Writing about some of my favourite cake recipes at the end of every April has become a sort of tradition here on C&T. It’s my birthday later on in the week so it’s kind of themed, at least for me! It started a few month after the birth of this blog, when people started asking me about the cake or cakes (because yes, there were times when I made more than one) I usually make for the day. I try to vary as much as possible, but I can happily say that more often than not there’s always a copious amount of chocolate involved.
I don’t usually post more than one recipe in a week but today I have some time to myself and I feel there’s no time like the present. I still have loads of sorting out and unpacking stuff to do (and I did some of that this morning) but I definitely prefer sitting down and writing something useful here. Well, I’m letting you be the judge of whether I do come up with useful things or not. I love being here though so why not?
There are many versions of this out in the blogosphere, which of course includes the one found here on C&T. I’m a big fan of feta; its creaminess and texture is great for any salad. When I don’t have it I use halloumi, but for me, that just doesn’t make the cut. It’s too chewy and tough, though mind you, it still has it’s uses. It grills well, for example.
You might call me obsessed, and you would be right. I mean, I don’t even know how many lemon cakes you can find in this blog. Lemons are and will always remain one of my favourite ingredients. I never tire of their taste and smell. If I were to close my eyes while plunging my face in a bag of those lovely yellow fruit, I would immediately be transported to somewhere in the Mediterranean.
I can still remember writing last year’s pancake recipe. Seems like yesterday. Making pancakes is one of my weekend highlights; in my books it’s not right to leave them until Shrove Tuesday. And what a beautiful thing it is when I find time to make them during the week. A rare occurrence I admit, but it happens.
During a recent visit to Malta, I went through an old recipe file, still in storage. I wanted to find the very first cake I have ever baked. I flipped through the many sheets of neatly printed papers and there it was. Found it. You see, back in the days when I started to feel at home in the kitchen I was extremely methodical about keeping notes, writing and printing almost every recipe I tried. I had so much time on my hands, enough to feel really lonely…it was unbelievable. (My only regret is that I had no interest in blogging back then.) Alas, things have changed during the past few years and I have not been that good about organizing my notebooks. J came up with a strategy: there is a simple solution to all this, but to me it’s sounding more of a battle plan. So I am postponing what I should have done ages ago. Not good.
I digress so back to the cake. The precious paper (no rings here) contains a recipe for a “Yoghurt Cake”. It has been ages since I made it so I won’t include it here; I might try it next week and take some pics. Right now I want to tell you about a similar bake, found in Nigellissima for another yogurt cake. Now I don’t know about you, but more often than not I tend to have a big pot of plain yogurt on the go in my fridge. I always get a 500g pot at the start of the week with the most basic, or rather, idealistic premise of a healthy breakfast. Of course, this plan goes completely awry by Wednesday, but not to worry: what remains of the pot goes into this cake. Well, 150 grams of it anyway!
When I bought Nigellissima, this was one of the recipes that caught my eye, and admittedly I thought that the savarin mould was irreplaceable. So this recipe was confined more towards the end of my list. However Nigella suggests using a 22/23cm springform pan, which I have; I just don’t like using it. So I used a normal non-stick round tin instead, which I still greased, and it worked well. (I always butter and flour non-stick pans when not using parchment paper.) A couple of weeks ago, I did get a savarin mould and I cannot wait to try it. I definitely will…very very soon…before my Maltese lemons run out. I’d better hurry! (If the lemons you have are not unwaxed, then don’t fret. Just rinse them with cold water, scrubbing them lightly as you go.*)
- 150g plain yogurt
- 150ml vegetable oil
- 3 egg whites
- 3 egg yolks
- 250 golden caster sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- zest of ½ an unwaxed lemon*
- 175g plain flour
- 75g cornflour (or cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon icing sugar, for sprinkling on top of the cake before serving
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4 and grease the savarin mould or the tin of your choosing.
Whisk the egg whites till you get firm peaks and set aside.
In another bowl, tip in the egg yolks and add the yogurt and sugar, and whisk these well until airy.
Now, slowly add the vegetable oil while mixing the yogurt mixture; then add the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
Fold in the flour and the cornstarch in two or three batches, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. When you have no lumps, stop mixing.
Gently fold the egg whites into the flour mixture. Keep it light. (It’s a bit like flicking and swishing a wand, if you’re a lovable show-off like Hermione.)
Tip the mixture into the greased cake tin or mould and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Place it on a rack to cool. I would wait for another 15 to 20 minutes to remove it from the mould. Serve after sprinkling it with the icing sugar.
Enjoy! R xx
(This recipe is adapted from Nigellissima, Chatto & Windus, London, 2012.)