Yield: One 10-inch cake, 10 to 12 servings
- 3 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour plus 1 ounce potato starch or 1/4 pound cake flour
- 11/2 cups superfine sugar
- 12 large egg whites (11/2 cups), at room temperature
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons rosewater
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 pound (11/4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
- Juice of 1 lime (4 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon rose syrup, substitute grenadine syrup or framboise liqueur plus 1 teaspoon rose water
- Touch of rose coloring paste, optional
- Fresh or dried rose petals and leaves for garnish, optional
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a small bowl, whisk the flour and potato starch and 3/4 cup of the sugar together.
In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and water at medium speed until frothy, add the salt, cream of tartar, rosewater, and vanilla, and beat briefly to combine. Slowly add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and continue beating until the whites are moist and glossy and just firm enough to hold a peak. Take care not to overbeat the whites, which will cause a dry and ill-formed cake.
Transfer the mixture to a large, wide bowl. Sift enough of the flour mixture to dust the top of the foam. Using a spatula, fold in gently. Continue dusting and folding until all of the flour mixture is incorporated.
Carefully spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, preferably a special angel food pan. Using an icing spatula, cut through the batter with a circular motion to remove any large air bubbles and to draw the batter into any unfilled spaces. Shake the batter back and forth to even the top.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the cake is springy to the touch and a metal skewer or toothpick comes out clean. If the pan has feet, invert it over a work surface; otherwise invert it over the neck of a bottle. Cool for at least 1 hour before removing the cake from the pan. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan and the inside tube to loosen the cake onto a cake plate, inverting if the cake is upside-down.
Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, lime juice, rose syrup, and rose coloring paste, until smooth and thick. Drizzle the glaze over the cake, let the cake stand for 10 minutes, or until the glaze is set, and garnish it with the rose petals. (I like to decorate the cake as my artistic daughter Ginevra suggested: a narrow band of individual rose petals surrounding the inner edge of the cake and a matching band around the outer edge.)
(from Starting with Ingredients: Baking)