I like my citrus desserts to be very brightly flavoured and tart. This is my first time baking with Meyer lemons. Its flavour is often described as a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange. To me it is closer to the Japanese yuzu. It is not as pungent as a regular lemon but more floral. This chiffon cake recipe is so good – it is soft, moist, and its olive oil flavour comes through perfectly. It is crucial that you use a good quality olive oil for the recipe. I find that a fruity one works well with the citrus notes of the cake. The cake is delicious on its own too, it is my grandma’s favourite cake without any fillings nor toppings. Since the cake is so light, you can also easily dress it up with a whipped cream, or in this case, a lemon curd. Thus becoming olive oil chiffon cake with Meyer Lemon Curd. I love that this first post of 2016 is off to a “fresh” start!
- 4 egg yolks
- 65 g / 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil - the best quality you can find
- 2 tsp clementine or orange zest
- 85 g / 1/3 cup lukewarm water
- 4 g / 1-1/8 tsp baking powder
- 120 g / 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour
- 5 egg whites
- 140 g / 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
- 100 g / 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp Meyer lemon zest
- 5 egg yolks
- 125 g / 1/2 cup freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
- 70 g / 5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 120 g / 1 cup icing sugar
- 45 g / 3 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
- Meyer lemons
- edible dried rose petals
- Adjust rack to the middle of the oven, preheat to 350 F / 175 C.
- Prepare a 8 inch x 3 inch high round cake pan, line the bottom with a piece of round parchment paper. Do not grease the sides of the pan as the batter needs to climb up as it bakes.
- Sift together flour and baking powder. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks lightly, add olive oil and water, and clementine zest, whisk to combine. Mix in sifted flour mixture until incorporated, do not over-mix. Set aside.
- In the mixer bowl, beat together egg whites and sugar. Start on low speed and increase to high speed slowly. Beat until meringue reaches a stiff peak.
- Take one-third of the meringue and fold into the flour mixture until incorporated. Gently fold in the rest, careful not to deflate the batter too much. Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake in preheat oven for 40-45 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle and comes out clean. Cool completely in pan before unmoulding and slicing.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and egg yolks until combined, whisk in the lemon juice and zest.
- Heat the mixture on medium heat, keep whisking to prevent the bottom from burning. Cook the curd for about 10-15 minutes, until the curd coats the back for a spoon. Take off heat and whisk in butter until it is emulsified.
- Strain lemon curd through a fine mesh sieve into a clean container. Cover and chill until ready to use.
- Mix icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, set aside until ready to use.
- Slice cake horizontally into three equal slices. Place the first slice on a plate or platter, spoon about 1/3 of the lemon curd and spread it evenly. Layer with the other two slices of cake and lemon curd.
- Spoon the glaze all over the top, grate clementine and lemon zests on top, and decorate with cut fruit. Sprinkle with dried rose petals if desired. Let the glaze set for 15 minutes for serving.
I made this cake intending it to be very refreshing and full of citrus flavours. The chiffon cake is the perfect vehicle for the lemon curd. A buttercream would have weighed down the cake too much. The mellow olive oil flavour acts as a background of the Meyer lemon and clementine. I know this might sound counter-intuitive but as a baker I don’t have a high tolerance for a lot of sweets in day. This cake though, I can afford to have more than one slice because it is so tart and bright.
Take advantage of the beautiful citrus fruits in season and be creative. You can even just cut the cake into slices and serve with a spoon of lemon curd or make it pretty like I did. If you can’t get your hands on Meyer lemons, I am sure it would be just as delicious made with regular lemons and/or limes.