Lemon Chiffon Cake with Blueberry-Coriander Buttercream


Pastry chef Sasha Piligian channels summer vibes to create her showstopping baked goods, like this epic layer cake. She starts with two flavor-packed components—a tart-sweet Meyer lemon curd for the filling, and a coriander-spiced blueberry jam to flavor and tint her fluffy Swiss meringue buttercream frosting. (The lemon curd and jam can be made ahead of time and stashed in the refrigerator, or you can substitute store-bought jam and lemon curd for equally beautiful results.) The addition of beaten egg whites to the batter keeps the lemon chiffon cake layers light and airy, and, for a final flourish, Piligian embellishes the frosted cake with edible flower petals, mint leaves, pools of glistening jam, fresh berries, and sliced citrus.

Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins


Cake Layers

  • Baking spray with flour

  • 5 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • .3333 cup whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3 ounces), melted and cooled

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Remaining Ingredients


Make the cake layers

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 2 (8-inch) nonstick round cake pans with baking spray; set aside.

  2. Beat egg whites in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, and set aside.

  3. Wipe mixer bowl clean. Beat egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed until doubled in volume and glossy, 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; gradually add milk. Add lemon zest and juice, beating until combined, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add cooled melted butter, beating until smooth, about 1 minute.

  4. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; add to egg yolk mixture in 2 additions, folding until just combined after each addition. Gently fold in beaten egg whites in 3 additions, folding until just combined after each addition. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.

  5. Bake in preheated oven until cakes are light golden brown and spring back when touched, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto a wire rack, and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Assemble the cake

  1. Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula, spread 1 1/2 cups blueberry-coriander buttercream frosting from the center of the cake outward, forming a 1/2-inch-thick frosting layer with a 1-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-tall border around the perimeter to encase the curd. Spoon Meyer lemon curd in center of frosted layer; spread to edges of frosting border. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate 15 minutes. Spread remaining frosting in a thick layer over top and sides of cake. Garnish with blueberry-coriander jam, blueberries, kumquats, lemon, mint, and edible flowers.

    Lemon chiffon cake with blueberry coriander buttercream
    Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Audrey Davis

Make Ahead

Cake layers can be cooled, wrapped in plastic wrap, and refrigerated up to 1 day. Cake can be frosted and refrigerated in an airtight container 1 day ahead; let come to room temperature before garnishing.

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