Key Lime Meringue Cake
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  • For Cake
  • 1/2 cup   all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup   whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon   salt
  • 4   large eggs, at room temperature (see Cake-Baking Tips)
  • 2/3 cup   sugar
  • 1 teaspoon   vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon   freshly grated lime zest, preferably Key lime (see Ingredient notes)
  • 3 tablespoons   almond oil or canola oil
  • For Lime filling
  • 1 14- ounce can  nonfat sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
  • 1/3 cup   lime juice, preferably Key lime
  • 1 teaspoon   freshly grated lime zest, preferably Key lime
  • For Meringue
  • 2   large egg whites, at room temperature, or equivalent dried egg whites, reconstituted according to package directions (see Ingredient notes)
  • 1/4 cup   sugar
  • Ingredient Note: Key limes are more fragrant, acidic and juicy than the common Persian lime found in U.S. markets. Look for the small, round limes with yellow-green skin in the specialty-produce section of supermarkets or Latin food markets.Dried egg whites are pasteurized—a wise choice when making an uncooked meringue. They are also convenient when you have no use for leftover yolks. You'll find them in the baking or natural-foods section of most supermarkets.Cake-Baking TipsWhen using cake pans, they must be greased and floured to create a thin layer of protection against the oven's heat. For greater convenience, use a cooking spray that has flour in the mix, such as Pam for Baking, Baker's Joy or Crisco No-Stick Flour Spray.Whole-wheat pastry flour has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour, making it a better choice for tender baked goods.To properly measure flour when baking, use a spoon to lightly scoop flour from its container into a measuring cup. Once in the measuring cup, use a knife or other straight edge to level the flour with the top of the cup. If the measuring cup is dipped directly into the container—a common mistake—the flour will be packed into the cup and result in extra flour being added to the recipe, yielding tough, dense baked goods.Room-temperature butter for a batter is one of the biggest culinary missteps. In fact, butter must be below 68°F to trap air molecules and build structure. Otherwise, the fat will be liquefied and the cake will be flat. To get "cool" butter: Cut refrigerated butter into chunks and let them sit in a bowl for 5 minutes before beating.Eggs must be at room temperature for the proteins to unwind enough to support the cake's crumb. Either set the eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.Although you cannot overbeat the eggs, sugar and butter, you can overbeat the flour. If you do, you'll develop the gluten and create a quick bread rather than a layer cake. Beat the flour just until there are no white grains of undissolved flour visible but not until the batter is smooth.



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