I like cake. It's one of my favourite food groups. I know it's not even close to being healthy--it's cake! If anyone tells you they've made a "healthy" cake--RUN--it won't be real cake. One cannot utter the words "cake" and "healthy" in the same sentence and tell the truth. (I know people claim Angel Food cake is healthier because it's fat free but people, it's full of sugar and white flour!) If you want to have something healthy, skip the cake and have a piece of fruit. We won't mind.
I must confess, I don't eat cake every day or every week. I make and eat cake for special occasions or for large gatherings like potlucks or family parties where I can eat a piece but not the whole thing. It truly is not a healthy food to eat on a regular basis but it's a nice treat when indulged in only once and a while. With birthdays and holidays and family gatherings I get plenty of cake and don't feel one bit deprived of one of my favourite desserts.
I made this Lemon Chiffon Cake for Canada Day as Don loves lemon and so do I and even the chocolate lovers liked it. After all it is cake. This cake actually did double duty as we used it for Vicki's (Peter's wife) birthday cake as well. Her birthday is two days before Canada Day and as most of her family were at our house on the holiday I switched up the little flags for birthday candles just before I served it for dessert. (There were eighteen of us for supper!)
This Lemon Chiffon Cake a fairly simple cake to make as far as chiffon cakes go. Most chiffon cakes have about half a dozen eggs or more but this one comes together nicely using just 2 eggs which makes it quite economical as well as tasty. Chiffon cakes are similar to sponge cakes, using yolks and beaten egg whites, but they also include fat in the form of oil which makes them tender and moist.
Many chiffon cakes are baked in a tube pan or an oblong 9x13-inch pan and are served with a drizzle of glaze or fruit and cream but they also make a fabulous layer cake. This 2-Egg Lemon Chiffon Cake makes two fairly high layers that just beg to be filled with a creamy filling. I made a Raspberry Mousse to fill the two layers and frosted the outside with a plain Whipped Cream Frosting. This made even the smaller "I-must-feed-eighteen-people"-sized slices quite adequate and satisfying as a dessert. I've included the recipe for the mousse but any filling that complements lemon would be delicious.
This recipe comes from the old Betty Crocker Cookbook that I've had forever--maybe before I was married.
Two-Egg Lemon Chiffon Cake
2 eggs, separated
1½ cups sugar
2¼ cups cake flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
⅓ cup oil
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
½ teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or pan spray baking pans: one 9x13-inch or two 8 or 9-inch round layer pans. Flour or line pans with parchment or waxed paper for easy removal. If using parchment or waxed paper, grease paper as well. I used two 9-inch layer pans.
In the bowl of a mixer beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add ½ cup of the sugar and beat until a stiff and glossy meringue is formed. Remove from bowl and lay aside.
In the same mixing bowl add the remaining sugar, sifted flour, baking powder and salt. Mix together to blend dry ingredients. To the dry ingredients add the oil, half the milk, the grated lemon rind, lemon extract and vanilla. Beat on medium high for 1 minutes scraping the bowl as you need.
Add remaining milk and the two egg yolks. Beat an additional minute, scraping occasionally as needed. Fold in the meringue until no visible streaks can be seen. Be careful not to deflate the batter. Pour into prepared pan(s).
Bake the 9x13-inch pan 40-45 minutes. Bake the layer pans 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let cool about 10 minutes in the cake pan(s). The oblong cake can be cooled and served from the pan if desired. The layer cake should be turned out on a cooling rack and frosted well thoroughly cooled.
To assemble the Lemon Chiffon Cake with Raspberry Mouse (recipe below): Place one layer on a serving plate and pile on most of the Raspberry Mouse. I held back about half a cup for the top of the cake. Spread the mousse almost to the edge of the cake.
Place the second layer on top of the mousse. Frost the top and sides of the cake with a plain Whipped Cream Frosting. Pile the reserved mouse in the middle of the cake top and decorate with the reserved thawed berries (see Mousse recipe below). You may thicken the juice with a little instant vanilla pudding or cook it with a little cornstarch if desired. Alternately, you may use fresh raspberries but I could not find any fresh berries when I made the cake. (I actually could find raspberries but they were not nice--too many spoiled berries in the packages.)
Any left-over frosting can be used to decorate around the edge of the cake.
Raspberry Mousse Filling
1 500 gram/1pound package frozen raspberries, divided
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup water
¼ cup white sugar
1 envelope plain gelatin (1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons cold water
1 cup whipping cream
2-4 tablespoons sugar
Remove about ¾ cup of the frozen berries. Sprinkle with the 1 tablespoon of sugar and let thaw. Lay aside until needed.
Cook the remaining berries over medium low heat with the ¼ cup of sugar and the 1 cup of water. When the berries are cooked and very soft, remove from heat and let sit until cool enough to handle. Force the berries through a strainer removing the seeds. It the mixture is very thick add a little water to the strainer to loosen the mixture. Measure the seedless raspberry pulp. If it is less than 1 cup add a little water. If it is more than 1 cup place in a sauce pan and bring to a simmer reducing the pulp to 1 cup. Refrigerate the pulp until chilled.
When the pulp is chilled, sprinkle the gelatin over the 2 tablespoons of cold water. This will take 3 or 4 minutes for the gelatin to absorb the water. Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of the chilled pulp and heat in the microwave until the gelatin is well dissolved. Immediately stir into the chilled raspberry pulp and refrigerate a few more minutes until it starts to gel to the consistency of egg whites.
While the pulp is gelling, whip the cream with the sugar. I like a less sweet mousse so I use only 2 tablespoons sugar but you may increase it if you like a sweeter filling. Whip the cream to a stiff peak but DO NOT whip into butter!
Fold the gelled raspberry pulp into the whipped cream, mixing until the two mixtures are combined. A few steaks of raspberry won't affect the finished product.
Use this to fill the cake. I reserved about half a cup for the top and used the remainder between the layers.
Beat the egg whites with the ½ cup of sugar until a stiff, glossy meringue is formed.
Mix the sugar, flour baking powder and salt together. Add the oil, half the milk, the grated lemon rind and extracts in the bowl. Sift in the dry ingredients. Beat on medium high for 1 minute, scraping the bowl. Add the remaining milk and egg yolks and beat until well mixed. Fold in the meringue.
Fold in the meringue until no visible streaks can be seen. Be careful not to deflate the batter.
Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake in preheated oven for required time. Test with a cake tester to make sure the middle is baked. Do no overbake the cake. Watch very carefully the last few minutes.
Cool on racks for a few minutes and then turn out of pans and cool completely.
To make the Raspberry Mousse use the raspberry pulp from the cooked frozen berries. Bloom the gelatin with 2 tablespoons cold water. Mix bloomed gelatin with a little pulp and heat in the microwave. Mix the gelatin mixture into the chilled pulp and mix well. Refrigerate until gelled to the consistency of egg while. Whip the cream and fold into the gelled pulp.
Place the bottom cake layer on a serving plate. Pile the mousse on top and spread to almost the edge of the cake.
Frost the top and sides of the cake with a plain Whipped Cream Frosting. If you saved some of the Raspberry Mousse pile that in the middle of the top of the cake. Decorate with reserved thawed berries or use fresh raspberries if you wish. We enjoyed the cake on Canada Day.
Lemon Chiffon Cake with Raspberry Mousse Filling.
Moist and Light!