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 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
- 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.
- Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, if you're using them, baking powder and salt.
- 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.
- 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.