My mother is currently using all of her green thumb efforts to grow a lemon tree in a large ceramic pot, poolside. As part of a summer edibles project, we have cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and tons of herbs by the bushel peppering our backyard. Unfortunately, I did not get the gardening gene (and had a plant graveyard on my porch my freshman year of college to prove it) but I do have a knack for taking what’s grown and making it tasty. Take this lemon sponge cake for example:
Looks pretty appetizing, yes? You’d never know that I once had four different kinds of herbs, a blueberry plant, a corn plant, some random flowers and maybe some more herbs that never really made it through.
I love anything citrus though, especially during the summer. We crafted this cake for a wee dinner party and it was a huge hit! So light and fresh, it’s a perfect complement to some sweet Southern iced tea and rocking chairs on the porch.
Healthy Lemon Sponge Cake
- 7 egg whites, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons teaspoon hot water
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup white whole wheat cake flour*
- 2 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- berries, lemon slices and powdered sugar, for garnish
- Heat oven to 350°F. Place egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in 2 tablespoons of the sugar and set aside.
- Put egg yolks and remaining 1 cup sugar in another large bowl. Add hot water and beat until the eggs are pale and yellow in color, about 4 minutes. Beat in lemon zest, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt.
- Gradually beat in flour, then gently fold one-fourth of the egg whites into yolk mixture. Adding one-fourth of whites at a time, gently fold in the remaining.
- Spray a 10″ springform pan and pour in batter. Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
- Set cake on a rack until mostly cool. When finished, run knife around edge to loosen the cake and remove it from pan. Top with powdered sugar and garnish with berries and lemon slices.
*To make cake flour: measure out white whole wheat flour and remove two tablespoons from it. Replace the two tablespoons of flour with two tablespoons of corn starch and sift multiple times until light and fluffy.