Meyer Lemon-Olive Oil Chiffon Cake

In appreciation of the wonderful bounty of citrus fruit this time of year, here is a delicious and feather-light chiffon cake.  We are fortunate to have a Meyer lemon tree that produces an abundance of fruit.  I have made marmalade, jelly, lemon curd, preserved lemons, limoncello, quick bread, yeast bread; the list goes on and on.

Look at these beauties!  They are fragrant, thin-skinned, and full of flavor.  Meyers are a hybrid fruit; they are a combination of mandarin orange and lemon.  If you’re lucky enough to find them, use them in any recipe that calls for lemons.  Chiffon cake is light and airy, with a soft crumb and tender texture.  The addition of fat, in the form of egg yolks and olive oil, accounts for the luxurious texture of the cake.  Lemon glaze adorns the finished cake and adds just the right touch of sweetness.  You will need four to six Meyer lemons for this recipe.  Set aside the zest of one lemon for the glaze and use the remainder in the cake.  The end result will be like eating a lemon-flavored cloud.  Enjoy!

Meyer Lemon-Olive Oil Chiffon Cake

A light and tender cake, chock full of lemon flavor and topped with a sweet-tart lemon glaze.  The perfect showcase for winter citrus fruit.

Course Baked Goods, Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American, Canadian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 1 10-inch cake
Author Adapted from the Kitchn (see link in recipe notes)


  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 pound Meyer lemons (you will need 4-6 lemons)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar (divided)
  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Lemon Glaze

  • 2 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.  Position the oven rack in the center of the oven.  Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.  Set aside.

  2. Zest the Meyer lemons, reserving the zest of 1 lemon for the glaze.  Juice the lemons and add the juice to the 1/4 cup of water.  The liquid should measure 1 cup total. 

  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine 1 cup of the sugar and the egg yolks and whip at medium speed for about 3 minutes or until thick, light in color, and a ribbon forms when the whisk is lifted from the surface of the mixture.  Add the olive oil and vanilla and mix to combine.   

  4. Add the flour mixture and the juice mixture, alternately, mixing to combine after each addition and ending with the dry ingredients.  Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to ensure that all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.  Set aside. 

  5. In a clean mixing bowl, with a hand-held mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and mix at medium speed until soft peaks form.  Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks.   

  6. Stir 1/3 of the whites gently into the batter to lighten it.  Fold the remaining whites carefully into the mixture in 2 additions, just until incorporated.  Take care not to overmix.  Gently transfer the batter to an ungreased 10-inch tube pan with feet and a removable bottom. 

  7. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, invert the pan, and allow the cake to cool completely in the cake pan.  When you are ready to serve the cake, loosen the sides and inner edges around the center tube with a thin flexible spatula or knife.  Turn the cake out of the pan:  place your serving plate over the top of the pan and invert the entire cake; it will release onto the plate.

  8. Whisk together all the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.  Drizzle the glaze generously over the cake, letting it drip down the sides.  Decorate the cake with additional lemon zest and/or lemon slices, if you wish. 

Recipe Notes

The cake is best served immediately once the glaze is applied.  You can store it, covered, at room temperature, for a day or two, but the glaze will be absorbed into the cake.  This is not a bad thing as it intensifies the lemon flavor.  You can see the original recipe here.

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