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updated: 10/23/2012 9:08 AM

Vanilla Cloud Cake

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1 cups superfine sugar, divided (see note)

cup cake flour

2 cups egg whites (about 16 large egg whites), at room temperature

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste


8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

6 ounces white chocolate, melted and cooled

2 cups heavy cream, very cold

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

For the cake: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together half of the sugar and flour into a medium bowl.

In the bowl of a stand bowl mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and salt on medium-high speed until mixture holds soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the remaining sugar and beat until mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks. Beat in vanilla bean paste.

Sift flour mixture in three additions into egg-white mixture, gently folding after each addition to incorporate. Scrape batter into a 10-inch angel food cake pan with a removable bottom and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until cake is deeply golden with a deep crack in the surface and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs (a metal tester will come out clean even if cake is not done).

Invert the pan onto the bottle and let cool completely. Run a thin spatula along the sides and around the center of the cake to loosen from pan and transfer to a serving platter.

For the frosting: Beat together cream cheese and white chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and creamy.

In a separate bowl, whip together cream, vanilla extract, and vanilla bean paste until stiff peaks form. Gently stir about one-third of the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining whipped cream.

Frost the cake generously, using the back of a tablespoon to create swoops and swirls.

Serves 10 to 12.

Cook's note: Make superfine sugar by grinding granulated sugar in a food processor or clean coffee grinder

"Pure Vanilla" by Shauna Sever (2012 Quirk)

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