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Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Recipe: Gâteau a l'Orange et aux Amandes (Orange and Almond Spongecake)

8 servings

Batter:

- ¼ pound butter
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 3 egg yolks, room temperature
- Grated rind of 1 orange
- 1/3 cup strained orange juice
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ¾ cup pulverized almonds
- ¾ cup sifted cake flour

Egg whites:

- 3 egg whites, room temperature
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Powdered sugar

1. Butter and flour a round 9-inch cake pan; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Measure out all the ingredients.

2. Melt the butter and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks and continue beating until mixture is thick, pale yellow and forms a ribbon when beaters are lifted. Add orange rind, juice and almond extract. Beat for a moment until mixture is light and foamy. Then beat in almonds, and finally the flour.

3. Beat the egg whites and salt together in a separate bowl until soft peaks form. Sprinkle on the sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. (They should stand in upright peaks on the beaters when lifted.) Using a rubber spatula, fold the cool, melted butter into the cake batter, omitting the milky residue at the bottom of the pan. Stir one-fourth of the egg whites into the batter, then delicately fold in the rest. With the spatula, cut down through the center of the mixture to the bottom of the bowl, then draw the spatula toward you against the edge of the bowl, and up to the left and out. Continue folding, rotating the bowl, until the whites have just a few remaining patches left.

4. Immediately turn into prepared cake pan and run the batter up to the rim. Bake in middle level of preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Cake is done when it has puffed and browned lightly, the top is springy when pressed, and a needle plunged into the center of the cake comes out clean.

5. Remove from oven and let stand about 10 minutes, until cake begins to shrink from sides of pan. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and reverse onto a rack, giving it a small, sharp, downward jerk to dislodge it. Immediately reverse so puffed side is up. Let cool an hour. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

From "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle and Julia Child.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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