Tuesday, March 17, 2009

TWD - French Yogurt Cake




This week's Tuesdays with Dorie pick is French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade Glaze. It was Liliana's turn (of My Cookbook Addiction) to pick, and she really hit it out of the park. I proved that is it impossible to mess up this cake, as did a few other bakers, judging by the comments on the P&Q.

I made this recipe twice. The first time, I doubled the recipe as I needed to be able to serve twenty ladies with it. It requires no butter, and mixes in one bowl!! It rose as it baked and looked pretty spectacular. I let it cool five minutes before running my thin knife around the edges and dumping it out of the loaf pan. It didn't want to come, didn't want to come then POP! it came out and landed on the rack. I say came out, but that's not the whole story. Most of it came out. The rest stayed in the pan. Why oh why did I spray not butter as Dorie recommended?


I may have said a bad word at this point. I mean, when will I learn not to start baking at 8:25 on a Sunday night? I oh so carefully extricated the second one with a thin, flexible silicone flipper and pondered my options. I would have to make another cake.

As I was measuring the almond meal, I realized that when I doubled the first recipe, I quadrupled the almond meal. So my first two loaves, even the one I eased out of the pan without incident, weren't going to be fit to eat. I forged on anyway, again doubling the recipe to make two cakes, baked and cooled them and went to bed (it was almost midnight, and the next day would be the first work day after the time change). I figured I would make lemon curd to serve with the cake and all would be well.

I dragged myself out of bed at 5:30 to make lemon curd for the yogurt cake. I had skipped the marmalade glaze as I couldn't find lemon marmalade and I'm not big on orange marmalade. I had exactly enough eggs for a double recipe of lemon curd (this is one of my insanities; I double everything I make for social gatherings). I figured I would use the egg whites to make meringues as a fallback, pick up whipping cream at Safeway on my way home from work, and let the meringues sit in the oven all day while I worked. This is another of my insanities. Time is very elastic in my mind. I have to be at work at 8, and I do have to shower, dress, and drive to the office. Any reasonably sane person knows you're not going to pipe out 25 meringues and bake them, make lemon curd and get in to the office before 10:00. But that was my plan. And it hinged on not goofing up on cracking any of the eggs and thereby polluting the pristine whites, which have to be completely free of fat to whip to their airy best. Miraculously, I didn't have any yolk breakage, and all went according to plan with the curd, except I didn't cook it long enough and it was slightly eggy. I have existential difficulties in serving a dessert that isn't perfect.  Eggy lemon curd? Not perfect.

This was when I went to plan C. I gave up on bringing a home baked dessert and went to Costco on my way home to buy a cheesecake and a chocolate cake. This I did even though I didn't yet know if the lemon curd was truly too eggy to serve. So I toddled on home, sliced a piece of the French Yogurt Cake, spooned the lemon curd over it, supplemented it with sliced organic strawberries, said a little prayer and took a bite.


It was amazing. The cake is perfect...it isn't exactly a pound cake, but it's not like a quick bread either. It has some lemon zest that hints at lemon without hitting you over the head. I made peace with the lemon curd. I washed and sliced the strawberries and relaxed. The world did not end.

But this, dear readers, is not the end of our story. The next day, I tasted the loaf with double the almond meal. It was wonderful, nay, almost better than the one I didn't screw up. I quickly threw together a batch of hot fudge and took it to work (with the leftover lemon curd). The Costco cakes I purchased but didn't need? They went to work, too. They were good, but not Dorie-good. As we know, that's a whole different level of flavor.

So this cake is not only good, it's easy, darn near impossible to mess up and it's beyond versatile. That's a real keeper in my book. I can't wait to make it again with cinnamon instead of lemon, or with maple syrup to replace some of the sugar. Or with chai spices. Or...

People ask me all the time "How are you not as big as a house with all the baking you do?" Even though I'm doing battle with an extra 20 pounds, I try to eat fairly healthy and one of the best tools for me has been recipes by Ellie Krieger. Maybe you've seen her on Food Network. I always thought she was a little smug, but once I tried her recipes, that girl can be as smug as she wants! Her food is delicious and healthy. She cuts out the unnecessary bad stuff and keeps the flavor, and most of her recipes are ridiculously simple.

Why am I telling you this? There's a group of us who make her recipes and blog about it. We call it Craving Ellie in My Belly. We take turns picking the recipe and we all blog about it on Thursdays. It's the perfect antidote to the poundage from Tuesdays with Dorie. If you'd like to join us, email Sara and Nick at cravingellieinmybelly@gmail.com. Ellie got me to eat, and even enjoy, brussels sprouts!

31 comments:

chocolatechic said...

OH...those bad words slip out just at the wrong time, don't they?

So glad it ended up wonderful.

Megan said...

Nothing worse than doubling a recipe, only to have to throw it out. Several bad words are usually muttered by me as well.....

farah said...

As i was reading your post it reminded me so much of me :)
So glad you enjoyed the cake after all your efforts, it makes it all worth it :)

Sara said...

Wow, this was quite an epic tale. I am glad it ended in you actually enjoying this cake. It really was delicious. And at least you were not foiled by eggyness 2 weeks in a row, we just can't have that happen!
Sara/Imafoodblog.com

Flourchild said...

Oh Im so glad the outcome was good and you enjoyed the cake. The last picture with the strawberries makes me drool!

leanne said...

It was a simple yet perfect cake. Oh and I too love Ellie. I agree that her recipes are wonderful

Teanna said...

Oy! So sorry this was a bit stressful, but I'm glad it worked out in the end!

Marthe said...

Despite all the troubles, the end result looks amazing!

Banjo said...

Oh you poor thing, I hate it when that happens! Looks lovely tho :)

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Good to know that it tasted good with even more almond meal! Good recipe, I'd say.

Tracey said...

All's well that ends well, right? Your cake looks wonderful with those beautiful red strawberries!

pinkstripes said...

I love cakes that are impossible to mess up. I'm glad yours turned out delicious!

Jessica said...

Love the story even though I was sort of feeling frantic while I was reading it. I have definitely experienced the transition from "look at me and my absolutely fantastic homemade desserts" to "ohmygoodness it didn't turn out right and now I don't have enough time and I woke up early for nothing what am I going to do now?" and I don't like it at all. I am so, so glad that it all worked out well in the end! And, the icing (or curd) on the cake is that your first mess up was maybe even better than the original recipe!

Gabe's Girl said...

Awesome looking cake. I will go the shortcake route next time.

Sweet as Coco said...

Wow sounds like you had a full night with this cake. I feel days like that only make us human...and I have man of those 'human' days. :) I may have to try some of your flavor suggestions. I agree...this cake was so simple! BTW- have been eyeing CEIMB but not sure if I can handle my two blogs and TWD....hmmm!

AmyRuth said...

You crack me up, I'm exhausted just reading about all the cake drama. he he So glad you worked it out. For some reason mine turned out really dark. Weird.
AmyRuth

Joy said...

You are too funny! I have the same challenges with time - though I gasped at your goal to wake up at 5:30 to make some curd (you are one dedicated baker!), and then the meringues! Your cake looks great - I love the strawberries with lemon!

n.o.e said...

Well, I was just a wee bit stressed reading about your ups and downs with baking for 20. But then you ended up with 4 delicious yogurt cakes, acceptable curd and various other sweets, so all's well in the end. I agree that this cake is delicious and versatile and I might increase the nuts next time - on purpose.
Nancy

margot said...

Your troubles with the cake led to an enertaining story for this week's post. I agree this is a total keeper!

TourGuideJenn said...

It's always nice to know when others completely relate, isn't it??? Mine is very last minute (just came out of the oven, smells heavenly -- can't wait to try it!) which I just hate.

Glad all turned out great for you. Good to know the cake is yummy and versatile!

Cathy said...

I'm right there with you as living proof that this cake is impossible to screw up (or that it is delicious even if you screw it up!) I say bad words every time I cook. I usually need to clear the little ones from the kitchen so their little ears don't get corrupted. I love your happy ending! Your cake(s) all look incredible!

Erin said...

This looks great! I bet it was delicious with the strawberries!

Amber Marie said...

Your cake looks yummy! And you're right about things being Dorie-good, it is a whole other level. :)

I also skipped the butter and had a little trouble getting mine out of the pan. Why do I forget that Dorie knows best?

Karen said...

bummer that you had to make it over again! It looks delicious anyway!!

Di said...

I always seem to mess up when doubling a recipe or cutting it in half. It's gotten to where I actually write down all the adjusted ingredient amounts in my notebook before I start so I don't mess up trying to do in on the fly... =)

Clivia said...

Well told story! I was rooting for you to taste the first two cakes because I knew they'd be fine. I used butter on my pan and it still stuck. Next time I'll put down waxed paper.

Pamela said...

This was a great post, Leslie! I agree that Ellie helps me stay focused for Dorie. Great job on the cakes! Sounds like the "messed up" one was really delicious!

Jacque said...

LOL, I'll bet the folks at your office don't mind your mistakes.

Your cake(s) sounded wonderful! I can't believe all of the variations you made.

TeaLady said...

BAD WORDS!!! In the kitchen!!! From a baker!!! Nay! Nay! - doesn't happen. RIGHT!!!! Glad it all turned out in the end. Almond cake with chocolate. Lemon and strawberries. Both are perfect!

dharmagirl said...

I love your story, leslie! i love a recipe that is immune to mistakes..i know i make plenty! your lemon curd and strawberry combo looks awesome.

Liliana said...

Got to give you kudos for being so focused - and having a Plan B! I am glad your cakes turned out after all that work! They must have tasted great with the lemon curd. Glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for stopping by!