Sunday, October 26, 2014

French Yogurt Cake (by request)

This is my go-to cake for all occasions these days. I have made this cake at least five times in the last three months. It's proportional, so you can scale the recipe up or down as needed (more or less, except for the eggs, but I'm sure you can figure that out if you really have your heart set on making a 1 3/8 recipe or whatever).

I have filled it with jam, stuffed it with fruit, dumped spices into it, swapped out regular flour for a variety of gluten-free baking mixes, and still it comes out great. Shamelessly pulled from Orangette, brutally modified and occasionally frosted, I give you ...French Yogurt Cake. 

1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour or gluten-free baking mix (try Bob's Mill Fava and Garbanzo Bean one, it's great)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup oil or melted butter (I like coconut oil)
zest of 1/4 lemon (get out your microplane, I know you have one)

Optional stuff for the cake pictured above:
3 ripe pears, cubed
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup pecan pieces

Mix the yogurt, sugar and eggs well in a large bowl. Then add the flour and baking powder -- making sure you sprinkle on the baking powder so it mixes well. Mix again, then add oil and lemon zest . . . yeah, keep stirring. Add in any optional ingredients at this point. Make sure it's all blended really well. Don't overdo it, but make sure there are no lumps. Blob it (evenly) into a well-buttered spring form pan or 9" cake tin, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. That's it. You now have cake :)

You can also make the batter and put the fruit in the middle -- fill the tin with half the batter, layer the fruit bits, then top with more batter and bake it that way.

The basic cake is a bit plain (Orangette douses hers with a sugar syrup glaze that I probably need to try someday), so I will often split it after it cools and fill it with a tart fruit compote. I've done raspberry and a homemade apricot/red huckleberry that came out great.

If you have a tart filling and want frosting or if you just, you know, like frosting on your cakes, here is my favorite recipe:

1 block cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cardamom or cinnamon if you like
16 oz powdered sugar

In a stand mixer (or in a bowl if you have a hand mixer) whip the cream cheese and butter with the vanilla until fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar, until you get a consistency you like. You may not use all the sugar. If your kitchen is hot, put it in the fridge to firm it up before you frost the cake. And wait until the cake is COOL to frost it. Don't get impatient, you will regret it. Although you will have many people offering to help you clean up the sliding-off and melting frosting if you try it. (Ask me how I know...)