Wednesday, June 4, 2008

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Make a lemon cake!
Over the last three days, I have been craving lemon cake. Ever since my boyfriend described a delectable slice he had the other day at a business event, lemon cake has been on my mind. My brain cells began working overtime, trying to find a recipe that would fit my needs and satisfy my craving. First, my cake had to be luscious and moist; second, and this was a bit more challenging, I did not want a cake that was too fattening or high in calories; lastly, being the citrus-lover that I am, the cake had to pack a whopping punch of lemony flavor. Searching through my cookbook collection for something that fit the bill was a bit tricky but when I found this recipe for yogurt cake, I knew I could make it work. The recipe comes from the cookbook, “Chocolate and Zucchini” and makes a wonderful base for all sorts of flavors, particularly lemon. I loved how simple and straightforward this recipe was, and with just a few tweaks here and there, I was able to customize it to my liking. You would never know that I only used one-third cup of oil and non-fat yogurt because the texture of the cake was quite moist, luscious and delicious. Though the cake tasted so good on its own without a glaze or frosting, I chose to make a low fat lemon curd to top onto the cake. This made for a nice, refreshing, and lip-puckering touch. I would have to say that this dessert has achieved a spot on my favorite list. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Lemon Yogurt Cake (adapted from Chocolate and Zucchini by Clotilde Dusolier)
Serves 10 people:
1/3 cup Canola oil
1 cup plain, non-fat yogurt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
Juice of one whole lemon
Zest of one whole lemon
1 and 2/3 cup AP flour
1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the sides of a 10-inch spring form pan or a cake pan with cooking spray (line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper if not using a spring form)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla, oil, rum (if using) and mix again. Lastly, stir in the lemon juice and zest.
In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Pour the flour mixture into the yogurt mixture and whisk until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow to stand for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen or if using a spring form pan, unclasp the sides. Flip the cake onto a plate a place back on the rack.
Lemon Curd (from Alice Medrich's Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts)
1/3 cup strained, fresh lemon juice
fresh lemon zest from one-half of a lemon
5 tbsp sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, combine sugar and lemon juice. Add the lemon zest, stir until the sugar is dissolved completely.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg. While whisking constantly, very slowly stream the hot lemon-sugar syrup into the egg. Beat for about 2 minutes , then transfer this mixture back into the saucepan by pouring through a strainer. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the curd just comes to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.Transfer to a small airtight container and allow to cool. Store in the refrigerator.
Makes about 2/3 cup.

Note: The cake can be eaten slightly warm or at room temperature. Once its cool you can wrap the cake in foil and keep at room temperature for several days. The flavors get more intense and delicious after a day or so.


Dana McCauley said...

My mom would love this dessert. I'll have to book mark it for a time when I want to do something especially for her.

Deborah said...

I absolutely love lemon, and this would really hit the spot!

Peabody said...

Love lemon yogurt's so moist!