Lemon Kefir Cake with Lemon Ginger Marmalade

I was reading through one of my favorite baking books, "Baking: From My Home to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan, because I have been needing some baking inspiration. The majority of my cakes have been disappointing lately and I was really ready for a quick and successful cake. I love baking from Dories book. It is like working side by side in the kitchen with an old friend. When I got to the French Yogurt Cake with Lemon Marmalade the whole recipe just clicked for me. I had just finished making marmalade so I have plenty on hand. With the weather being really crappy- typical of Oregon this time of year- I decided this cake would be a sunny little burst on a very gloomy day.

For those of you unfamiliar with Kefir it is a cultured milk product with a taste similar to yogurt but with a slight fizz and yeast flavor. I make my own from kefir grains and raw cows milk ( posts to follow on both topics!). It is more of a drinkable yogurt the consistency of buttermilk so to make it work for this recipe I drained off some of the whey to resemble yogurt.
This cake is so simple. My only changes were to use kefir instead of yogurt, cake flour since I was all out of AP, and olive oil in place of canola oil.  The batter comes together quickly with minimal amount of dishes piling up. That is always a plus! I baked the cake in a loaf pan for the entire recommended baking time. My cake, though light and incredibly moist, did not rise much. I blame the lack of height on the fact that I quickly gobbled half the loaf before I had finished the photo shoot! Now that's good cake!
I used 1/2 a jar of my home made Lemon Ginger Marmalade and strained it like Dorie suggests.
I think next time I will used the stained bits in the cake. The Marmalade glaze is the perfect accompaniment to the cake. The cake itself is lightly flavored with lemon zest and vanilla extract ( I doubled the vanilla per some TWDer's suggestions) I got some fruity notes from the olive oil and more of a ricotta flavor from the kefir. The lemon ginger marmalade glaze adds a balance of sweet, tart, and zesty over the more deeply flavored cake. Like I said I ate 1/2 before i had even realized it! The flavor develops better the second and 3rd day if you can leave it alone that long!

So thank you Dorie for such a simple and lovely cake. I will make this one again!

Lemon Kefir Cake with Lemon Ginger Marmalade Glaze
adapted from the fabulous Dorie Greenspan!
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds (or, if you'd prefer, omit the almonds and use another 1/2 cup all-purpose flour)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt - I used kefir
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract - I used 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 cup flavorless oil, such canola or safflower - I used olive oil

For the Glaze :

1/2 cup lemon ginger marmalade, strained
1 teaspoon water

Getting Ready:

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 81/2-x-41/2-inch loaf pan and place the pan on a baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, if you're using them, baking powder and salt.
  3. Put the sugar and zest in a medium bowl and, with your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the kefir , eggs and vanilla and whisking vigorously until the mixture is very well blended. Still whisking, add the dry ingredients, then switch to a large rubber spatula and fold in the oil. You'll have a thick, smooth batter with a slight sheen. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
  4. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan; it should be golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. Unmold, and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.

To Make the Glaze:

Put the marmalade in a small saucepan or in a microwave-safe bowl, stir in the teaspoon of the water and heat until the jelly is hot and liquefied. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the cake with the glaze.



This looks fantastic...and I'm looking forward to your posts on kefir and raw cow's milk. Have a great weekend!

Pam said...

It looks so delicious. Interesting with the milk. I love lemon and will have to try this!

symphonious sweets said...

Thanks for stopping by ladies!
I am getting closer to my 100th post and a giveaway so stay tuned!

Cucee Sprouts said...

It looks like my mom's cake. I will try and replicate using my home-made kefir. Btw, if you ever want to make kefir at home - it is super easy. http://cuceesprouts.com/2010/10/fermenting-experimenting/

symphonious sweets said...

I originally purchased my milk kefir grains from the kefir lady.
After 6 years those cultures are still alive and kicking! I just placed a new order for water kefir since my dairy intake has decreased.
The kefir lady is a small family run farm that deserves your support.