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MOM FOOD : Remembering the women who shaped our tastes. The recipes are the least of it. : We Remember Mama : The Only Cake For Me


Every year, from the time I can remember, my mother would ask what kind of cake I wanted her to bake for my birthday. And every year my answer was the same: Daffodil Cake With Fluffy White Frosting. I remember her gently trying to persuade me to vary the choice, but I stood steadfast until I was 14 years old. The only change I accepted was tinting the frosting pink.

Daffodil cake is actually two cakes in one--delicate angel food and rich, golden spongecake. The batters are prepared separately, then folded together. Some versions simply swirl the two portions to create a marbled effect.

The cake is baked in an ungreased tube pan so it rises to maximum volume. Cool in an inverted position to keep the delicate cell walls stretched, or the cake will collapse.

What I called Fluffy White Frosting was more popularly known as seven-minute frosting. It's simply egg whites beaten stiff with hot corn syrup and flavored with a little salt and vanilla. This frosting must be prepared the day the cake is served--it turns sticky by the second day.

Tasting this dessert for the first time after more than 30 years, I still think the cake is terrific, but I might opt to skip the frosting and simply dust it with powdered sugar or drizzle on a lemon glaze.


6 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons cold water

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Fluffy White Frosting

Beat egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. Beat in water and 1/2 cup sugar. Combine 1/2 cup flour and baking powder and beat into egg yolk mixture, then beat in vanilla. Set mixture aside.

Beat egg whites until frothy. Add cream of tartar and 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff. Combine remaining 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Fold into batter.

Pour egg yolk mixture over egg white mixture and gently fold together. Place in ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 40 minutes or until wood pick inserted near center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and invert to cool. Frost with Fluffy White Frosting. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Fluffy White Frosting

1 1/4 cups white corn syrup

2 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat corn syrup to boiling in small saucepan. Combine egg whites, salt and vanilla in bowl. Beat at high speed with electric mixer until egg whites are stiff, but not dry.

Slowly pour in boiling syrup, continuing to beat until frosting is fluffy and hangs in peaks from beater.

Note: Frosting may be tinted with food color, if desired.

Styling by Minnie Bernardino and Donna Deane

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