C Bakes: Persian Yoghurt Cake

We may have mentioned before that C loves cake, being inflicted with a sweet tooth (see here). Regular readers among you may also have observed this blog's fascination with the Middle East (see here, for example). When A recently purchased a Persian cookbook called Pomegranates and Roses (highly recommended) therefore, C leafed through it straight away in search of sweet things, becoming immediately besotted by "Grandmother's Yoghurt Cake". Yoghurt? In a cake? With lemon and many other delicious things? Yes please!

For Goodness Cake!

Somewhat mesmerised, C first made this when she and A hosted a picnic back in August for some of A's friends, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it went down particularly well. With some culprits (not looking at anyone, of course, but A and his friend T might have had something to do with it) eating slice after slice of the stuff, the cake disappeared in no time and before she'd had the chance to take photos for the blog.

Beats me!

When A, with a mouthful of the last few cake crumbs, stated that this simply meant C would need to bake it again, it's fair to say she didn't feel too disheartened. So when A & C invited several of C's friends over to dinner a few Sundays ago and settled on a Persian theme - something they'd experimented with before, but not for C's friends - there was only one dessert she wanted to make: Grandmother's Yoghurt Cake.

Rising to the Occasion
Again, C was pleasantly surprised at the rave reviews from her friends; she was particularly smug when the general consensus proclaimed it the stand-out section of the menu, along with the pomegranate-infused lamb (more on that next week).

What makes Grandmother's Yoghurt Cake so good? While C would like to pretend it's her baking skills (Great British Bake Off, eat your heart out), more realistically she has to admit that it's due to the unusual consistency and the creamy sweetness - not overpowering, but really aromatic.

Ready for a slice of the action

C has just been baking this as below, but is keen to experiment now - she's thinking of adding rosewater (a Persian favourite) or pomegranate (flavour of the month) but would welcome any other suggestions, too...

Flour power

Here's how you do it:

Ingredients:
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • weenie pinch of salt
  • 250g sugar (caster or granulated)
  • zest of half a lemon (use a zester)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 75g melted butter (or olive oil - C has only ever used butter though)
  • 300g full fat natural yoghurt (you can do it with low fat, but the crumb isn't as good)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark IV. Prepare a 22cm non-stick cake tin by rubbing it with butter, especially the edges. In a large bowl, sift flour with baking powder, bicarb and salt. In another bowl, whisk sugar with lemon zest for a few seconds. Add eggs to the sugar and lemon zest and whisk for 3-4 minutes with an electric beater. Whisk in butter/oil yoghurt and vanilla extract, switching to spatula half way through. Fold batter until just mixed - do not overbeat. Pour batter into tin and bake for 30-35 minutes (C always allows at least 40) or until a knife comes out clean. Leave in tin for 5 minutes to rest but no longer as the cake will go gooey. Turn out and leave on rack to cool fully. Serve sprinkled icing sugar on top or any other preferred garnish.

In all, the cake takes about an hour from start to finish, excluding cooling time.

Guaranteed to Sell Like Hot Cakes!

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