Occasionally you find a recipe that is just extraordinary, unlike anything else you know, and so simple you can drop it into your life almost without thinking.
Sally Asher’s Lemon Yogurt Cake is one of these. Now I knew nothing about Sally Asher until I found her recipe, idly playing around on the web one day. Now I know that she is an Australian slimming specialist, with the theme of “eat like the French” (and the Italians, and the Japanese). Basically this is a sensible “don’t diet, instead eat good quality food that you love in sensible amounts” gleaned from living in Paris and Rome – part of the time with a Japanese roommate.
Now lemon yogurt cake is the one cake women in France actually make for themselves at home. For the kids after school. Or a birthday. Mostly, they buy something delicious from the local patisserie/bakery, of which there is one on almost every corner, even in the smallest town (how I envy this). And note: a “cake” is always baked in a loaf pan, while a “gateaux” is round.
Basically this is a good, moist, lemon flavoured pound cake. For a useful basic recipe see Epicurious magazine.
Ina Garten offers her own version with a lemon/sugar drizzle topping (rather like a British lemon drizzle cake).
For a more elaborate version, including ground almonds and a lemon marmalade topping, see the wonderful Doris Greenspan’s “French Yogurt Cake with Marmalade glaze”, and a also more adventurous lemon yogurt cake adding clementines, topped with clementine pieces and honey. Yum.
Sally Asher’s lemon yogurt cake is a completely different thing – more like a delicate cheesecake or collapsed soufflé. Like a soufflé, it uses more eggs (4), more yogurt (1 ¾ cups) and just a little bit of flour (4 tablespoons). And the only sugar is dusted on top.
You could eat it every day.
Sally Asher's Lemon Yogurt Cake
4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup castor (superfine) sugar
3 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour
1¾ cups Greek yogurt
grated zest of 1 lemon (preferably unwaxed)
juice of 1 lemon
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Grease and line a 22-cm (8½-inch) springform pan with parchment paper.
2. Beat the egg yolks with the castor sugar to a thick, pale cream. Beat in the flour, then the yogurt, lemon zest and lemon juice until it is thoroughly blended.
3. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the yogurt mixture in two batches.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.
5. Let the cake cool before releasing it from the springform pan and sliding it onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and, if you like, serve wedges with poached fruit.