Yield: 24 servings
Make this cake at least one day before serving. It freezes beautifully also.
8 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup walnuts, chopped very fine
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a Bundt or tube pan.
Separate the eggs. Sift the flour with the baking soda and 1 1/4 cups of sugar. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream it well. Beat in the flour-sugar mixture by thirds, then beat in the lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in the egg yolks one by one, being sure each is absorbed before you add the next.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the salt and the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the remaining 1 cup of sugar, and continue beating until the mixture is glossy and holds stiff peaks.
Fold the nuts into the flour mixture, and gently fold in the beaten egg whites. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and gently cut through the batter once or twice with a rubber spatula to break any large air bubbles.
Bake the cake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a knife or wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Do not open the oven during the first hour of baking. Turn off the heat and let the cake sit in the hot oven for 15 minutes.
Remove cake from the oven, and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes more. Remove the cake from the pan and sprinkle lightly with confectioners' sugar. Let cool thoroughly, then wrap tightly in foil.
Serve in thin slices, with whipped cream, if desired.