I wanted to tell you about this cake a couple weeks ago. Shame on me. It’s a good one. If for no other reason, this is a good cake because it is so ridiculously simple but still offers lots of great flavor and a moist but firm texture. It’s delicious all by itself (why does vanilla have a bland reputation anyway?), but it’s also a wonderful platform for fruit sauce and probably frostings and icings too.
Actually, I wanted be able to tell you about this cake years ago. Well, to be honest, I wanted to make this cake years ago. It’s an adaptation of “Audrey’s Yogurt Cake” from On Rue Tatin by Susan Herrmann Loomis. I read On Rue Tatin a long time ago. It’s a lovely memoir of the American author’s new experiences in a French town, the restoration of an old convent that became her family’s home, and the food that she cooked through it all. While I loved this book, I have to admit that it didn’t make me want to move to France. It did, however, make me want to restore an old house (which totally surprised me!) and it made me want to make Audrey’s Yogurt Cake. In fact, the only recipe I was still thinking about, years later, was that yogurt cake.
I wanted to make a fruit sauce to go with the cake (I hope to tell you about that soon, too. It’s an easy recipe.) So I omitted the chocolate swirl in the original recipe and kept it all vanilla. I think plain, whole milk yogurt would be best for flavor and texture in this cake. That being said, I used what I had, which was a well-known brand of low-fat vanilla-flavored yogurt. I felt like I could taste some of that (probably artificial) vanilla flavor in the cake, but, really, I didn’t mind.
This cake is wonderful and is one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made without being the least bit rustic. You don’t even have to pull out an electric mixer to make the batter or make alternating additions of liquids and dry ingredients. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with those slightly more complicated procedures and they make good cakes, but if you happen to have a little leftover yogurt wasting space in your refrigerator, this is a quick, easy and absolutely delicious cake to put together using very little of your precious time! I love it and hope to be making it, along with some simple variations and additions all summer long!
Simple Vanilla Yogurt CakeAdapted from On Rue Tatin by Susan Herrmann Loomis
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs
1 cup white granulated sugar
½ cup plain or vanilla yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a small saucepan (or in a bowl in the microwave if preferred). Set aside to cool while preparing the cake pan and remaining ingredients.
2. Trace the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan on parchment paper. Cut out the traced paper circle. Prepare the pan by spraying it with cooking spray or greasing it with butter. Line the bottom of the pan with the parchment circle. Set aside
3. Preheat oven to 375 F.
4. In a medium-size bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together to combine well.
5. In a large bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Beat vigorously with a whisk for a minute or so or until the mixture is thick and pale yellow and there are no longer obvious sugar granules.
6. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Stir in the yogurt and vanilla. Stir in the butter until well-combined.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake at 375 F for about 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with only moist crumbs attached (not wet batter).
8. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool in the pan about 15 minutes. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan. (I like the mounded top to be the top of my cake.) Cool completely. Serve plain or with an icing, sauce, ice cream, etc.
Makes about 8 servings. Store well wrapped for a few days at room temperature or freeze.