The (rather snooty) mother of a French friend of mine once told me that every French Maman can make a yoghurt (yogurt) cake without a recipe for guests at a moments notice. She scribbled down her recipe for me but you don’t really need it written down – the formula is so memorable because it is based on using the little French yoghurt pots as a measuring cup. I added a few flavours to make it my own. I think she would approve.
As a Brit living in California I never fail to do a happy dance that I have an orange tree in my back garden. So I’m always hyper sensitive to any recipes with orange in now that I have such a ready supply. To add to that, my almost-three year old has also just about stopped his lunchtime nap so as bribery (great parenting) I told him we’d make a cake if he had some quiet time first. I knew this recipe would be simple enough for us to do together so we tried it and we all loved the results.
It was delicious with a cup of tea but I think you could fancy it up for a dessert by serving it with some sliced oranges (you’ll have some left over as you only use the zest) doused in a little Cointreau and a blob of vanilla ice cream or Greek yoghurt. Yum!
To make one loaf
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- half to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (try it first with half then increase it as it is a strong flavour)
- 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup sugar
- Microplaned zest of 2 oranges
- 3/4 cup natural/plain full fat yogurt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extractYou can pick up all the equipment I use through my shop.To make:
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C and grease a standard loaf tin
- Put the flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt in a bowl and use a hand whisk (not the electric kind) to combine
- Put the sugar into another bowl then, using a fine Microplane, zest the oranges over the sugar before stirring the zest into the sugar with a fork. Zesting it over the sugar means the oils that escape as it is zested will go into the sugar
- Put the eggs, oil, yoghurt and vanilla in a jug and whisk to combine then add the zesty sugar and give the jug another good whisk
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of flour and fold together gently with a silicone spatula
- Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until a cocktail stick [toothpick] comes out clean when you stick it into the middle, my oven took 55 minutes but check yours after 50 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack. Serve in thin slices.