The most difficult thing about this cake is sifting the brown sugar. I don’t know if my sifter is too fine or if my brown sugar was particularly coarse, but it took a bit of work to get it all sifted. The cake flour needs to be sifted as well, but that was much simpler. Half of the sifted brown sugar was then combined with the cake flour, and that mixture was sifted together twice. Next, fourteen egg whites were needed, and I was glad to have seven ready and waiting that I had pulled from the freezer and thawed. To bring the egg whites to room temperature, I set the mixing bowl into a larger bowl of hot water and stirred the egg whites around until they warmed up some. The room temperature egg whites were whisked using a stand mixer until foamy, and then cream of tartar was added. The mixer speed was increased, and the egg whites were whisked until very thick. Half of the sugar was added, and the whisking continued. The remaining sugar was added and whisked until the egg whites were stiff. The flour and sugar mixture was folded in in three additions. Lemon zest was to be added with the last addition of the flour mixture, and I worked the zest into the flour to be sure there were no clumps before adding. The batter was spooned into a tube pan and baked for about 45 minutes. I hulled and chopped strawberries and sprinkled them with vanilla sugar to get the juices running. The cake was served with whipped cream and those sweet, juicy berries.
The light, airy texture of this cake is the same as any other angel food, but the crumb has a delightfully honey-like color. The lemon flavor is subtle here, and the brown sugar gives the cake just the slightest hint of butterscotch. It’s like a sweet angel food cake with a little something extra. It was exactly what I wanted for my birthday cake. And now, I want to try all those other versions too.
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