Great British Bake Off Challenge: Lemon Chiffon Cake

So here we are, my final bake off challenge. I've really enjoyed setting myself this challenge and it's been great learning how to make things I might not have thought about ordinarily. I certainly don't think it would ever have occurred to me to attempt a fraisier cake

I was really glad part of the final was a chiffon cake. I had had the words 'chiffon cake' floating around in my ideas notebook for a while but kept putting it off. I don't know if I was scared of making a chiffon or just other recipes kept jumping in front but nevertheless, I have tackled it now and I am really pleased with the result.

I love baking (obviously) and the majority of the time I'm happy to say things come out well but I still hold my breath every time I go to turn a cake out of the tin just in case it chooses to collapse on me. I definitely held my breath with this cake and there was an audible 'phew' when it turned out fine. 

I think I might need to set myself some new baking challenges now the bake off is over. I have got some great new cookbooks to work through and I'm constantly inspired by other blogs and magazine articles. I think about recipe ideas all the time, there are post-its all over my desk at work from when ideas strike and I love thinking of ways to take a cake a step further or develop it in some way. 

I love lemon cakes, the beauty of them is that they go so well with berries as a topping. I put raspberries on top of this chiffon cake but blueberries or strawberries would have worked just as well. 

Lemon Chiffon Cake
(recipe adapted from John Whaite's Heaven Cake)

For the lemon chiffon:
430g plain flour
270ml water
1½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
375g golden caster sugar
180ml sunflower oil
3 unwaxed lemons, zest only
9 free-range eggs, separated

For the lemon buttercream:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
600g icing sugar
140ml double cream
juice of 1 lemon
200g lemon curd, for the middle
berries, to decorate

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 C/300 F. Grease and line 2x 23cm/9inch springform cake tins.
  2. Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer or with an electric hand whisk until stiff. 
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl mix together the remaining ingredients (egg yolks, sugar, water, oil, flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest) and then fold in the egg whites.
  4. Separate the mixture between the two cake tins (pour it in from a low height so as not to knock all the air out) and tap the tins on the work surface to get rid of air bubbles. 
  5. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
  6. When they are done, remove from the oven and turn upside down onto a cooling rack. After 10 minutes take the tins off and then leave to cool completely. 
  7. For the lemon buttercream, beat the butter for about 4-5 minutes on a high speed.
  8. Add the icing sugar, lemon juice and double cream and mix on a low speed until combined then turn up and beat on a high speed for 2-3 minutes.
  9. When you are ready to ice the cakes. Wrap both cakes in cling film and place in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.
  10. Place the bottom layer on a plate and, using a palette knife, smooth over a layer of buttercream. Mix up the lemon curd to soften it and spread it over the buttercream. Place the top layer of cake over the lemon curd.
  11. Crumb coat the cake with buttercream and place in the fridge for 20 minutes to set.
  12. Using the palette knife, smooth the rest of the buttercream over the cake and top with berries and a light dusting of icing sugar.