Friday, July 6, 2012

Lemon Yogurt Cake

I had planned to make my regular pound cake from the Silver Palate Cookbook, but we were out of butter.

"How can my fridge be so empty," I thought. (Cue the music from Jaws.) And then, we all learned that a derecho is a freaky thunderstorm that can knock down trees from Ohio to Maryland. So, after four days without power in July, my fridge was really empty.

Also, three of my neighbor's trees were horizontal in the front yard. But before all that excitement, I had no butter - only oil, eggs and yogurt. Also, I failed to get back to my mother when she asked me how many lemons I wanted from the giant crate that arrived in her office. Apparently, I wanted ten enormous Meyer lemons.

So, Lemon Yogurt Cake.

In a medium sized bowl, you'll need:
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon table salt
In a large bowl:
2 cups Greek yogurt
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup of vegetable oil

Take your ten-inch, non-stick bundt pan and spray it copiously with cooking spray. (Do as I say, not as I did.) Now sprinkle a few extra tablespoons of sugar all over the bottom and sides, rotating as you go to coat them with sugar. Bang your pan on the side of the sink to knock out any excess.

The suspense is killing you, right? Where can she be going with this recipe?

Then, into a preheated 350 (325 convection) oven. Now, ask yourself, "How will I feel with a nasty, raw tunnel of batter going right through the middle of my cake?" If the answer is "swell," then just wait for it to reach a pretty, golden brown color and pull it right out. If not, you'll need at least an hour to get a dark, brown crust and a cake that's done all the way through. Look at the crack on top of the cake - if it looks like bubbles, rather than liquid where the cake has split, you're probably there.

Let the cake rest in the pan for about ten minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. You may need to give it a little help releasing by sliding a knife around the sides. If you weren't as aggressive with the cooking spray as you should have been, just ease the part that's stuck in the pan out and do your best to piece it back onto the cake. Powdered sugar covers a multitude of sins, so don't sweat it.

I wish I had a beautiful picture of the sliced cake, which was soft on the inside with a crunchy crust from the sugar. You see, we had this crazy plague of darkness. Would you settle for a picture of the trees in the yard? Because we ate the cake up right away, but the trees are still adding interest to the landscape.
Seriously, don't wait for a storm, or lack of butter, or blessing of lemons or some other serendipity. Try the cake now, with berries, for a light dessert in the hot summer.

PS - Made this cake again today, 7/14/12. So here's the photo.
And the trees are still down in the front yard. It is what it is.

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