In my last job, I took on the role of office birthday baker. It was a nice opportunity for me, who lived alone, to try new recipes and not worry about eating entire cakes or batches of cookies on my own. Sometimes though, when a birthday was in the middle of the week, or when I had to work late the night before, it was helpful to have a recipe I could rely on to come together quickly, easily, and deliciously.
For those times, that recipe was a yogurt poundcake. One bowl, no electric mixers, and one pan.
This is still a favorite in my recipe arsenal, and it's super adaptable. I start with this recipe from Epicurious and change it based on what I'm feeling or have on hand. Last week, I decided to whip up a cake when my sister came over for dinner, and this orange version got rave reviews (I wasn't allowed to have any of the leftovers!). This cake is moist, dense, almost custardy in the middle, but gets the same nice brown edges as a more sinful poundcake.
|See that beautiful custardy cross-section?|
The biggest differences between the recipe below and the original is 1) after making it so many times, you really don't need to put the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and 2) since I used flavored yogurt, I reduced the sugar; you might want to increase the sugar to 3/4 or 1 cup if using plain yogurt.
I really think the possibilities are near endless with this recipe. Switch out the yogurt flavors or the zest, add extracts, and fruit chunks or chocolate chips or nuts, dust with powdered sugar instead of a glaze, spread with jam, or drizzle with melted chocolate. Double the recipe to make a bundt. I've even used mashed ripe bananas in place of the oil, which cuts a significant amount of fat. What flavor combinations do you think would be best?
Orange Scented Yogurt Cake
1 1/2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 c light vanilla yogurt
1/2 c sugar
3 large eggs
finely grated peel of 3 oranges (about 3-4 Tbsp)
1/2 c vegetable oil
1c powdered sugar
juice of 1 orange (or less, as needed)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter or spray a loaf pan or 8-inch round pan.
In a large bowl, beat eggs, and mix in yogurt, sugar, and orange zest, whisking until thoroughly blended. Sift in dry ingredients, and carefully whisk together. Using a spatula, fold in the oil gradually until blended.
Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake until the cake pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan, and knife or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 50 minutes.
Cool the cake on a rack for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides if needed, and invert onto rack (if using a loaf pan, turn it back upright, for the round it's up to you), and cool completely.
To make the glaze, mix orange juice 1 tablespoon at a time into powdered sugar until smooth and at desired thickness, and drizzle or spread over the top of the cake.