl, whisk sifted flour, baking powder, ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt together to evenly distribute ingredients.
- Add oil, water, lemon juice, zest, and egg yolks to dry ingredients and mix with whisk by hand until smooth.
- In grease free metal or glass mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar and remaining ½ cup sugar until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold ⅓ of the egg whites into batter, then the next ⅓, and finally the remaining egg whites just until no large white streaks can be seen.
- Divide between the 2 cake pans and bake 20-30 minutes or until cake springs back when touched by your finger.
- Place hot pans on wire rack and allow to cool in pan.
- Once cool, run a thin metal spatula or knife around edge of cake and invert onto cooling rack. Peel off parchment and allow to cool further. (At this point, I usually wrap them in plastic wrap and place in freezer for a little bit to make handling easier - even 30 minutes helps)
Prepare the Cheesecake Mouse
- Place heavy cream and cheesecake pudding mix into mixing bowl. Mix with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Keep covered and refrigerated until ready to use.
Make Whipped Cream Frosting
- When you're ready assemble the cake, prepare the whipped cream
- Place bowl and beaters in freezer to chill.
- Whip the chilled heavy cream until soft peaks begin to form.
- Gradually add the sugar while beating; add the vanilla.
- Continue to whip until the cream holds firm peaks.
Assemble the Cake
- Take cooled cakes and split each in half to make a total of 4 layers (optional - you can just put one generous layer of filling between the two cakes if you desire)
- On serving plate or cake board, assemble the cake: Place one layer of cake then a layer of filling, continuing to alternate until the last layer of cake is placed. Ice with whipped cream.
- For best results in cutting and serving, allow to set up in refrigerator for at least an hour.
Additional tips to make this recipe a success!
- When folding egg whites into batter, it’s important to be gentle, especially with the last addition of egg whites. There will be some thin streaks of egg white after folding and that’s okay, as long as there are no large streaks, you’re good to go. If you overmix, the batter will not rise as high.
- Batter should be immediately baked, it shouldn’t be sitting on the counter for very long or you will loose some of the lightless of the cake.
- If the cake has a domed top, cut it off to make a flat top before assembly.
- If splitting the cakes in half to make 4 layers seem daunting, you can leave it at the 2 layers with one layer of filling (it will still be absolutely delicious!!) or you can just bake 3 layers if you have 3 – 8″ pans.
- If you have 3 – 8″ pans you can divide the cake between the 3 pans and reduce baking time to 15-20 minutes, until center springs back when touched with finger.
- If you do want to split it, I highly recommend freezing it for half an hour or so to make it easier to handle. Because the cake is so tender, I like using plain (unflavored) dental floss to split the cake (like this)
- Because it is whipped cream, keep refrigerated.
I really hope you try this recipe!! And as always, let me know in the comments if you have any questions at all and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.