Mom's Chiffon Cake with Lime Curd

My mother made this cake so often she could do it by heart. A chiffon cake was popular in the fifties and sixties. There is no butter in this cake; it uses oil and beaten egg whites and baking powder provide the leavening. It differs from a sponge cake in that a sponge cake is oil and butter free and relies on egg yolks for fat. Both these cakes are known as foam cakes because of the beaten egg whites that are folded into the batter. This cake is delicious and light and needs no other embellishment but for a special occasion, I like to fill it with a lemon or lime curd. To make the assembly easy, make the curd a couple of days ahead of time.

Serves 8 – 10


  • Lime Curd Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (6 large limes)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten with a fork
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • Cake Ingredients
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup water at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon fiori di Sicilia extract*
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter


  1. Directions 
  2. For the Lime Curd - Makes 1 3/4 cups 
  3. Combine the lime juice, zest, sugar, butter and salt in the top of a double boiler. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until the butter melts and the sugar no longer feels gritty in the bottom of the pan. Slowly pour in the eggs, continually stirring with a spoon or whisk and cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
  4. Transfer the curd to a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  5.  For the Cake
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  7. 10 inch ungreased tube pan
  8. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  9. Make a well in center of bowl and add the oil, egg yolks, water, extract, and orange zest. Beat until smooth with a whisk or hand held mixer.
  10. Whip the whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Fold into egg yolk mixture
  11. Pour into pan and bake 55 minutes or until a cake skewer inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. The cake should look golden brown and be springy to the touch.
  12. Immediately remove cake from oven and prop upside down, placing the open funnel part of the tube pan over a wine bottle. This allows the cake to cool without collapsing. When cool to the touch, run a butter knife around the inside edges of the pan and remove the cake from the pan and set aside.
  13. When ready to fill the cake, whip the cream until it is stiff, then fold it into the lime curd.
  14. To fill the cake, split it horizontally into 2 layers with a serrated knife, and spread some of the curd equally between the layers.
  15. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar and cut with a serrated knife to serve.
  16. *You can purchase Fiori di Sicilia extract from our friends at King Arthur Flour:

This recipe was featured on Season 23 - Episode 2307.

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I made this cake today. I cheated and had jarred lime curd, but it’s a great brand and it works well. Also, I made the cake in a spring-form pan because I wanted more of a traditional birthday cake. Since I used jarred curd, I had more than the recipe called for. I made extra whipped cream and topped the cake with it as well. In the center of the top, I put glazed blueberries. Wow. The cake was SO good. It was moist and delicious. I think it would be great with lemon and strawberries, too. I still cooled the cake upside-down. I balanced the edge of the pan on six glasses. It looked stupid, but it worked.

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