I hear it every so often. "I read your blog." "I love your blog." "I really love your stories." It's not every day, but it's often enough that I feel reasonably reassured that out there, in the wide, wide world, I have a few fans. It's especially reassuring considering that no one in my home reads my blog or enjoys my food. My daily cooking is often met with groans, words like "Not THAT again" and "Why don't we ever eat out?" My fans out there in cyber space are what keep my kitchen running like an old engine in need of an oil change.
However, my official tune-up to becoming a well-oiled old engine, came in the form of a 7-year-old daughter of a friend. This young lady dreams of being a TV chef. Her days are filled with visions of becoming a Food Network star, and she daily practices her TV cooking show. She's organized, methodical and an expert baker. The craziest thing of all is that she counts me as one of her cooking idols. I have a series of 4 cooking videos on Grokker, and she watches them repeatedly, often imitating the way I say a line, or asking rhetorical questions to my face on the screen that she knows will be answered soon after. She is, truly, my biggest fan. She asks her mom to make the recipes that I make and she begs her mom to watch me on Grokker. She pulls up recipes from my blog to study and when she comes over, I see her shyly glancing my way, almost like one would with a star in the house. She repeatedly asks her mom HOW we met (high school over 20 years ago) and how we are still friends after all this time.
So for you, JK, my young apprentice from afar, I give you this recipe of lemon cake. You tasted it, loved it and I told you it was the perfect recipe for you to make this weekend. It's easy - no mixer required and all you need to do is have two bowls at the ready so that you can mix a bowl of wet ingredients and a bowl of dry ingredients. It just so happens that your mom also likes it, so soon you can be the expert at making this lemon cake as well.
Hugs to you my young chef. I know your star will come!
Lemon Yogurt Cake
(adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa At Home)
Makes 1 loaf, enough for 8 people
Ingredients for Cake
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup sugar
3 extra-large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 to 3 lemons, and you’ll use the juice later)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another larger bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, oil, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
While cake is baking, make soaking syrup.
Ingredients for Syrup
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup lemon juice (from the lemons zested)
Cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.