Perfect Party Cake
from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract
Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant.
Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the tough – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean.
Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
While still warm, poke each layer all over with a fork, and pour over lemon glaze (recipe follows). When cool, frost cake with black tea frosting & garnish with candied lemon slices.Lemon Glaze
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and lemon juice, stir with a fork. Black Tea Frosting
2 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup strongly brewed black tea
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup strongly brewed black tea
Beat egg whites in a mixing bowl until foamy & thick, they should mound, but not peak.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cream of tartar, black tea & salt. Bring to a boil. Boil for 3-4 minutes, or until a candy thermometer reads 242 degrees F and all sugar is dissolved.
Begin beating the egg whites again and slowly pour in boiling sugar syrup in a slow steam. Continue to beat on high for 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
Add 1/4 black tea by the tablespoon, beating after each addition.
Continue beating until frosting reaches desired consistency, about 2 minutes. Use immediately.Candied Lemon Slices
From Martha Stewart