Pecan sponge cake
5 ounces (1¼ cups) pecans, toasted and cooled, plus a few more for garnish
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½ cup sifted cake flour
¾ cup sugar, divided
4 eggs, separated
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
2½ cups heavy cream
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray.
In a food processor, combine the pecans, cake flour and ¼ cup of the sugar. Process until finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the egg yolks and another ¼ cup sugar until thick and pale. Set aside.
In another very clean bowl with a clean whisk, beat together the egg whites, salt and the remaining ¼ cup sugar until thick and glossy stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg yolks and half of the egg whites into the pecan flour. Fold the remaining egg whites into the mixture until thoroughly but gently combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Set aside, in the pan, to cool completely.
While the cake is baking, begin the mousse. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar, then add the eggs and whisk until smooth. Add the lemon juice and zest, then set over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil; cook until it thickens. If there are any lumps, strain the mixture. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
Once the cake and mousse base are both cool, in a large bowl use an electric mixer to whip the heavy cream to medium peaks. Fold half the cream into the mousse base. When thoroughly combined, fold in the remaining whipped cream. Spoon or pipe the mixture onto the cake. Garnish with toasted pecans and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
When ready to serve, run a paring knife around the edge of the pan and loosen the sides. Remove the sides of the springform pan and serve.
Nutrition values per serving: 390 calories, 30 g fat (13 g saturated), 27 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 7 g protein, 190 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium.
Alison Ladman for The Associated Press