Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TWD: French Yogurt Cake


I think that if you have small kids in the house, chances are you are going spend a lot of time pretending. On any given day, I might be a jedi knight, a Disney princess of some persuasion (I try to be one of the less helpless ones), a scurvy pirate, an evil queen, a nice queen, grand duke, prince, fire breathing dragon, ballerina, all of your major zoo animals, and a house pet or two. I feed cheerios to pink and purple stuffed animals:


And get breakfast for three children and the occasional baby doll:


Sometimes my four year old will assign me my favorite role of all, "sleeping big sister." I can pull off Sleeping Big Sister like Meryl Streep herself. The role has lost some of its appeal to me, though, now that the game usually involves said four year old getting into Sleeping Big Sister's ear and yelling "TIME TO WAKE UP BIG SISTER!!!!"

Given that I am in pretend mode a lot these days, I guess it is only natural that sometimes when I bake, I get lost in the process and find myself daydreaming; pretending that I am a French pastry chef, effortlessly whipping together brilliant creations that wow everyone who has the pleasure and good fortune of tasting one. Unfortunately, my little daydream is often cruelly interrupted right around the time I find myself cutting the burned edges off of my dessert:


Or serving my cake with a perky, "now, you might want to stick with the ends, because it could be a tad raw in the center."


Yes, once again I had some issues with a dessert that is supposed to be so easy that even the non-baking French (non-baking, according to Dorie, only because there are fabulous pâtisseries on every street corner) bake this regularly. However, I think my troubles (burnt edges and undercooked in the upper center portion of the cake) can be traced to the fact that I used a pyrex pan and did not make any adjustments to cook time or oven temperature. Next time I'll use a different pan and see if I can eliminate these problems. But I think that it's a testament to the fabulousness of this cake that we adored it even despite these minor issues. In fact, I'm usually downright cranky for at least thirty minutes after I experience any kind of burning/overcooking/undercooking/not rising/cratering/dry texture/physical injury/fire alarm/broken equipment issues with my baking. But this time around, I snuck a piece of my crust while trimming off the burnt edges, and knew immediately that this was a special cake. No need to get into a funk -- we'll just eat around the bad parts and savor the rest!


The cake was wonderfully easy to make. Flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt get whisked together in one bowl; sugar and lemon zest, plain yogurt (I used 2% Greek yogurt), eggs, and vanilla get whisked in another. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture, and then fold in some canola oil. That's it! The oil and the yogurt combine to make this a fantastically moist cake. The zest of an entire lemon infuses the cake with a dreamy lemon flavor -- I felt like one bite of this cake was far more reliable indicator than Punxsutawney Phil that spring is right around the corner.

The cake was supposed to get topped off with a glaze made of lemon marmalade. Lemon marmalade? Not in this town. I ended up making a simple glaze out of lemon juice and confectioner's sugar, and it worked great on the cake. It added a little extra lemon zing right where you needed it the most (in my case, on that somewhat burned top portion).

We all LOVED this cake. My one year old in particular could not get enough of it. Since crossing the 1.5 year old mark, she has gone from your average, run of the mill one year old menace, who did things like become one with my oregano


into a bona fide Super Menace. Her favorite games are (1) run down the concrete driveway laughing while my mother chases me and visualizes my wipeout; (2) reach up on the counter for knives or scalding hot pans; (3) climb up on the sofa that floats in the middle of the family room and try to flip over the back. Anyway, Super Menace managed to make her way outside when my yogurt cake photo session was in progress.

Here she is, going in for the steal:



And running off with my cake:



{David, while I'm thinking of it, we should see about getting that deck a good pressure washing}

This cake is perfect for so many occasions. As I was savoring every last bite, I was thinking "I'm making this to bring along if we travel for Easter." "I'm making this if we stay home for Easter." "I am totally making this for my sister's baby shower." "I'm making this because it's Thursday and I want it." I think it is the perfect spring cake. It has a definite lightness to it, even though it is not particularly light (although it's not bad, as far as this cake-baking thing goes). It's a happy cake. I was happy making it. We were all happy eating it. I'll be happy to serve it, again and again.

Thank you, Liliana of My Cookbook Addiction for this great pick! Be sure to check out Liliana's blog for this recipe. And go ahead and buy Dorie's book


for this and a couple hundred other mindblowing recipes. You know you want to.

53 comments:

Di said...

Oh, Cathy, that's priceless! =) I love the oregano picture. I think Gillian (at going on 2 1/2) still hasn't made it out of Super Menace mode. She may have even taken it to the next level. (Running and wiping out face-first into the wood arm of the couch--check. Scaling the refrigerator door--check. Tipping over the recliner in the living room--check. God knows what's next...)

Oh, and definitely make the cake again. I did the 9-inch layer (made it into coffeecake) and it cooked very well.

Karen said...

Sweet baby running off with your cake. She just wanted more mama!!
I burned the edges of mine as well but we ate them anyway. Bummer that it was a little undercooked in the middle. It is a good springy cake though.

Steph said...

Cathy, that's too funny. I wish my mom would play pretend with us when we were young. Your one year old is quite the adventurous one! I'm glad you enjoyed the cake. You know what's weird.. even though cake scraps can be dry.. I love eating them! It's most because of flavour though because I love the crust.

Cristine said...

Isn't it great when a recipe is so fantastic that you can still enjoy it even if it didn't turn out perfectly?

I love the picture of your little one stealing the cake. PRICELESS!

Natashya said...

I have trouble with whole cake-loaves - experience tells me that making minis is much less heartbreaking as far as consistency goes. ( I blame my oven - just because I can )
So happy you salvaged lots of good parts from the loaf, and enjoyed it so!

Marthe said...

Your daughter looks sooo cute running away with your cake! I really loved this one too, although I did mix up one or two ingredients....

By the way: I'm having a giveaway 'cause I posted my 100th post today!

Audrey said...

Happy cake! and happy us for being able to share a little of your day. The Super Menace is Super Adorable. Oh, and I don't want to worry you, but the baby ran all the way here and put her piece of cake (powdered sugar and all) on my blog. (And you're not alone...this super easy cake did not come out well my first time, looks-wise. I just pretended it did and enjoyed it anyway because it was delicious.)

Jessica said...

I loved this post and I'm so glad that you liked the cake and want to make it again soon! My cake was very dark around the edges too, no matter, I just ate out the inside. Yours looks like it tasted absolutely fantastic -- nice and moist.

Super fantastic post, I laughed the whole way through. Even if she's a super menace, your little one looks adorable!

peggy said...

Cathy - again you crack me up! It still looks like it tasted divine and was moist? I loved this cake!!!!

Teanna said...

STOP!!!!!!!!!!!! Is your daughter not the cutest thing EVER?! I think this cake is a perfect "I'm making this because it is Thursday" cake!

Amanda said...

Aww your daughter stole the show, she is so cute! I LOVED this cake, it smelled so good while cooking and tasted wonderful :) I paired it with simple lemon curd. YUM!

Maria said...

The cake looks fantastic, but I love the photos of your daughter, she is too adorable for words!!

Lady Baker said...

I would have done the same thing as your little one...grabbed the cake and fled the scene...destroy evidence by consuming it...It's just THAT good! Love the photo with the lemon garnish! Mine totally stuck to the bottom of my glass pan--it was cooked fine, but I totally screwed up the de-panning...but even with a jagged/bottomless bottom to it, I loved it...will definitely make on Easter!

n.o.e said...

A seriously delicious happy cake that's perfect for spring - no pretending needed! And none need to see how adorable that Super Menace is! Too bad about the pan issue, but I'm confident that you'll have it perfected by Easter. And I had to laugh at your litany of things-that-can-(and do)-go-wrong in the kitchen! Ouch, I've been there...
Nancy

MacDuff said...

I totally played this game with my mom. Something about the game Sleeping Mommy was too boring. But Sleeping Annie Oakley was AWESOME.

Katherine Aucoin said...

Oh Cathy how funny, not the cake incident but how you tell about it, your pretneding games and about your precious baby.

I've read good things about this cake but I am a spaz at baking...I may get brave.

Mary Ann said...

That's funny that your baby couldn't get enough of this cake. My youngest loved it the most too. Next time you can just pass those brown edges to me- that is my favorite part!

Kayte said...

LOL on the oregano girl...once when the boys were 18 months old they decided they would feed the cat and dumped 20 pounds of cat food all over the laundry room floor before I knew what they were doing...I decided just to let them play it in and clean it up afterwards...the photo shoot was priceless. Okay, I am seeing this cake, and reading this whole little scenario of it's journey (I can't bake in glass either for some reason), and I am thinking that maybe I should call your sister and alert her to your plan for making a cake for her shower. You think? LOL...Just Kidding. I like the sounds of that lemon icing you made...that would so enhance any cake! Very fun post...I come her for the food and always, for the fun! I never go away disappointed. Never.

Anne said...

I'm going to say it again Cathy- we could totally hang out if we didn't live on opposite sides of the country! My little guy looks like he could be best friends with your little cutie. He would happily steal a slice of that cake with or without edges (I would too, let's be honest). I'm hearing a sawing sound from the kitchen. Gotta run!

Megan said...

And now, the Adventures of Super Menace! Just get her a cape and she's good to go.

The cake is a keeper, that's for sure. Mine was overdone too, so it wasn't just you.

farah said...

Your daughter is gorgeous and has the same mischievousness that my 2 year old son has. I'm so glad you enjoyed the cake, it was delicious :)

kim said...

mine was totally overdone on the sides too, but it tasted fine!! good idea on the glaze. and i'm glad you got that nice picture of the cake before the little pixie came in and stole it ;)

Jennifer said...

I always love reading your blog. I find myself laughing with you and identifying with mishaps along the way, even though I don't have children. Thank you for always making TWD so enjoyable!:)

The Blonde Duck said...

I forgot to tell you how much I like the fish tacos below. I think it's so cute when she's stealing the cake! You should get a shirt made for her that says "Super Menace: Now you see me..."

Sara said...

I am so with your little one. Steal that cake when no one is looking! Mine also got a bit over done on the sides, so I just cut it off and you couldn't even tell.

Pamela said...

Christian is a bit of a super menace, too. And both my boys use our couch as part of the obstacle course they created in the living room. They just climb right up and over. Poor couch...it's days are numbered.

Glad you liked the cake! It looks good. And I would be all over the burnt edges with some extra glaze! Yum!

spike. said...

Glad the parts of the cake you could eat were worth it! I'm also making a mental note to self to remember change of cooking times when using Pyrex-totally something I would never know to do.

chocolatechic said...

Oh...those crispy edges are the best.

Sweet as Coco said...

I get cranky too when my baking/cooking/equipment breaks...you know...all of the above happens to me! I used a pyrex and my edges got pretty brown but I didnt think they tasted burnt. I think the cake took a few extra minutes for the middle to get done...
Glad you liked yours! Love the story of the "menace"!

Flourchild said...

Oh my she ran off with your cake..how cut is that? I love they way it turned out for you..looks yummy! I used lemon curd and thought I'd died and went to heaven!

vibi said...

What lovely elves you have to help you in the kitchen! ...of course I'm not talking about the baby doll! LOL

Yeah... I know you end up being at their service 24/7... but I like to imagine they grow pointy ears when the camera shuts down... and help you make all those nice baked goods you present us with, every week!

Very nicely done, Cathy!

Jennifer said...

Awww.. I miss the Super Menace days. Now I have the Scowling while Rolling Eyes mode. From both my teenagers! (Who, I swear are much pickier eaters now then when they were three!)
I loved this cake, too, and am now also thinking of great excuses to make it. I'm think I must make the Riveria version (Spike.Bakes made it and it looks great) AND making Spork or Foon's version with orange mousse for Easter!

Leslie said...

I love love love your photos! Your daughter is precious! I love the photo of her running off with your cake slice. I think this recipe is so wonderful because it's goof proof and delicious. I also found myself thinking of all the times I could make it, especially since it's better the next day.

Thanks for always brightening our day!

Melissa said...

Hilarious! I can totally relate. My edges were just as dark as yours... and I found myself a little embarassed since Dorie said it was so "foolproof". And my one year old sounds strangely similar to yours!

natalia said...

Ciao ! I love your little Menace : she is great !It was not really burned !!

leanne said...

Love your oregano and cake stealing menace. Your cake looks great. Who needs those partially burned parts anyway?

Jess said...

Your edgeless loaf looks just like one of mine did...the one that dripped onto the floor of my oven. But this was a great cake anyway. Love the menace pictures...I have a suspicion that I'm brewing a menace of my own...just a feeling. My daughter is way too mellow and compliant, and I figure the next child will be the one that gives me gray hair.

pinkstripes said...

Your daughter is too cute. I'm glad the cake was a success taste wise and everybody enjoyed it. It really was a deliciously easy recipe.

Ivette said...

Your cake looks great and I love the presentation of it. Your daughter looks so cute picking up the cake piece!

Heather said...

hahahaha! sleeping big sister does sound like the best role! the toys at your house are certainly treated very well :)

the cake looks yummy and your little kiddo is so cute! i guess the fact that she wants to steal your slice is a very nice compliment :)

AmyRuth said...

Cathy,
My favorite is the picture of your angel with cake in hand. That IS THE photo shoot! So glad you loved the cake. I love the parts you trimmed. My favs.
AmyRuth

Barbara Bakes said...

The cake looks amazing. Do you think it would be good for strawberry shortcake?

Pam said...

Another tasty treat and funny post. I can always count on a smile when I visit your blog.

I am so glad you liked the carne asada - isn't it the best marinade?

Elyse said...

What a great post! I so enjoyed reading it. Pretend is such a great game; we should never grow out of it. I often pretend to be a food network show host while I'm baking...unfortunately, I've had a few experiences where the "tasting" of my recipe doesn't yield a bright smile and a "yum" for the camera. This cake sounds delicious--you totally have me wanting to try it! And your daughter is just precious as well--a girl of my own heart, running off with the cake!

Cakelaw said...

Your daughter is so cute! You managed to take a great shot before she ran off with the cake - you'd never know that you had any technical issues with this.

bakingwiththeboys said...

The Super Menace is adorable! (But trouble, I remember the type well). I put a foil tent around mine and it was still pretty brown. I cut those edges off, too. Glad this one was a success for you!

My 7 yr is still holding a grudge against Punxatawney Phil for his prediction this year. Maybe I should soothe his rage with a littel more of this cake...

Gabe's Girl said...

You made a lot of mommies smile with this post!

Bridgett said...

Aww, your daughter is just darling! She was just checking your oregano for quality purposes from the looks of it! You have to spread it all across the floor for such study. ;) My daughter used to do that to me all the time. My wallet, purse, makeup, see how far the shampoo can squirt, etc.
The cake must have passed her test if she is running with it. No one is going to steal hers!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love that you took a picture of the oregano thief too! Great stories here! Cute kids, great food!

TeaLady said...

Aren't the terrible twos wonderful. They are designed to see just how much 'punishment' mom can take. Been there, done that. Good luck with that. Oh, and it does get better - when they are about 18 and leaving home!! (Just kidding!!!)

Your cake doesn't look burned to me - just beautifully browned. Yummy!!!

dharmagirl said...

it is a wonderful, happy cake isn't it? i don't blame your daughter for taking the cake and running with it:)

Engineer Baker said...

Oh that's just unspeakably cute :) Your daughter is just too precious, and it looks like she liked the cake quite a bit!

LyB said...

I actually liked the overcooked bits the best. Especially with the glaze, so good! Your daughter sounds a lot like my youngest, whatever she can grab off the kitchen counter, she does.

 
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