I’ve racked up a pretty extensive collection of layer cakes here, and while I love the challenge of prepping multiple components and the decorating practice, every now and again I just want a no-brainer. I need to simply plop on the couch and eat a giant slab of sheet cake straight from the pan. Okay, so I probably wouldn’t ever actually do that, but I do enjoy the mental image, and the fact that I could if I wanted to.
When I saw a picture of this yogurt cake in the August issue of Gourmet, I knew I had to make it right away. Soft cake, sweet icing and bright red sauce on mismatched vintage plates– how pretty! Never mind that I don’t have any mismatched vintage plates…I knew this would taste just as good on plain white ones.
I eat yogurt pretty much everyday. Usually it’s mixed into my granola or whizzed into a smoothie, but I love to bake with it, too–just feels like it healthies-up the butter! This cake has a really light, moist crumb that is seriously fluffy. I think adding a little citrus zest would work nicely in it, but I’ll save that for next time. And there will be a next time, too, because it came together in a snap– just the no-brainer I wanted! The sauce is gorgeous, and the red currants make it a wee bit tart. I was pleased to have both berries already in the fridge (leftover from my adventures in blanc-manger), but you could easily use all raspberries (and frozen ones, at that) if you can’t find the currants.
Just a couple notes from my kitchen…I used 2% yogurt instead of whole-milk, and I made half a recipe of the cake in an 8-inch square pan, checking it about ten minutes early just to be safe. I also thought that the original amount of icing was a bit of a sugar bomb, so I only made a sixth (using 1/2 cup of powdered sugar), and I used honey in place of the corn syrup. But you do as wish, even if you wish to eat it straight from the pan!
Yogurt Cake with Currant-Raspberry Sauce- makes a 13×9-inch cake
from a recipe in Gourmet (August 2009)
Notes: If you can’t find red currants, you can substitute 2 more cups raspberries.
Sauce keeps, chilled, two days. Cake can be baked and iced one day ahead and kept in a cake keeper (or covered with an inverted roasting pan; do not touch icing) at cool room temperature.
for the cake:
3 cups sifted cake flour (not self-rising; sift before measuring)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, warmed in shell in warm water 10 minutes
2 cups plain whole-milk plain yogurt (not Greek-style) at room temp
for the sauce:
2 cups fresh red currants (1/2 pound), stemmed
4 cups fresh raspberries (16 ounces), divided
2/3 cup granulated sugar
for the icing:
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
scant 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter cake pan, then line bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper and butter parchment. Dust with flour, knocking out excess.
-Sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
-Beat together butter, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, at medium speed. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing until just combined. Spread batter evenly in pan and rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.
-Bake until cake pulls away from sides of pan and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge. Invert onto a rack and discard parchment. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
Make sauce while cake bakes:
-Stir together currants, 2 cups raspberries, sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan and let stand until juicy, about 15 minutes. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until fruit breaks down, about 8 minutes. Force through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Cool sauce.
Make icing and assemble cake:
-Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, cream, and vanilla until smooth.
-Put cake on a platter and spread icing on top in a thick layer, letting it run down sides. Let icing set at least 15 minutes. Serve with sauce and remaining 2 cups raspberries on the side.
I always have yogurt in the fridge (a granola/yogurt mush-up is my standard pre-work brekkie), but sometimes the expiration date does sneak up on me. A yogurt loaf cake is the perfect use-it-up recipe, so I’m no stranger to Liliana’s (of My Cookbook Addiction) pick for TWD this week. I’ve actually made a similar version of Dorie’s French Yogurt Cake before. There was also the time I made Ina’s lemon yogurt cake. Oh, and I even did yogurt cupcakes awhile back. See– these cakes have saved a lot of yogurt from the bin!
A yogurt cake is kind of like a pound cake, but without that nagging, butter-filled guilt. I used low-fat (2%) yogurt and cut back on the oil in the recipe by a couple tablespoons. My cake still stayed nice and moist for a few days. Dorie flavors hers with lemon, but since TWD just did lemon custards last week (and I’m doing something else lemon at the end of this week, too), I used orange zest and orange marmalade in mine. Any citrus works great here, to tell the truth.
I love the addition of almond meal in this version of the cake…très French, I think. The marmalade glaze gives it some bittersweet stickiness. Dorie says to strain the marmalade first. I’m not sure why…I like the zesty bits, so I didn’t bother.
Do you ever find yourself with one or more of the following things in your refrigerator?:
- An extra lemon that you bought a week ago, and is now just rolling back and forth every time you move something around it
- A huge tub of plain yogurt (because the plain only comes in huge tubs, but that’s what you like to eat on your granola) that you don’t know if you’ll be able to finish before it turns icky
- A jar of grapefruit marmalade that looked so beautiful, you had to buy it at the farmers’ market, but now it’s been open forever because it’s actually too thick-cut to be enjoyable on your toast or PB&J
Well, today I realized I had all three and I needed to do something about it. That something was to bake a lemon yogurt cake with marmalade glaze. Yogurt cake is a cousin to pound cake…the cousin you call on when you don’t quite need all those pounds, if ya know what I mean. The yogurt keeps it tender and a little oil keeps it moist. It has a light texture that’s a bit spongier than pound cake.
This is particular recpie is one that my friend P photocopied for me from Bon Appétit magazine a few years ago. I only have the recipe itself, and not the article associated with it, but I noticed that it bears a striking similarity to a recipe I’ve seen in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. After a little Internet research, I found that it is in fact a Dorie recipe– a slightly altered version of what’s in her book. While I’ve made another lemon yogurt cake here before, I’ve actually baked this one a few times, too, with assorted maramalades on top, making my own small tweaks along the way. I prefer to cut down a bit on the oil in the original version and ramp up the lemon. I’ve made those changes in the recipe below, but I link to the original as well.
This cake is happy and sunny; sweet but with a little pucker from the marmalade. And loaf cakes are easy to make, giving you the sugar high you’re after with minimal effort. Speaking of which, I’m sending this over to Tartelette who’s hosting a sweet-tart, citrusy version of Sugar High Friday (started by Jennifer The Domestic Goddess) this month!
Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze- makes one loaf pan
modified from a recipe in Bon Appétit by Dorie Greenspan, February 2005
For the cake:
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 c plain yogurt (whole-milk or low fat)
1 c sugar
3 large eggs
finely grated peel from 1 lemon
juice of half a lemon
1/3 c vegetable oil
For the glaze:
1/4 c lemon, orange, or grapefruit marmalade
1 t water
-Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan.
-Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl.
-Combine yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon peel and lemon juice in large bowl; whisk until well blended. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients. Using rubber spatula, fold in oil.
-Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Place cake on baking sheet in oven and bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
-Cool cake in pan on rack 5 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto rack. Turn cake upright on rack and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.)
-Stir marmalade and 1 teaspoon water in small saucepan over medium heat until marmalade melts. Brush hot mixture over top of cake. Let glaze cool and set before cutting.
Tags: baking, cake, citrus, dessert, fruit
It might technically be spring, but it sure doesn’t feel like it yet. I’m still wearing a scarf inside, my down parka outside, and there was even talk of pulling snow boots out again last night. Oh, bother. A bright spot here, while I wait for spring to really show up, is that the citrus is still good. I think we’re at the tail-end of the preciously short blood orange season. Blood oranges are so sweet and vibrantly colored– I still feel surprised every time I cut one open.
I’ve made lots of yogurt cakes here (and even yogurt cupcakes, too). They stay moist for days, feel less guilty than pound cakes and they’re a great match for citrus, so I looked around on-line to see if anyone had a good one using blood oranges. Most cakes that I saw seemed to resemble another one I’d made, Ina’s Lemon Yogurt Cake, swapping out the lemon zest and juice for blood orange. At its core, so did this one but it has a few tweeks that set it apart for me. Subbing some of the AP four with cornmeal gives the cake a more rustic taste and texture. Swapping the plain vegetable oil for olive oil adds to its fruitiness. Cutting out just a bit of the sugar and forgoing the powdered sugar glaze keeps it from being overly sweet. Don’t worry– a jewel toned blood orange juice soaking syrup drenches the top and seeps into the cake, so you still get enough of that sticky sweetness to call this dessert.
P.S.: If you like cocktails, add a little vodka and a splash of simple syrup to blood orange juice, top it off with seltzer and ice, and you’ll have the most brilliantly colored drink you’ve ever seen.
for the cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal,
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
zest of two blood oranges
1 cup yogurt (Greek or regular, but preferably not non-fat)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup olive oil
for the soaking syrup
1/3 cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (from the two zested oranges)
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
-Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/4″ loaf pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
-In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, rub the 3/4 cup sugar and the blood orange zest together with your fingers until fragrant. Whisk in the yogurt, eggs, vanilla and olive oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, switching to a spatula, if needed. Mix until just fully combined.
-Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Start checking for doneness at 40 minutes.
-When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. While you’re waiting, make the soaking syrup by combining the 1/3 cup blood orange juice and remaining 2 tbsp sugar in a small pan. Bring it up to the boil and simmer until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear, about a minute. Set aside.
-Carefully place the cake on a baking rack over a sheet pan. Use a skewer to poke holes in the top. While the cake is still warm and the syrup is hot, pour the syrup mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. (You can get all the syrup to absorb into the cake or reserve a little bit of it for drizzling over the cut slices, if you’d like).
-Cool completely before slicing.
We’re in the middle of autumn here in the Southern Hemisphere, but a fall day in Sydney feels a lot like a typical spring day in New York to me. The weather is cool and comfortable, and it’s perfect for baking. I’m hoping to just sneak in under deadline for the Weekend Cookbook Challenge (Easter/springtime food is the theme), hosted this month by Marta from An Italian in the US, with the dessert I whipped up for Easter.
Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home is a book that I bought shortly before moving to Sydney. And in the chaos that accompanies a move, I didn’t have any time to make anything from it. Flipping through it recently, I saw a recipe for lemon yogurt loaf cake– no mixer required! Lemon, to me, is a flavor that matches the snappy, sunny weather outside.
What I like best about this cake is that not only is it glazed (and who doesn’t love glaze?!), but it’s also soaked with a lemon simple syrup. The syrup and the yogurt/vegetable oil combo keep it moist for a couple of days, which is good when you’re cooking for two. It’s perfect before bed with a cup of chamomile tea.
I see that this recipe is also on Food Network’s website. Rather than me retyping it, you can print a copy here if you don’t have the book.