We liked the compote with whole dried fruit, but you can chop the fruit, if you'd like.
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
12 large egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup dried cranberries
8 dried figs, halved (about 4 ounces)
2 (7-ounce) packages dried mixed fruit
3/4 cup crème fraîche
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 325°.
To prepare cake, lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife.
Sift together flour and 3/4 cup sugar. Beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt; beat until soft peaks form. Add 3/4 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla. Sift flour mixture over egg white mixture, 3 tablespoons at a time; fold in.
Spoon batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan, spreading evenly. Break air pockets by cutting through batter with a knife. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan, and cool completely. Loosen cake from sides of pan using a narrow metal spatula. Invert the cake onto plate. Cut cake into 12 slices.
To prepare compote, combine water, 1/4 cup sugar, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add dried fruits; cover and simmer 25 minutes or until fruit is tender, stirring once. Remove from heat. Remove vanilla bean. Let bean stand 5 minutes. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds into the fruit mixture. Discard bean. Cool to room temperature. Spoon compote over cake slices, and top with crème fraîche.