Lemon Angel Food Cake with Preserved Lemon Curd

by Cindi SutterFounder of The Spirited Table® - Recipe by Melissa Clark

  Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Adding preserved lemon juice to lemon curd is the brilliant brainchild of Samantha Kincaid, the pastry chef of the restaurant High Street on Hudson. It adds a complex brininess to what can be an overly sweet citrus custard. In this recipe, the curd is lightened with a little whipped cream and used to frost and fill a lemon-flavored angel food cake. It’s a stunning dessert that’s bright, rich and light all at once.
Featured in: Eggs Give Dessert A Spring In Its Step.

Ingredients
For the cake:
1 cup/110 grams cake flour
1 ⅓ cups/265 grams granulated sugar
12 large egg whites
Pinch kosher salt
1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
½ cup/62 grams confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp lemon extract

For the preserved lemon curd:
½ cup/118 milliliters lemon juice
1 ½ tsp powdered gelatin
6 large eggs
1 ¼ cups/250 grams granulated sugar
½ cup/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
¼ cup/60 milliliters preserved lemon juice (strained off from a batch of salt preserved lemons, either store-bought or homemade)
Finely grated zest of two lemons
¾ tsp kosher salt
1 cup/236 milliliters heavy cream

Instructions

  1. Make the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center.
  2. Sift flour and 1/3 cup/65 grams granulated sugar into a large bowl.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites, salt and cream of tartar and beat with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes.
  4. Gradually add in remaining 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until firm, glossy peaks form. Beat in confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest, vanilla and lemon extract.
  5. Sift a quarter of the flour mixture over egg whites and use a rubber spatula to fold until barely combined. Repeat with remaining flour in 3 more additions.
  6. Scrape into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, smooth top, and bake until cake is springy and pulls away from the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  7. Make the curd: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup/59 milliliters lemon juice and gelatin; set aside to bloom. In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs.
  8. In a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar, butter, remaining 1/4 cup/59 milliliters fresh lemon juice, the preserved lemon juice, the zest and the salt. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water until warm. Remove from the heat, then pour over the eggs in a thin stream, constantly whisking. Place bowl with the egg and lemon mixture over the simmering water pot and cook, stirring constantly, to 175 degrees, about 5 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat, stir in gelatin mixture and immediately pour through a fine strainer into a wide bowl set over ice bath, stirring until mixture is cool. Chill for 1 hour.
  10. Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Fold into the lemon curd and chill for another hour, until cold.
  11. To serve, unmold the cake. Using a serrated knife, halve the cake crosswise to create 2 layers. Dollop on some of the lemon cream to cover. Top with the cake and dollop on more lemon cream. (Remaining lemon cream will last up to a week in the refrigerator.)