(from Having Tea, by Tricia Foley)
1 c. unsalted butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
Grated rind of 2 lemons
1 T. lemon juice
1 c. sour cream
2 t. vanilla extract
6 egg whites
Pinch of salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1 c. blanched almonds, finely chopped
Syrup: ¼ c. lemon juice
¼ c. water
½ c. brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan or 10-inch loaf pan.
In a bowl, cream the butter with ½ c. sugar. Beat in the lemon rind, lemon juice, sour cream, and vanilla.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until stiff. Gradually beat in the remaining ½ c. sugar.
In a third bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder. Stir in the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, along with a third of the egg whites. Gently add the rest of the egg whites and stir until thoroughly folded in. Mix in the almonds.
Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hr. and 10 mins. or until a toothpick comes out clean when tested in the center. To make a syrup, combine the lemon juice, water, and brown sugar in a pan and cook, stirring over low heat, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Immediately upon removing the cake from the oven, prick the top with a long-tined fork or thin skewer and pour the lemon juice-brown sugar syrup all over the top to cover it completely. Cool in the pan to let the tangy syrup soak in.
(Notes: I used Meyer lemons for the grated lemon rind and juice; I ground the almonds in a food processor until they were finely chopped – but not until they were a paste! I made the syrup first and chilled it in the refrigerator while preparing and baking the cake; I poured cold syrup over the hot cake.)