Our Own Memorial Day: #LetsLunch

Remembering Yolan Frank and her Legendary Chiffon Cake

It’s Let’s Lunch (#LetsLunch) time – the twitter-based virtual lunch club where anyone interested can join this monthly ‘lunch date’. A topic is posted at the beginning of the month, everyone taking a turn, and all recipes are posted on the same day by this random and fascinating group of food bloggers, writers and people who just love cooking from all around the world. All the wonderful posts from the other #letslunchers appear at the bottom of this post.

This month I’m learning all about the U.S.A’s Memorial Day. A helpful website explains that it was originally initiated to honour the Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the American Civil War. A century later, the holiday actually became known as Memorial Day and honoured the fallen veterans of all the wars fought by American forces.

It is now celebrated over a long weekend – the start of the summer season in the U.S.

Just like Australians on ANZAC Day, people visit war memorials and military cemeteries to honour those who gave up their lives for their country. Over the years it has also become a time to honour relatives who have passed away, whether or not they served in the armed forces.

Since I’m all the way over the other side of the world in Australia, and this weekend is Mother’s Day (and we are remembering loved ones for #LetsLunch), I think it is the perfect time to honour and celebrate (my co-author) Merelyn’s late mother, Yolan Frank. And I think it is the perfect time to share this unique recipe.

The recipe for ‘yellow cake’ (as the young Merelyn used to call it when her mother sat her up on the kitchen bench when she came home from kindy) is probably the most talked about recipe in the Monday Morning Cooking Club repertoire. Yolan was famous in her Perth community for this cake; it appeared at fairs and fetes and raised many dollars for many charities. Not wanting to give up the currency that the cake had become, Yolan just didn’t want to share the recipe with anyone – not even her daughter. When Merelyn was collecting recipes for our first book (Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food, the stories, the sisterhood (2011)), Merelyn tried and tried to convince Yolan to part with the recipe. She finally gave in, perhaps encouraged by the fact that we had scored her long-time friend and neighbour (from her days in Hungary) Eva’s orange chiffon cake a 10/10. She hoped hers would get an 11. And it did!

Sadly, Yolan passed away the year before our book was published and never saw her treasured recipe in print. But we all like to think she lives on through the book, with this divine custard chiffon cake creating a legacy that will last forever. Merelyn in particular treasures this recipe like no other, and feels her mother is with her every time she makes it.

Have a look at this beautiful video where you will learn all the secrets of the chiffon cake, and gain a special insight into a very special relationship.



[box]Custard Chiffon Cake

175 g self raising flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
35g (¼ cup) custard powder
6 large eggs, separated
345 g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
80 ml (1/3 cup) extra light olive oil or vegetable oil
170 ml (2/3 cup) warm water

Preheat oven to 180C/350F. You will need an angel cake (chiffon) tin (see note). Do not grease it.

Sift the flour, cream of tartar and custard powder together three times to ensure they are fully combined.

In an electric mixer, beat the yolks with 230 g (1 cup) of the sugar until pale and creamy, then add the vanilla. Pour the oil and warm water into a jug. While the yolks are still beating on low speed, add the flour mixture and the oil and water at the same time, beating until just incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the remaining sugar and continue to whisk until the egg whites are stiff but not dry. Very carefully fold the batter into the egg whites with a metal spoon until just incorporated. Pour the mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.

After removing the cake from the oven, immediately invert it to cool by balancing the middle funnel onto a bottle neck. (the cake will be dangling upside down.) It is important for the cake to be inverted and suspended upside down until it is cool to stop it from collapsing. When cool, run a knife around the outside of the cake and the funnel. Lift the base out of the tin, then use the knife to ease the cake off the base.

Serves 12

Note: For the best results, you need to use a high- sided cake tin (25 x 10 cm deep) with an inner funnel and removeable base; do not use a non-stick tin. It is important to use an ungreased cake tin, which will allow the batter to cling to the side of the tin as it rises.[/box]

MMCC2_old recipe books-15


[box]Linda‘s Lemon Pie Ice-Cream at Free Range Cookies

Linda’s Persian Eggplant Stew and Friendship at Spiceboxtravels

Betty Ann’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Roses for Mama at Asian in America

Demetra’s Stone Soup and South Carolina on Sweet Savant

Cheryl’s Mum’s Pork & Chinese Yam Soup at Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan

Lisa’s Yolan Frank’s Legendary Chiffon Cake at Monday Morning Cooking Club[/box]


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  1. Annabelle

    Great that you guys shared her special signature recipe with the world; you could hardly have given a higher recommendation!

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      It’s such a wonderful cake, we’re so pleased it will now be made for generations to come.

  2. Demetra

    Thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe and great video. I just subscribed to your channel!

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Thanks Demetra, hope you enjoy the videos 🙂

  3. Lemon Pie Ice Cream - No Churn Recipe

    […] Yolan Frank’s Legendary Chiffon Cake at Monday Morning Cooking Club (sub ~1.25 cups Pamela’s Artisan Blend + add 2 teaspoons baking powder for gluten free […]

  4. Betty Ann Quirino @Mango_Queen

    What a beautiful tribute and a delicious chiffon cake. I want to try baking this recipe. Can I substitute all purpose flour for this recipe? I cannot always find the self-raising flour. Any suggestions? Thanks for sharing and fun doing #Lets Lunch with you!

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Betty Ann, I think it’s best if you make your own self rising. To each 3/4 cup all purpose flour, add 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. I’d love to hear how it turns out. x

  5. Barbara Feltman (Haimson)

    Dearest Merelyn,
    Thank you for sharing your Mum’s chiffon cake recipe, but even more I thank you for sharing the memories of coming home from Kindy. I remember you in Kindy, I was probably in Grade 2…
    I really appreciate the way you talked about your Mum, it brought back so many memories of being in the kitchen with my Mum and my Nana. Now I just need to find a chiffon cake pan in the US.

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