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Lemon Meringue Angel Food Cake



  • 1 1/2 cups (11 to 12) large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1 cup sifted cake flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Lemon Curd Filling

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (2 lemons) strained lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) sweet butter, chilled and cut into 6 pieces

Italian Meringue Frosting

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (about 3) large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Cake: Place egg whites and cold water in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Set aside until they are 60 degrees F, or slightly below room temperature.
  2. Pour flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and salt into a triple sifter or sieve. Sift onto a sheet of wax paper, set aside.
  3. Adjust rack in lower third of oven, and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Set nearby a dry, ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Place a long neck bottle or large metal funnel nearby for inverting the baked cake.
  4. Whip egg whites, preferably with a whisk attachment until frothy. Add cream of tartar and whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Continue whipping and gradually add the 1 cup granulated sugar until whites have thickened and form soft droopy white peaks. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest in the final moments of whipping. Sprinkle one quarter of the flour mixture over the whites and with a rubber spatula, fold in the whites.
  5. Repeat this process with the remaining flour mixture, folding in only one quarter of the flour mixture at a time. Gently pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan.
  6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top is light golden, the cake feels spongy and springs back when touched, and a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out free of cake.
  7. Invert cake onto the neck of a bottle or funnel. Cool completely before removing from pan.
  8. To remove cake from pan, slip just the tip of a small metal spatula between the cake and the pan. Slowly trace the perimeter to release any cake sticking to the pan. Tilt the cake pan on its side, gently tap the bottom against the counter to loosen the cake. Rotate the cake pan tapping as you turn it a few more times, until it appears free. Cover the cake with a rack or a cardboard round, and at the same time that you invert the cake onto the work surface, tap it firmly onto the surface. Life the pan from the cake.
  9. Lemon Curd Filling: In a 1 1/2-quart heavy bottom saucepan, whisk briefly to combine eggs, egg yolks, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add the pieces of butter, and place the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly over the entire bottom. Cook the mixture without boiling until it begins to develop body and thicken. Remove from heat and pour through a stainless steel sieve into a bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap, poke a few small slits in the plastic with the tip of a paring blade, allowing steam to escape while cooling. Refrigerate (curd will thicken).
  10. Italian Meringue Frosting: In a 3 cup saucepan, combine the water and 2/3 cup sugar. Place over low heat to dissolve the sugar, then increase the heat to medium high and boil, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 235 degrees F. Wash down any sugar crystals clinging to the sides of the pan with a brush dipped in cold water.
  11. Near the end of the boiling time, whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the 2 tablespoons sugar, and continue to whip until the whites are still but not dry. With the mixer running, pour the syrup onto the whipped whites. Continue to whip on medium speed, about 3 minutes or more. Mixture will thicken, cool and form glossy stiff peaks. Add the vanilla extract.
  12. Cool to room temperature, about 8 to 10 minutes, then frost cake right away.
  13. Assembling the Dessert: Cut cake into three layers. Spread the lemon filling equally between the two layers, top with remaining layer. Frost top and sides of cake with Italian Meringue Frosting.

Yield: 12 to 14 servings


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