1. PREHEAT oven to 325°F
2. SIFT together flour, baking soda, salt, and 3/4 cup sugar. Set aside.
3. WHISK together egg yolks, vegetable oil, 1/3 cup water, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Add to the sifted dry ingredients; beat until smooth.
4. BEAT egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium speed, until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat on high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute.
5. ADD gradually the remaining tablespoon of sugar; beat on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
6. FOLD egg-white mixture into the batter slowly, 1/3 at a time. Add batter to ungreased tube pan. Using an offset spatula, smooth the top. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake is golden, about 45 minutes.
7. REMOVE cake from oven. Invert the pan over a wine bottle for 2 hours to cool. Remove and run a knife between the between cake and pan; invert again, and remove cake.
8. GARNISH as desired: Dust the plain cake with confectioners’ sugar before serving, or serve with whipped cream. We like to drizzle the cake with the lemon zest glaze below.
LEMON ZEST GLAZE RECIPE
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest
Pinch of salt
1. COMBINE the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well blended.
2. DRIZZLE over the top of the cooled cake.
CANDIED LEMON PEEL RECIPE
2 cups water
2 cups white sugar
1. WASH lemons, pat dry and remove the fruit pulp and as much of the white pith as you can. Cut peel into slices 1/4 inch wide.
2. BOIL water in a small pan; add peel strips. Boil for 5 minutes, until tender.
3. REMOVE peels from water and whisk in sugar until dissolved. Return water to a boil; add peels and boil until syrup absorbs into peel.
4. DRAIN cooked peel on paper towels. After they dry, you can store them in an airtight jar for a week.
You can also use this recipe for candied grapefruit and orange peel.