These days it seems like everyone is a food or restaurant critic, which is why I don't necessarily give a lot of credence to online reviews. However, there are always exceptions, this being one of them. I was looking to make a cake for our Dinner Club. I wanted to make something light and not super decadent since I just polished off another Upstate Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis. I turned to Ina, as I sometimes do in a pinch, and came across this recipe for Lemon Yogurt Cake. The reviews were staggering: 428 review-- 5 stars! That caught my attention. Lemon cake was already on my mind because of this picture (from Mamasgottabake) which had been posted on the Serious Eats Photograzing site. It looked like we were using the same recipe. And the cake looked delicious.
Here's the caveat: This cake is sensitive to over-baking, so keep an eye on it...
On a personal note, I need to get an oven thermometer. I've known for some time that my oven temperature is not right, not right at all-- 350 degrees is definitely not 350. For some reason this temperature problem became an issue with this cake. The recipe calls for 50 minutes of baking. I left it in the oven for 1 1/2 hours because it was no where near done after 50 minutes. Unfortunately it got a little burnt and was not as moist as I suspected it should be. I still brought it over to the Dinner Club and we all went in for doubles-- but I knew it had to be better so I made it again tonight.
It came out perfectly. A cake worthy of 5 star reviews. It was light and moist and the citrus was perfect. I ended up baking the cake for 70 minutes, which is 20 minutes longer than the recipe instructs but far less than the 1 1/2 hours I had baked the first cake.
I watched the cake like a hawk and once the top had a little bit of brown I tested it with a skewer. It was perfect!
This isn't the most ambitious cake in the world. It's not supposed to be. It's simple, light and delicious. And really an ideal way to finish a meal.
Speaking of meals, Dinner Club, No. 2 was a total success. Our host Brian prepared an amazing linguine with asparagus and egg, which we drizzled with hollandaise sauce. He also made a fantastic citrus-herb chickpea salad. Did I mention that he concocted his own berry limeade with raspberries and blueberries? It was another scrumptious meal. Now I have to think about what to make for Dinner Club, No. 3. The pressure is on...
Just out of the oven loaf...
The loaf's been sauced...
Glazed and sliced...
Lemon Yogurt Cake with Lemon Glaze (Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa At Home)
Yield: 1 loaf
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 heaping teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
- When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
- For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.