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Coffee Crunch Cake

1 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup water
1 cup (7 to 8) large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Unflavored vegetable oil
1 tablespoon baking soda, sifted
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup Frosting
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Adjust rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift flour, 3/4 cup sugar and the salt onto a sheet of wax paper;
set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until
thick and pale yellow. Add water and beat until thickened, about
4 minutes. Whisk egg whites in bowl of a heavy-duty mixer just
until frothy. Add cream of tartar; whisk until soft peaks form.
Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a steady stream, whisking until
thicker, stiffer, glossy peaks form -- about 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk
in vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest. Pour yolk mixture over
whites. Fold together with a rubber spatula. Using a metal spatula,
scoop up a third of the flour mixture and sprinkle over mixture;
fold in with a rubber spatula. Repeat two more times just until
ingredients are incorporated. Gently pour batter into an ungreased
10- inch round tube pan with removable bottom (such as an angel
food pan). Level top with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top springs back slightly when
lightly touched. Invert pan over a long-necked bottle to cool for
about 45 minutes.

To remove cake from pan, slip a flexible metal spatula down one
side of pan; slowly trace perimeter to release the cake. When
sides are free, push up on bottom to release cake. Tilt cake, with
removable bottom still attached, and gently tap bottom against
counter to loosen cake. Rotate cake, tapping a few more times,
until it appears free. Cover cake with a rack, and invert; remove
bottom of pan.

Generously oil a large baking sheet; sift baking soda onto a sheet
of wax paper; set nearby. Combine coffee, sugar and corn syrup in
a heavy, 4-quart saucepan. Place over medium-low heat, stirring
occasionally, until sugar dissolves. When mixture is clear and
begins to boil, increase heat to medium- high; cook until mixture
reaches 290 degrees on a candy thermometer. Toward end of cooking
(around 270 degrees-280 degrees), stir occasionally to prevent
mixture from scorching and becoming too foamy). Remove from heat
and stir in baking soda (mixture will foam up fiercely). While
still foaming, pour out onto oiled baking sheet. Do not spread;
let cool undisturbed for at least 1 hour.

Crush into very small pieces. (Place between 2 sheets of wax paper
and tap or roll with rolling pin.) Store in an airtight container.
For the frosting: Combine cream, sugar and vanilla; beat until
cream holds soft peaks.

Slice cooled cake into 3 equal layers using a serrated knife. Spread
whipped cream between each layer, carefully stacking layers. Spread
remaining whipped cream over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate.

Just before serving, generously sprinkle top and sides with the
coffee crunch.

Serves 12.


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