September 25, 2013

My friend Michele, the inimitable and unnaturally clever Brooklyn food writer, posted a recipe for this cake on her Facebook page many months ago, saying, “In all my years of cooking, I have never made a better cake than this.”  Well.  One does not ignore such an endorsement.

yogurt cake 2

As it turns out, Jill has been sentimentally attached to the idea of French Yogurt Cake since reading about it in Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bebe.  Druckerman talks about how this cake is traditionally the first that French children learn to make with their parents; Jill & I both loved the idea of that.  I make homemade yogurt regularly, so it’s always around the house, and I’ve always got a hankering for something sweet–but not too sweet–to go with a cup of tea.

So we made our first—but certainly not our last—of these cakes this past weekend, when the Houston weather first dipped down into temperatures that could reasonably be considered “fall-ish,” and I brewed a pot of chai to go alongside.  It was lovely, lovely, lovely, and though Shiv wasn’t quite up to helping with the making of the cake yet, he was all too happy to help eat it.

shiv yogurt cake

News-y things:

•    The best interviews are more like conversations, and I had a really wonderful one with Bel Poblandor for Trop magazine: How to Carry Grief | An Interview with Nishta Mehra

•    I’m thrilled to be headed home to Memphis tomorrow, Thursday, September 26 for a reading & signing at St. Mary’s Episcopal School!  You can find all the details here.

•    A dear friend sent me a link to this blog post yesterday; this blog is new to both of us and, as my friend put it, “For a moment I thought she had hijacked my brain.”  A highly recommended read, and not just for mamas/parents.

•    A public service announcement: if you’ve never had the pleasure of an almond butter and Bosc pear sandwich for breakfast (on hearty, toasted bread, please), please remedy ASAP.



recipe from Epicurious, via Michele Humes

The beauty of this cake is in this simplicity: best not to mess with it.  If you like your desserts very sweet, this may not be the cake for you.

yogurt cake with chai


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 T finely grated lemon or orange zest
¾ cup whole milk Greek yogurt (I used my homemade yogurt, straining it ahead of time to thicken)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
½ tsp. vanilla or citrus extract (I used the latter)

oven: 350°F
pan: standard loaf pan

Coat the loaf pan with a nonstick vegetable oil spray like Pam, then dust with flour.  Tap out any excess flour & set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, & salt) in a medium bowl.  In a separate, larger bowl, rub the citrus zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist & fragrant; you can also do this on a cutting board using a bench scraper a la Joy the Baker.  Add the yogurt, oil, eggs, & extract to the sugar, whisking to blend.

Fold the dry ingredients to the wet until just combined.  Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake until the cake is golden brown on top, 45-55 minutes.  Cool the cake in the loaf pan first, for about 15 minutes, before inverting onto a rack and cooling completely.  Cake can be made ahead & stored at room temperature, well wrapped or in an airtight container.  Serve with chai or coffee.

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