Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Cake for Ilsa - French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon

Sunday is Farmer's Market day around here. Around 10am, I grab the necessary cup of coffee at Cole's on my corner, and head to the Temescal Farmer's Market on Claremont Avenue in Oakland, where my friends meet for Blue Chair Jam tasting, fresh tamales, Blue Bottle Coffee and Bavarian Pretzel Croissants from the San Francisco Bakery, Oktoberfest, it sounds too good to be true I know, but it is! Best croissants ever! Who is the person who could not love a Bavarian Pretzel/Croissant hybrid? Who??? And if this is you, I ask you, do you not enjoy things that are delicious???

I met my friend Ilsa at the market and picked up a few last minute ingredients for this French Yogurt Cake with Lemon, another Molly Wizenberg recipe that I've been dying to try. I simply can't put down her wonderful book. She's had me simultaneously drooling over her recipes and crying into the pages of her book (very messy, also: I am a sap) two nights in a row now. This cake has a delightful story behind it. Molly's now husband was searching for this recipe online, he stumbled upon her blog, found both the cake and her, and you should read all about it here.

Ilsa had promised to help me with my blog and she has provided me with this fantastic new banner! Ta-da! I couldn't be more excited, I love it! In return, I baked the famous Yogurt Lemon Cake. We dug in while the cake was still warm, the icing pouring over the sides and soaking into the crumb.

The interesting thing about this cake is that it doesn't call for any butter. Vegetable oil is used, and in combination with the yogurt, the cake is quite moist but still dense. Next time I might substitute butter for oil, to mix it up a bit, but it makes for a lovely accompaniment to a brainstorming meeting! Ilsa and I will work for cake!

Fresh out of the oven

French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg's "A Homemade Life"

For the Cake
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup well-stirred plain whole milk yogurt (not low fat or nonfat)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil (such as canola)

For the Syrup
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup lemon juice

For the Icing
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter or cooking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour baking powder and salt. Add the lemon zest and mix together thoroughly.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring to mix. Add the four mixture and stir to combine. Add the oil and stir well until smooth. Pour into the pan.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, test with a toothpick until it comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the pan and invert the cake onto a wide plate. Invert it back onto the rack so the domed side is upright.

Icing the cake (my favorite part)

In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup ingredients. Spoon it atop the cake. Cool completely, then in a small bowl combine the icing ingredients. Whisk well to dissolve the sugar. Spoon over the cooled cake. Serve immediately, so it will be soft and juicy, or wait an hour until firm. Whichever you prefer. Enjoy!

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