This is a simple and light dessert that you will make over and over again in many different ways. It is great by itself, with some chocolate or fruit syrup poured over it, or topped with ice cream and berries. In the winter, I like it with poached or baked winter fruits, such as pears, apples, or quince.
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1½ cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting the cake
- Pinch kosher salt
- 12 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 lemon, grated
- Fresh berries, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, and salt onto a piece of parchment paper.
In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. While beating on -medium–high, gradually add in the granulated sugar, and beat until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest, and mix in.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, and fold in about a third of the flour mixture. Gently fold in the remaining flour in two more additions.
Scrape the batter into a -10–inch ungreased tube pan. Do not grease the angel food baking pan; since this is basically a meringue cake, it needs to climb the sides of the pan while baking. This will not happen properly if the pan is greased. Bake until the top is lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Cool upside down on the counter (if your pan has “legs”), or invert and cool on the neck of a glass bottle. Let cool completely. Run the edges of a knife around the pan to loosen and unmold. Cut into wedges with a serrated knife, and serve with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar and fresh berries.