When I held her last night, I was reminded of this beautiful phase of early, early parenthood and early, early life and the new-ness of... everything. It's cliche, I know, but it's hard to believe that Mari was ever that small, and it was only one year ago. That gets me a little bit - right there in the throat. I get choked up just thinking about it.
Enter this butter-free lemon yogurt cake. It's a delicious slice of sunshine to pair with those days when you could use a pick-me-up. Days when you don't want to let go; days when you're wondering how you'll make it through; days when you're so tired you just can't think; days when all you want is an answer that no one can provide; days when you feel like celebrating a tiny (or big!) victory; and days when you just want and deserve to treat yourself.
really good whisk). This is one of my favorite cake breads that I've made several times and it never disappoints. In fact, the more I think about it, it might be a nice alternative to this year's Kahlua Cakes. Hmmm.
The Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Yogurt Cake
From The Barefoot Contessa at Home, page 168
Yield: 1 large loaf or 3 mini loaves
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more, to thin)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour loaf pan(s). Or, use this.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup of sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's well incorporated (it will take a good few spins). Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes for the large loaf, or 40-45 for the mini-loaves. Or, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Meanwhile, cook the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear and set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. While it's still warm, pour the lemon/sugar mixture over to absorb. I like to do this while the cake is still in the pan, like it's taking a bath in the tub. I will add that I go easy on the syrup, and usually have leftovers.
Allow cake to cool and remove from pan. For the glaze, whisk together the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over cake. All over the cake.
Lemon Divine Twine and real lemon leaves, if you have the pleasure of having a lemon tree in your life.