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lemon vanilla bean angel food cake

April 8, 2011

Anytime is a good time for angel food cake.  Especially anytime a recipe leaves you with superfluous egg whites in your refrigerator.  It’s a deliciously guilt-free dessert …go ahead and add a couple scoops of your favorite ice cream.  For springtime, lemon zest adds a cheerful zing; during fall or winter, try adding some cinnamon and ground ginger for a treat.

Lemon Vanilla Bean Angel Food Cake

2 cups sugar, divided

1 1/3 cups sifted cake flour

1 1/2 cups egg whites, at room temperature (about 10 eggs)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Grated zest of 2 lemons

Vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine ½ cup of sugar with the flour and sift together into a bowl.

In a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, whip egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until soft, creamy peaks form when you pull the whisk away.  (If you keep the mixer at medium speed, you can leave the kitchen for a little bit and the egg whites will not overwhip, I promise.)  Add the remaining sugar and continue to whip at medium speed for a few more minutes, until the mixture is shiny.  Add lemon zest, vanilla extract, and the paste from inside one vanilla bean and whip once more just to combine.

Fold one-fourth of the flour-sugar mixture to the egg whites with a rubber spatula.  Continue three more times.

Bake angel food cake in a 10” ungreased tube pan for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake grows tall and is golden brown in color.  Place upside-down on a cooling rack and allow to come to room temperature.  Use a serrated knife to release the cake from the sides and the inside tube, and tap gently on the bottom until the cake falls from the pan.

If desired, glaze the cake with a mixture of 1 cup powdered sugar + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + 3 tablespoons milk.  Enjoy!

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