Dry Ingredients:
2 + 1/4 cups (8 ounces) cake flour (not self-rising)
1 + 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 - 2 tablespoons lemon zest
Wet Ingredients:
cup canola oil / sunflower oil
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup water @ room temperature (I use bottled)
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Meringue:
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar
7 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. You'll need a 10-inch tube pan with a detachable bottom - ungreased as the batter needs to climb up the sides OR line two 9 inch baking pan with wax paper and do not grease the pan - place small ramekins in the middle of the pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the 1 + 1/2 cups sugar and the lemon zest. Work the zest and sugar together with your fingers until the sugar is grainy.
Add the cake flour, baking soda and salt to the bowl. If using a stand mixer, use the beater attachment and beat on low until the ingredients are well incorporated. You can also do this by hand with a whisk.
Make a well in the center of the ingredients and add the oil, egg yolks, water, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix about one minute on medium speed until the batter is smooth and there are no lumps.
In a second large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they are foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat on medium speed until they reach soft peak stage. You will know your egg whites have reached this stage when the beaters start to leave a trail or when the peaks fall over when the beaters are raised.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and continue to beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks - when the beaters are raised the egg whites don't fall off.
Using a slotted spoon or balloon whisk, add 1/3 of the egg whites to your cake batter and gently stir until they are incorporated. Add the remaining egg whites to the batter and very gently fold them into the batter until they are incorporated and no traces of egg whites remain.
Pour the batter into the (ungreased) pan and run a small metal spatula or knife through the batter to prevent air pockets. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed in the center.
Once cooked, take the cake out of the oven and immediately turn it upside down over a bottle or similar to it until it is completely cool, which can take up to 90 minutes.
Using an up and down motion, use a palette knife to loosen the sides of the cake away from the tin. Pull out the cake and use the palette knife around the bottom of the cake to release it from the base. Turn it over so that the base becomes the top and sprinkle with a dusting of icing sugar. Serve with whipped cream and fresh berries if desired.