MAKES TWO 7-INCH CAKES
When it comes to chiffon, I am a pure classicist. We only do two things with vanilla chiffon at Our Bakery: lemon chiffon and strawberry chiffon (one of my mother’s favorites), and those are the only two options you’ll find in the chart. For this cake, you will need two 7-inch round cake pans (3 inches deep).
Note that they should be aluminum, and must not be nonstick, or the cakes will collapse while cooling.
2½ cups cake flour
2¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1½ cups plus ⅓ cup sugar
6 extra-large eggs, separated
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup warm water
Distilled white vinegar, for wiping the bowl
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350°F.
2. Shift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and 1½ cups sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment. (You can use a hand mixer if you prefer.) Start the mixer slowly to avoid spraying the flour.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks, oil, vanilla, and water by hand with a whisk and continue whisking until well mixed.
4. With the mixer running on low, pour the egg yolk mixture into the mixer bowl. After 30 seconds, stop and scrape with a rubber spatula. Mix at medium speed until blended together with no lumps, 1 to 1½ minutes. Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the mixer bowl and get as much batter out as possible.
5. Wash and dry the mixer bowl and whip attachment, then wipe them down with distilled white vinegar to remove all traces of grease and oil. Pour the egg whites and lemon juice into the mixer bowl and start whipping on low speed for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the remaining ⅓ cup sugar
and whip on high speed until stiff peaks are formed.
6. With a rubber spatula, fold one third of the meringue into the first mixture. Fold in the “remaining meringue in two additions.
7. Gently fill two deep ungreased 7-inch cake pans halfway up.
8. Bake until the sides of the cakes pull away from the pans, 30 to 40 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Release the cakes from the pans by flipping them upside down and tapping fiercely against a work surface.
The cakes can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.