American Sponge Cake: Preheat
your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of
the oven. Have ready an ungreased two-piece 10 inch (25 cm) tube pan.
the eggs while they are still cold, placing the yolks in one bowl and the whites in another
bowl. Cover the two bowls with plastic wrap and bring to room temperature (about 30
to 60 minutes).
sift or whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
a small bowl, place 2/3 cup (135 grams) of the sugar. With a fork, mix the lemon
or orange zest into the sugar.
Place the egg yolks
and the lemon/sugar mixture into the bowl of
your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Beat
on high speed until the mixture is thick, fluffy, and light
colored (when you slowly raise the beater the batter will fall back into the
bowl in a slow ribbon). This will take about 4 to 5 minutes. Then beat in the vanilla extract
and water. Set aside while you beat the egg whites.
In a clean bowl, with the whisk
attachment, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar, on medium low speed, until
soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/3 cup (65
grams) of sugar and continue beating, on medium high speed, until the egg whites are shiny
and form stiff peaks.
Next, sift the flour
mixture over the beaten egg yolks (about one third of the flour mixture at a
time) and gently but quickly fold (with a wire whisk or rubber spatula) the
flour into the egg yolk batter. Then
gently fold a little of the beaten egg whites into the batter to lighten it, and
then add the rest of the whites, folding just until incorporated.
(Do not over mix the batter or it will deflate.)
Pour the batter into the tube pan, smoothing the top.
Bake in preheated oven for
28 - 32 minutes or
until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove
from oven and immediately invert the pan (turn upside down) and suspend it
by placing the inner tube on the top of a flat topped bowl. Allow the
cake to cool completely before unmolding (about one hour). To remove the
cake from the pan, first run a flat metal spatula or
sharp knife around the inside of the pan and then remove the center core of the
pan. Run the spatula along the bottom and center core of the pan. Invert the
cake onto a greased wire rack. The cake can be served plain with a dusting of
powdered sugar or with fresh fruit and softly whipped cream. This cake can be
covered and stored for a few days, or it can be frozen.
Serves about 10