Sunday, July 11, 2010

Olive Oil Yoghurt Cake with Wild Blueberries and Lemon

Don’t be fooled by the lengthy title. This is a simple dessert that can be ready for the oven about 20 minutes flat. I’ve actually done it in ten, but I don’t want to inspire false confidence for those of you who don’t spend such a great portion of your waking hours in a kitchen.

This is a light, tender-crumbed cake that makes a perfect weeknight dessert. It’s so bright-tasting that I do think of it as quintessentially summery, but since I always use frozen blueberries (though fresh would be divine), there’s nothing to stop you from whipping this up in the dead of winter – which is when lemons are at their best, after all.

I love using olive oil because its fruity flavor makes such a nice contrast with the citrus and berries. However, canola or another neutral oil would certainly be fine. If you’re worried about too much tartness, you could swap orange zest and juice for the lemon. My mom always used to make blueberry muffins with orange juice, so that would make this like a blueberry muffin cake to me. And I can think of far worse things.
Olive Oil Yoghurt Cake with Wild Blueberries and Lemon
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons cake flour or 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I’ve made it both ways and have no preference)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 7-oz. container plain Greek yogurt (2% is okay – it’s what I usually have on hand and have used both times I’ve made this – but I wouldn’t go with fat-free. Full fat is probably even better)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (1 large or 2 small lemons)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups wild blueberries, fresh or frozen – I have never thawed the frozen ones very thoroughly, and the cake comes out fine
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from zested lemons)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan. You could also bake this in a loaf pan, but that would be … not very cake-y, in my estimation. Anything in a loaf is a bread or a quickbread.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt into a smallish bowl. In a medium-large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, and oil. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients, then fold in berries. Be gentle! Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespooons 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 before removing from the pan and setting on a cooling rack. Poke the top all over with a toothpick. While the cake is still warm, use a pastry brush to baste the cake with the lemon-sugar mixture. Cool. Serve plain, or with lightly whipped, lightly sweetened cream, or with just a drizzle of plain heavy cream.

Printable recipe here.