Last week, at the library sale (Thursdays, and the first Saturday of each month at the Swanson Branch on Dodge Street) I picked up a copy of Betty Grott's Pennsylvania Dutch Cookbook. My husband groaned at the thought of corn mush and beet pickled eggs (though he used to like both) and I scolded him as a traitor to his heritage, his birthplace, and promptly purchased the book. I'm glad I did because this cake is terrific.
If I was going to serve a lemon cake, I knew there would be an expectation of raspberry sauce, so I made a batch of that as well. I think this cake would be excellent with the vanilla omitted, and perhaps anise extract and some grated orange zest instead. It seems like a versatile sort of cake. It was dead easy to make, though I fumbled a bit removing it from the pan. If you look really close, you will notice I replaced the bit that got stuck in the pan, atop the cake. Cover it with icing sugar, and no one will be the wiser.
It really helps when making cakes that require egg whites to have the eggs at room temperature before you begin. I have a copper bowl for beating egg whites (I don't use it for anything else) that I picked up twenty years ago at Marshall's. It was expensive, but the ease with which I am able to whip egg white makes it one of my most-used and treasured kitchen tools. If you bake quite a bit, or favour souffles for dinner, consider investing in a copper bowl-they make quick work of egg whites.
You Will Need:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used corn)
6 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set aside a 10 inch tube pan, but do not grease.
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well. Add, in the following order: oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla, lemon juice, and rind. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until they hold stiff peaks. Pour the batter gently over the egg whites, and gently fold with a rubber spatula. Pour into pan, then use a butter knife to cut through the batter in widening circles starting at the centre to remove air bubbles. Bake 55 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F. and then bake 12 minutes longer. Invert to cool over a funnel. Let cool at least an hour.
Dust with icing sugar before serving.