This is the consummate guiltless dessert: fat- and cholesterol-free! A big, plump strawberry sliced thin (not all the way through) and fanned out makes an attractive garnish.
Makes 12 servings
1¼ cups superfine sugar, divided 1 cup sifted cake flour 12 large egg whites, at room temperature 1 teaspoon cream of tartar ½ teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together ¾ cup of sugar and all of the cake flour. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the egg whites until they are thick and foamy. (Having the egg whites at room temperature is important in order for them to beat high and fluffy, so be sure to allow them to sit out for 20 to 30 minutes.) Increase the speed to high, then add the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla. Beat until soft peaks form, then sprinkle the remaining sugar gradually over the top of the batter while still beating. Continue to beat until stiff and glossy. Do not overbeat.
4. In three batches, gently (and quickly) fold the flour mixture into the egg white mixture, using a rubber spatula, slotted spoon or large balloon whisk. Pour the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan with removable sides; use a narrow metal spatula or sharp knife to cut through the batter and eliminate any air pockets.
5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Invert the cake over a funnel or narrow bottle to cool. Run a long, thin knife around the side of the cake and release the sides of the pan.
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Recipe developed by Pat Baird, registered dietitian and member of the National Heartburn Alliance Board of Directors. She is also the author of numerous award-winning articles and cookbooks, including Be Good to Your Gut.