And then my day happens. The butter sits there until dinner time, looking all sad and flaccid. That’s when I face the fact that there’ll be no baking today, again. I heft the book back upstairs for some bedtime reading, and I fall asleep dreaming of French Yogurt Cake.
I think the only reason I got around to making this cake today is that I had a half-cup of Total Greek yogurt left in the container, which is just exactly the required amount for this cake. So I seized the moment!
There are a few very nice things about this cake:
1. You don’t need to soften butter.
2. There is no electric mixer needed.
3. You have to massage lemon zest into a bowl of sugar.
If you’ve never rubbed lemon zest between grains of sugar, you haven’t lived. It’s smells way better than that aromatherapy pillow I get to wear around my neck while I’m getting a pedicure.
Dorie’s recipe calls for a lemon marmalade glaze, but I didn’t have any lemon marmalade, so I took her suggestion and topped it with a mixture of crème fraiche, lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar. Somehow that makes it seem really French. She also says this cake is even better the next day. Great! I’ll have a thick slice with my tea while I dream about my next baking project.
Adapted from Baking: From my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan.
The author describes this simple cake as a cross between pound and sponge cake.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground almonds, or substitute another 1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
1/2 cup crème fraiche
2-3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Center an oven rack and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a standard loaf pan and place on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, almonds, baking powder and salt.
Put sugar in a large bowl with the zest and rub with your fingertips until sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla and whisk until blended. Whisk in the oil. Add the flour mixture and fold with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Scrape the batter into pan and bake 50 – 55 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer pan to a rack and cool 5 minutes. Run a blunt knife around edges before unmolding onto a rack to cool, right side up.
Combine crème fraiche, sugar and lemon juice and spoon over cake.