After the excesses of Christmas and the New Year (ok, mostly Christmas food), I needed a guilt-free way to assuage my baking need. So I pulled out one of my favorites – Dorie Greenspan’s French Lemon Yoghurt Cake.
By the way, Dorie Greenspan is one of my favourite cookbook authors… I do have many favourites and do use recipes by many other famous cooks / chefs, but Dorie holds a special place in my heart. I always find her recipes incredibly well-written, and I love her style, which is homely, French-inspired with a slight American twang. I can honestly say that this is the only book that I have wanted (and tried) to bake through, from cover to cover. I can totally understand why there are blogs dedicated to baking through every recipe in Dorie’s books!
She also leaves lots of room for playing around in her recipes, which are wonderful… did I mention I love her recipe-writing? Ok yes, I do suffer from a (more than) small amount of culinary idolism when it comes to Dorie Greenspan. So I guess this post is a sort-of-rave about Dorie! Plus she just looks like a nice person… like a pixie : )
Ok, enough idolizing and on to the loaf cake. This lemon yoghurt cake is one of the easier recipes in Dorie’s book – you literally just combine the wet and dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. No mixer required at all. It’s healthy too – there’s no butter since I use olive oil as Dorie suggests, so it’s practically guilt-free! What more can one ask for? ; )
I love baking this cake during the weekend for the week ahead. It’s the perfect cake to take to work or school for tea time hunger pangs.
As Dorie’s recipe is pretty perfect, I can bake it straight from the book without any modifications. However I do like to use olive oil as mentioned because I like to believe it’s healthier, and I sometimes change up the flavor combinations with lemon and rosemary, lemon and lavender, or orange and rosemary depending on my mood.
The lemon glaze takes it up a notch, and I’ve topped the cake with preserved lemon slices. But you can just bake the loaf straight up as and it will still be scrumptious.
All in all, it’s a wonderful loaf cake!
The recipe is provided below. Enjoy!
Lemon Riviera Loaf Cake
Recipe courtesy of “Dorie Greenspan: Baking from my Home to Yours”
128g / 1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
200g / 1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup plain or Greek yogurt
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon marmalade, strained, for glazing the top (optional)
1 teaspoon water, for glazing the top (optional)
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter an 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch loaf pan, place the pan on a lined baking sheet and set aside.
2. Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, if you’re using them, baking powder and salt and keep near by as well.
3. Put the sugar, zest and minced rosemary in a medium bowl and, working with your fingertips, rub the zest and rosemary into the sugar until the sugar is moist and aromatic.
4. Add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla to the bowl and whisk vigorously until the mixture is very well blended. Still whisking, stir in the dry ingredients, then switch to a large rubber spatula and fold in the oil. You’ll have a thick, smooth batter with a slight sheen.
5. Srape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
6. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan; it will be golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean.
7. Transfer the pan to a rack, cool for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. Unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up.
8. To make the glaze: