Lemon Yogurt Cake
Inspired by one of my favorite Seattle French restaurants, Le Pichet, Jeff and I decided to make lemon yogurt cake for dessert at my friend Liz’s 4th of July party. We went to Le Pichet for date night last week and, although quite stuffed with dinner, shared their lemon yogurt cake for dessert. Apparently this cake is a staple in French cuisine. It was so light, so airy, so moist, so melt-in-your-mouth, we gobbled it up so fast. I probably could have eaten an entire cake’s worth of the stuff if presented the opportunity.
I borrowed the recipe from Ina Garten on the Food Network, though I modified it a little to cut out some sugar. Her recipe calls for an extra glaze of lemon juice and sugar, on top of a powdered sugar/lemon juice icing. That’s just too much sugar for me. Rather than a double dose of glaze/icing, I simply dusted a bit of powdered sugar on the top. That was good enough. Served with a side of fresh, ripe strawberries, damn. It was not an exact replication of Le Pichet’s dessert, but still pretty darn good.
My version was more like pound cake in texture and density, and not as light as Le Pichet’s. I think next time I will only use egg whites and cut out the yolks. Just another excuse to make it again!
-1.5 cups all-purpose flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
-1 cup sugar
-2 tsp lemon zest (2 lemons)
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-Pam or cooking spray
-1 springform pan
-parchment or wax paper + pen or pencil
-mixing bowls, spatula, whisk, and peeler
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
1. Mix all the dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl (flour, baking powder, salt). Set aside.
2. To make the lemon zest, peel the rind of two lemons, being careful to avoid the white bits. You just want the yellow skin. Either mince finally by hand with a sharp chef’s knife, or mince in a small food processor. If the zest doesn’t chop finely enough, add some of the yogurt so the zest catches on the blade. Set aside when done.
3. In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and yogurt. Add in the lemon zest (or lemon zest/yogurt mix). Blend well.
4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Then fold in the vegetable oil until fully incorporated.
5. In the meantime, prepare your cake pan. Trace the bottom of the springform pan onto parchment paper so you have a circle the same size as the bottom of the pan. Cut it out and place into the bottom of the cake pan. Spray the sides of the cake pan with pam or cooking spray. Pour the batter into the pan.
6. Bake at 325 degrees in the preheated oven for 35-50 minutes, depending on the oven. Check often toward the end. With a toothpick or steak knife, poke the center of the cake until it comes out cleanly.
7. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then 10 more minutes on the cookie rack. Dust with powdered sugar and presto! You have yourself a delicious, moist, lemony cake.