A tangy Tuesday: Dorie’s French yogurt cake

Back in April when I received Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours from Ele and Andrew as a birthday gift, I had visions of spending long, lazy afternoons pottering about in the kitchen and enjoying the pleasures of home baking while I whipped up comforting cakes from my new book.

Of course, real life rarely lives up to these little daydreams I concoct in my head. Sure, there have been my sporadic Sundays with Dorie posts along with CocoBean – they will be returning soon, by the way! – but apart from those, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve spent a lot more time drooling over the recipes in this book than actually baking them.

You see, I have the attention span of a particularly flighty goldfish. As I always say, 'I can do anything for two hours. Then I need a new activity'. Museums, movies, the London Photo Hunt and, it would seem, cookbooks. They’ve got my undivided attention for two hours before I move on to pastures new. (Hmm. Could this be why I always lose the three hour-long photo hunt?)

So, I had all but abandoned Baking: From My Home to Yours for whatever latest flirtation had come into my line of vision. Yesterday however, events transpired to bring me back to it. Not realizing until the last minute that I had missed a crucial two-hour preparatory step in the cake recipe I was planning to make (see, I don’t even have enough focus to read a short recipe properly), I was left cake-less.

To my relief and delight though, I discovered that I had everything I needed to whip up Dorie’s French Yogurt Cake, which I had admired in her book… and on her blog… and on lots of Tuesdays with Dorie posts as well. Something about a yogurt cake just sounds so darn sophisticated that the recipe had left an impression on me.

Happily, the finished product left an even greater impression on me. This cake is a little bit tangy, a teensy bit nutty and so incredibly moist. In short, this French yogurt cake is like a French woman – effortlessly elegant.

After the triumph that is this simple cake, my attention has definitely turned back to Dorie!

French Yogurt Cake
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (or if you have no almonds, use another 1/2 cup flour)
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
3/4 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I use Greek-style yogurt)
3 large eggs
1/4 t vanilla
1/2 cup flavourless oil
1/4 cup marmalade or apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 350F / 176C. Grease and flour a loaf pan or a 9-inch springform pan (if you’re using a silicone pan it does not require greasing).

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar together with the zest until the sugar is moist and perfumed with lemon. Whisk the yogurt, eggs and vanilla into the sugar, then mix in the flour mixture until just blended. Now fold in the oil with a rubber spatula – it may seem like there is too much oil at first, but continue to fold gently and you will end up with a very moist batter that has a slight sheen to it.

Scrape the batter into your pan. Depending on your pan, it will take from 35 to 45 minutes (for a springform pan) to 50 to 55 minutes (for a loaf pan). When the cake is ready it will pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted into the cake will come out with only a few crumbs clinging to it.

While the cake cools on a wire rack, in a small saucepan gently heat the marmalade with a tablespoon of water. While still warm, unmould the cake and brush the glaze all over the top.