Oranges and Lemon, sold for a penny,
All the school girls are so merry,
the grass is green, and,
the rose is red…
Just as I was baking this cake today, this childhood rhyme just sprung across after all these years. I can vividly recollect when we used to play this game as a little girls where two girls would hold their hands and hold them high to form an arch so that girls could pass under while singing this rhyme. Whoever got caught between the arms when the rhyme ended would be out of the game and so on… those were such fun days! Carefree lives without a worry in the world…
So getting to the cake, that I have been planning to bake for a couple of weeks now…it all started with the Lemon Loaf Cake that I had at my neighbourhood Starbucks and while it was nice, I thought to myself that it could be so much better. It was dry, didn’t have much of a lemon flavour and surely had lots of food colour to bring in the lemony yellow tinge. So I decided to give it a go myself and surely enough there were tons of recipe out there that were doing just that. And the one that stood out was the Lemon Loaf Cake by http://www.averiecooks.com.
This recipe has been adapted from Averie’s recipe and boy is it good! I can easily say this cake is ‘moist’ and ‘flavour’ personified. I have not made another cake that is so simple and yet so moreish that it totally melts in your mouth. This is also the first time I baked a cake using yoghurt and I think therein lies the secret. Utterly moist, bursting with the flavour of citrusy zest and fluffy as a cloud. And the icing on the cake – a glaze which is a breeze to make and makes the cake absolutely delightful.
To be honest, I am not really an icing person. I always prefer simple sponges and loafs and this one fits right in – no heavy cream smothering the cake’s flavour or taste. This super simple glaze only serves to enhance the citrus notes and adds another layer of complexity and texture to the cake. So, go on people, try this one – guaranteed compliments, smiles and may be even a kiss or two!
For the loaf
- Large eggs – 3
- Granulated sugar – 1 cup
- Greek yogurt – 1 cup ( 250 ml) I used full fat but you could use low fat
- Vegetable oil – 1/2 cup ( 125 ml)
- Orange and lemon zest – 2 tablespoons
- All-purpose plain flour – 1.5 cups ( 200 grams)
- Baking powder – 2 teaspoons
- Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
For the lemon glaze
- Icing sugar or Confectioner’s sugar – 1 cup
- Lemon Juice – 3 – 4 tablespoons
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9″5″ loaf tin with parchment paper and butter lightly. Alternatively you could directly flour and butter the tin;
- In a large bowl, add the eggs, sugar and yoghurt and whisk until smooth and combined. I used a hand held mixer at speed 2 for about 2 minutes. Then drizzle in the oil in a slow trickle while continuing to whisk. Do not add the entire oil in one go, as that will cause the mixture to split;
- Add the lemon zest and mix well. Take care to not add the white part ( pith)of the lemon or orange which is bitter – just the outer yellow and orange skin;
- Sieve in the flour, baking powder and salt directly into the bowl and fold with a spatula until just combined. Your batter will be a little lumpy and that’s the way it should be. Do not be tempted to stir too much and break up the lumps. A lumpy batter is what helps to keep the cake light and fluffy;
- Pour the batter into the buttered cake tin and smoothen the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for about 50 to 55 minutes depending on your oven or until top has risen like a bun, has a few cracks running vertically and a knife comes out clean. If your cake has browned but not cooked, cover the top loosely with a foil to prevent excessive browning while the centre cooks through for a couple of minutes more;
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely before glazing. This will take at least an hour and if you have time, leave it for another hour. Of course, me being me, I couldn’t wait longer than an hour but thanks to my parchment paper, I could just lift my cake out of the tin to cool much more quickly.
- To make the lemon glaze, whisk together the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small bowl until smooth – adjust the sugar and lemon juice according to your taste. I love the intense lemony flavour, so I used a bit more lemon juice. Do make sure your glaze isn’t too thin as it will drizzle down the sides of the cake;
- Drizzle the glaze over the cake and let it soak in through the cracks adding to the wonderful moistness and taking the citrusy flavour several notches up. Slice and serve up.
- It is preferable to use Greek Yoghurt and in fact I was surprised when I found a one in my neighbourhood super market. If you can’t get one, I would recommend using full fat regular yoghurt without any liquid or whey. To do that, simply place two cups of regular yoghurt in a muslin cloth, tie a knot and let it hang for an hour till all the liquid drips away. Simply stir this yoghurt to end up with a greek style yoghurt;
- Using parchment paper helps to simply lift out the cake after about 5 minutes and there is no risk of breaking the cake when trying to invert and then back on to the rack;