Saturday, January 9, 2016

Dorie's yogurt cake

This a citrusy version of the very plain cake made in French homes — think pound cake — with subtle flavor, firm texture, minimum sweetness and the ability to be just right, no matter the moment.
Make Ahead: The cake tastes even better after a day’s rest, covered at room temperature, and can be stored for up to 5 days that way. Stale cake is delicious when toasted.

Tested size: 10 servings; makes one 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf
  • Unsalted butter, for greasing the loaf pan
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 clementines
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup plain, low-fat or nonfat Greek-style yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure orange oil or extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey, for glazing (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease an 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan with the butter.
Put the sugar in a mixing bowl. Use a Microplane zester to grate the zest from the clementines directly over the sugar, then use your clean fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is aromatic and moist.
Use a sharp knife to peel the fruit, removing all the white pith. Cut between the membranes to release the fruit segments; place them between sheets of paper towels to blot-dry while you make the batter.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl.
Whisk the yogurt into the zest and sugar, then energetically beat in the eggs one at a time to form a smooth mixture. Whisk in the vanilla extract and the orange oil or extract, if using.
Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture, whisking less vigorously than before. Once there's no trace of dry ingredients, switch to a flexible spatula and stir in the oil; do that in a few additions. You should have a smooth, shiny batter; pour it into the loaf pan, making sure to get it into the corners, and smooth the top. Scatter the clementine segments over the surface.
Bake (middle rack) for 50 to 60 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a tester inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then invert it to dislodge it from the pan. Turn the cake right side up on the rack; cool to room temperature.
If you'd like to glaze the cake, warm the honey very briefly in a microwave on LOW, just to liquefy it, then brush it over the top of the cake. Let it sit at room temperature.

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