French Yogurt Cake

 

Gathering Flavors will mark its fifth anniversary of publication this week. Thank you for your ongoing interest in my writing and your support as this blog grows and changes.

Gathering Flavors actually started with an accident. Many years back, I had a cooking school out of my home. I taught small, hands-on classes on everything from simple sauces to French pastries to Indian fare.  In the early days of the school, I had a kitchen accident—I was hurrying to get some work done with a sharp knife and  severed a tendon on my left hand. This kept me out of the kitchen for a while but I wanted to stay in touch with my students and continue to build the community I had begun. So, I started a regular email newsletter to my students. The newsletter contained recipes, cooking tips, stories about  family and more. I found a written voice that others appreciated.

To me, cooking has always been about connection, and I learned it was the same for my readers. Very few of us likes to cook just for ourselves but when there are others involved the act of cooking becomes both an act of nurturance and creativity. My cooking school lasted another five years but no longer remained feasible to do out of my home, so I shifted my focus to writing and the newsletters developed into this blog.

Gathering Flavors is an immensely satisfying project. I try to keep it fresh and applicable to what’s going on both in my life and yours. Over the years I’ve shifted away from complex recipes to simpler fare based on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Many of us don’t have the time for fancy recipes, but I’ve also learned that some of the most flavorful dishes are those that bring out the best in already wonderful ingredients—fresh radishes only need a bit of olive oil and herbs sprinkled on top, summer berries are enjoyable on their own with a bit of wine and honey, delicate baby artichokes need only to be steamed lightly and dressed with lemon-butter, while colorful carrots are sweetened while braised with a bit of rice. Any meal tastes better with fresh flowers on the table.

This French Yogurt Cake is a birthday cake of sorts for my blog. A deceptively simple loaf cake, it’s incredibly moist and versatile. Based on a recipe by Dorie Greenspan, I added an apple cider glaze to dress it up and make it appropriate for a fall dessert. It’s also fitting for this celebration, as my first recipe on Gathering Flavors was for my grandmother’s yogurt. It was my grandmother Rachel Zacharia who taught me about the power of food and it is the elegance that she brought to her cooking that I continue to try to emulate.

I look forward to many more years of Gathering Flavors.

I look forward to seeing you in my kitchen soon.

Dena


French Yogurt Cake with Apple Cider Glaze

Yield: One Loaf, About 8 Servings

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • Grated zest of one lemon
  • ½ cup plain Greek whole-milk yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup olive oil

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Generously butter an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. Put the sugar and zest in a medium bowl and, with your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk vigorously until the mixture is very well blended. Still whisking, add the dry ingredients, then switch to a large rubber spatula and fold in the olive oil. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  5. Place in the center of the oven and bake until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan, about 50 minutes. It should be golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center should come out clean.
  6. While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze by placing the confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Add the apple cider and whisk until smooth.
  7. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely, then un-mold the cake.
  8. Drizzle with prepared glaze.
  9. Serve and enjoy .

Notes:

  1. This recipe was closely adapted from BAKING: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan. Her recipe calls for ½ cup of almonds in place of ½ cup flour.
  2. If you are making this cake for breakfast, leave off the apple cider glaze. Serve with yogurt and fresh fruit.