I just had to go and say it, didn’t I? I had to shout from the roof tops (or at least my blog and maybe once or twice out my car window) that Spring had arrived. That the time had come for running in shorts, lunches in the park and open windows while sleeping. My glove box was reorganized as I giddily thought to myself “I won’t be needing you guys ’till next November!“, and I even made myself a few smoothies…a meal/snack reserved for warmer days in our household.
I spoke too soon. Imagine my surprise when I woke up Friday morning to a dusting of fresh snow on the ground. So. Very. Disappointing.
The unfortunate weather coincided with my Momma’s arrival from Florida, where sunny 75* days have been the norm for weeks now. The weekend plans that originally included vineyard tours, outdoor meals and grunt work in the garden quickly shifted to making a big pot of soup, going to the movies (twice!) and evening coffee in the den rather than white wine on the deck.
But there was still a race. The glorious 8K that – while being cheered on by friends and family brave enough to weather the cold, damp air – my running buddy Kelly and I conquered in 49:15 with smiles on our faces. Between mile 4 and the finish line Kelly commented that she was still able to smile, and wondered how far she would have to run before she stopped smiling. I decided that I never want to know. I like smiling while running.
One of the thoughts that kept me smiling through the race? Cake. I run so that I can continue to eat cake (and other wonderful baked goods of course, but cake is very near to the top of the list…). Because, you see, the other important event that coincided with my Momma’s visit to Virginia was my Momma’s birthday.
I wanted to make a cake that would remind us all of warmer days, in celebration of Momma’s birthday and as a thank you for standing in the cold to watch me run. Luckily, I stumbled upon a variation of this recipe in Molly’s lovely book, A Homemade Life.
If you love Orangette you will love this book. I anxiously awaited its arrival after pre-ordering it in January and have been devouring it since it landed on my doorstep. It is written beautifully, of course, and each recipe I’ve read so far sounds delicious. I thought I would have a hard time deciding which to make first, but knew instantly that this was the one when I found it. Because, not only do I love lemon, but in the book this cake coincides with the story of how Molly met her husband. It is such a great story, almost fairy tale-like, and if you haven’t read it you should. Right here.
And this cake? Its almost fairy tale-like as well. I recommend that you make it as soon as possible, for the positive thoughts it invokes are sure to make Spring come a little bit faster.
Lemon Yogurt Cake
- 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1/2 cup well-stirred plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek – Molly says NOT to use low or non-fat)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350*. Grease 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper and spray it too.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the lemon zest and whisk to mix thoroughly.
- In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar and eggs, stirring to mix well. Add the flour mixture and stir to just combine. Add the oil and stir well. Don’t worry when it looks like an oily mess – just keep mixing until a smooth batter forms. Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto wire rack. Remove parchment paper. Flip back over so that rounded top is up. Set the rack over a pan or large plate.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup ingredients. Spoon the syrup slowly over top of warm cake. Let cake cool completely.
- In a small bowl, combine the icing ingredients. Whisk well so that sugar is completely dissolved. Spoon the icing over the cooled cake.
- Cake can be served immediately, but icing will be set after about 1 hour.