This raspberry and lemon curd chiffon cake recipe is a baller recipe, guys. There’s fresh raspberries smashed into a lemon curd mascarpone, and the cake is lighter than air. It’s like going to a wedding in your sweatpants, since you can feel elegant while eating it from the comfort of your home. Move over, other raspberry desserts. This chiffon cake is first in line.
Baking can be such an intentional, calming ritual when it’s not completely chaotic and messy. I certainly always set out fully believing that whatever I’m baking will center and soothe me. I’ll cut soft chunks of butter, weighing each dollop carefully into a prep bowl. I sift flour, shaking it like I used to do with my moneymaker back in my 20s. Next, I’ll rain droplets of rich vanilla, shower salt so it’s dotted like wet sand on top of dried, and crack eggs and watch them slither down a floury landscape.
It’s all part of the meditative, soothing process of creating until I forget a vital ingredient (baking powder — oops) or realize that the oven is too hot. My first attempt at baking this cake ended horribly because I realized that somehow I don’t have any matching round cake pans to bake the layers, and ended up just using one very deep one instead. The cake didn’t bake all the way through, leaving me with pockets of lukewarm batter and a broken ego.
Have your baking fails ever completely ruined your day? Don’t give up! I wanted to, but I forced myself to set out a second time using Smitten Kitchen’s strawberry chiffon cake as a starting point. I love chiffon cake because it’s lighter and fluffier than regular vanilla sponge cake. The secret is in whipped egg whites, which get folded in to a batter of egg yolks, oil and sugar at the very last minute to infuse air and structure into the cake. The egg whites act like a bike pump, inflating the cake batter and increasing the volume.
While my layers baked, I rummaged through the refrigerator to see how I’d top my cake. Out came whipping cream and mascarpone, an Italian soft cheese that’s like the sweeter cousin to cream cheese. We had a carton of fresh raspberries, which was an outright miracle because my kids eat them like candy. I never make raspberry desserts for this reason. Who has the patience for it when fresh raspberries are already so good on their own? I also found a languishing jar of Fortnum & Mason’s lemon curd. It was fate. My cake was making itself.
Luckily, my second attempt turned out much better than the first. The chiffon cakes came out golden brown and springy, ready to become their best selves. I triumphantly set them on wire racks to cool while whipping together the whipping cream and mascarpone. Assembling this cake is easier than it looks — just sandwich a thick layer of cream and fresh raspberries, then ice the whole thing.
Decorating this cake may look fancy, but it’s really just smashing raspberries throughout while you spread luxurious layers of mascarpone icing around and around the sides. If you have flowers laying around, then you’ve got an instant topper to make this chiffon cake really pop. And honestly, what’s keeping you from pouring yourself a nice glass of bubbly, slicing into this cake, and watching the most over-the-top Netflix show you can?
Nothing, I say. Absolutely nothing.
raspberry and lemon curd chiffon cake
- For the cake:
- 2 1/4 cups sifted plain (all-purpose flour)
- 1 1/2 cups caster sugar (divided)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 large egg yolks at room temperature
- 8 large egg whites at room temperature
- For the icing:
- 1 cup soft Italian mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon curd
- 2 cups fresh raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F or 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease the bottom of 2 9-inch pans with butter or canola oil, then line the bottom of each pan with parchment or baking paper. Leave the sides of the pan ungreased.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, 1 1/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder twice. In a separate, medium-sized bowl, beat the egg yolks, lemon zest, oil, water, and vanilla on high speed until smooth. Stir this mixture into the flour mixture.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add 1/4 cup sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form and the egg whites are glossy.
- Using a large spoon, scoop out a large scoop of the egg whites and stir quickly into the batter. Then, gradually fold the remaining egg whites into the batter until all of the egg whites are incorporated, but do not over mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for at least 40-45 minutes. Check the cakes by gently pressing them with your finger; the top should spring back and should be golden brown (you can double check by inserting a toothpick in the center to see if it comes out clean).
- Remove the cakes and set them on wire racks to cool for at least an hour. While the cakes are cooling, make the mascarpone icing. In a large bowl, whip the whipping cream and confectioners sugar together until soft peaks form, then add the vanilla. Run a spoon through the mascarpone to break it up a little, then add it to the whipped cream and beat again until it’s thick and spreadable. Add the lemon curd and swirl through with a spatula.
- To assemble the cake, use a serrated cake knife to cut the top off the layers to make even layers. Use a spatula to spread a thick layer of icing on the top of one layer, then sprinkle the top with raspberries. Add the second layer on top and then spread icing all over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with the remaining raspberries. Refrigerate this cake until it’s time to serve.
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Conversations 37 comments
Well hello Monday and a gorgeous sight to see… Love the light and refreshing combination of raspberries and lemon. Looks so moist. Take care
Thank you! It was a fun cake to make. Happy Monday!
this is wonderful blog
Are these large American eggs? I’m from the UK and large US eggs are medium here!
I use UK eggs — so I’d say use large UK eggs as well!
I have just made the icing and it is not coming out. The whipping cream and powder sugar came out perfect, I added the vanilla still good. I added the mascarpone and started to beat it and it turned into a liquid mess. I thought okay keep going add the lemon curd maybe that will help thicken, nope nothing. Please help!
Oh no! Try whipping the mascarpone on its own next time and then folding it in to the icing. I’m not sure why it would turn so liquidy. Was there any liquid on the top of the mascarpone when you opened it?
Mine did exactly the same .. Totally fail.
Lydia, are you talking about the mascarpone? Or something else? What failed for you?
Would 2 8 inch pans work? Thanks.
You might have lower cakes and you’ll probably need to shorten the baking time. Good luck!
Yes, they will, but you might have to reduce the baking time.
For those who make this~ if you want to berries to color the frosting like picture you need to smash a few in to the frosting. I realized too late~ sigh!
Penny, I actually smashed some berries right into the side of the cake when I was icing it and then dragged my palette knife around the edge to create the look that’s pictured. Next time try that!
Hi, your chiffon cake looks amazing. Do you unmoulding the cake straight out of the oven & cool cake on a rock right side up.? Do you bake your cake using top & bottom heat with no fan? Thank you for sharing 🙂
Hi, I usually wait at least 10 minutes before inverting the cake onto a wire rack to cool. I used fan to bake these cakes and lowered the oven temp by 10 degrees and shortened the cooking time about 10 minutes. Good luck!
I’m planning on making this cake tomorrow, wrapped with a chocolate collar. I have two springform 9 inch pans, but they are nonstick. Is this still ok, or will the cakes not rise properly? Also, will the cake turn wonky if I use extra large eggs (US size)?
Hi Akash, I don’t think the lack of non-stick should affect your rise on your cakes, but definitely be sure to grease them well so that there’s no sticking. I think if you’re going to use extra large eggs you should maybe only use 4 egg yolks and 7 egg whites? The concern here is regarding the volume of the batter. Alternatively, you could just follow the recipe with the understanding that you shouldn’t overfill the pans when baking. Good luck!
This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it. Unfortunately, I live in a country with small ovens! Would it be possible to halve this recipe and maybe put it into two 6” pans? I’ll have to cook one at a time… will the folded egg whites in the batter be okay for the second cake? Thank you!
I think you could try, but I had a friend recently try this in smaller pans and the cakes deflated. I would cut down the baking powder maybe down to a 1/4 of what the recipe calls for. Good luck!
Love this recipe! I’m going to work on making it fluffier as mine was a bit dense. In making this cake, do you think it could be frozen and frosted when defrosted or would you try to bake it two days ahead for an event? Neither are my favorite.
I think you could freeze it, but I’m not sure how that would affect the flavor. Or you could bake it two days ahead of time but leave it unfrosted until the day of. I think that might be the better option. Good luck!
I made this cake and it was delicious. The cake was moist and the frosting was
out of this world I got many compliments for it. Thank you so much for the recipe.
Great! I’m so glad ot hear!
I have now made this recipe three times. I think it might be my favorite. So light and fresh tasting. I’m currently baking another one for a good friends birthday.
Please clarify the instructions. It says to bake 2 cakes, then split them that’s now 4, but the picture is 2 layers and the assembling instructions are for 2. After reading comments I’m assuming you changed directions mid recipe when you only had one pan. I’m making 2 and not splitting them.
Just baked this cake and it was fine in 30mins. My oven usually takes longer than what most recipes call for. My friend made it and she had the same cooking tone of 30 mins not the 40-45 stated in the recipe. Just something to keep in mind ?
Thanks for the tip, Susan! I originally made this cake in my little London oven, which was temperamental and generally required longer cooking times.
What size baking pans are those?
Hi Jaime, they are 8” pans. Hope this helps!
This cake was amazing. Soft and fluffy and beautiful flavours. Whilst it did take a bit of work to make, that just made it all the more satisfying. Thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely make this again for special occasions.
Glad it worked out for you! 🙂