Bake the cake in a 10″ bundt/tube pan and dust with confectioner’s sugar. Enjoy as a light, fluffy tea-cake. Or, bake in a traditional 10″ x 3″ round cake pan and frost with Lemon Cream-Cheese Frosting. (Alternatively divide cake batter in two 8″ x 2″ round cake pans. Double the frosting ingredients, place one cake bottom-side up, spread top with half the frosting. Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides.)
2cupsall-purpose flour(500 g/1.10 lb)
1 1/2cupssugar(375 g/0.83 lb)
3/4cupwater(180 ml/6.1 Fl.oz)
1/2cupvegetable oil(125 ml/4.2 Fl. oz)
1vanilla bean(split it down its length using a paring knife, scrape out seeds)
200gcream cheese(0.44 lb) – you can also use light cream cheese
3cupsconfectioner’s/icing sugar(750 g/26.5 Fl.oz)
4 1/2tsplemon zest
1/4cuplemon juice(60 ml/2.0 Fl.oz)
Begin by separating the eggs. Place the egg whites in a large bowl and let them stand in room temperature while you tackle the rest of the steps. Make also sure you preheat the oven at 325 °F.
Sift together—twice!—the flour, the sugar, the baking powder, and the salt; place ingredients in another large bowl.
In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks with the water, oil, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and vanilla seeds until mixture is smooth. Add to the flour mixture and beat away until your batter is well blended.
Add the citric acid to the egg whites; with a clean set of beaters, beat on medium speed until they are stiff. Start folding them into the batter: begin with a couple of spatula-scoops, then fold in the remaining.
Pour batter into an ungreased, non-stick 10″ bundt/tube pan or a traditional 10″ x 3″ round cake pan. Poke through the batter with a knife to remove air pockets and bake on a low rack at 355 °F, for 45-50 minutes.
Take out of the oven and immediately invert the pan on a cooling rack; let it sit up to an hour. Run a knife around the sides (and tube, if you use such pan). You will apparently need to flip the cake top-side up, run the knife around, invert it again, and remove it onto a serving plate.
Dust with icing sugar, or frost.
How to scrape out the vanilla seeds: Working with one half at a time, hold down the tip of the bean against the cutting board. Use the dull side of your paring knife—not the sharp!—and scrape the vanilla seeds from the skin. Move from the tip of the pod, while also holding it from there, and scrape down the entire length. Use the seeds immediately (scrape as soon as the recipe asks you to add the seeds and mix them right into the rest of the ingredients)!
Don’t throw away the empty vanilla pod: Scraped-out pods can be used to infuse milk or cream, or stick them in a jar of sugar!
You can use any kind of mild vegetable oil you like. I used sunflower oil.