Monday, January 18, 2010

Orange-Yogurt Cake

I’d like to share this Orange-Yogurt Cake recipe I’ve had for a few years. It’s adapted from a recipe I saw in Martha Stewart Living. It’s perfect for informal dinners, especially served with a segmented orange. I usually sprinkle some confectioners’ sugar on top, though that’s entirely optional. This cake is delicious and also incredibly simple. I remember making this cake for my mother-in-law once, when the Engineer and I had forgotten to plan dessert. I was able to throw it together at the last minute – as a matter of fact, by the time the Engineer came in the kitchen to assist me, I was sliding the cake in the oven. It’s that fast.

Note that I use lactose-free yogurt, but you can use any plain or vanilla yogurt you want, even soy yogurt. One individual container is about ½ cup, and I don’t bother measuring any further than that. I also never measure out the orange zest; I just grate all the zest from one orange, chop it up to make sure it’s small enough, and dump it all in.

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
½ cup + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 pinch of salt
½ cup plain yogurt
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp grated orange zest + 1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 large egg
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan (lately, I’ve put some greased waxed paper at the bottom as well, as a precaution).

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl; whisk to mix well. Stir in yogurt, oil, orange zest, orange juice, egg and vanilla; mix well. (The batter may be a bit stiff, but don’t worry.)

Pour into the pan and spread evenly.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack before unmolding.

See, it’s really that easy. For those of you who have never dusted a cake with confectioners’ sugar, here’s how it’s done: use a small sieve (I use the type that would filter pulp out of orange juice; a big sieve would do too, as long as it’s a fine sieve).

Put a spoonful of confectioners’ sugar in the sieve (a little goes a long way) and, placing it over the cake, gently tap it to make the sugar fall through it. Just do that over the whole cake and you’re done.

The perfectionists among you can put strips of paper on the plate around the cake beforehand and remove them once you’ve dusted the cake with sugar; that way, the plate stays clean and presentation is nicer.

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