Olive Oil–Yogurt Cake

Whole-milk yogurt gives this traditional cake tang and richness, and extra-virgin olive oil offers subtle, fruity notes.

Olive Oil–Yogurt Cake
SERVES 12
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Popular throughout Spain and France, this simple cake exists in many forms—with or without citrus; glazed, drenched in syrup, dusted with confectioners’ sugar, or unadorned; baked in a cake pan, baking dish, loaf pan, or Bundt pan—but the basic recipe is the same: Extra-virgin olive oil and yogurt are combined with eggs, sugar, flour, and leavener (usually baking powder and sometimes baking soda) to create a moist, delicate cake with a slightly coarse crumb and a subtly tangy, mildly fruity aroma. We tested our way through numerous versions and found we preferred our cake without citrus in the batter to enable the subtle aroma of the olive oil to shine through. We tested a range of yogurt types and found that the most traditional—plain whole-milk yogurt—yielded the best results; the crusts and crumbs of cakes made with Greek yogurt were too thick and dense, and cakes made with low-fat yogurts were too dry and crumbly. We preferred the graceful form of the Bundt pan and found that an easy-to-make lemon glaze (with a touch of tangy yogurt) was enough to transform this modest everyday cake into an elegant dessert. Serve with Nectarines and Berries in Prosecco or Dried Fruit Compote , or simply enjoy with tea or coffee. For the best flavor, be sure to use high-quality extra-virgin olive oil here.

CAKE
3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1¼ cups (8¾ ounces) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

LEMON GLAZE
2–3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon plain whole-milk yogurt
2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners’ sugar

1. FOR THE CAKE Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. In separate large bowl, whisk sugar and eggs together until sugar is mostly dissolved and mixture is pale and frothy, about 1 minute. Whisk in oil and yogurt until combined. Using rubber spatula, stir in flour mixture until combined and no dry flour remains.
2. Pour batter into prepared pan, smooth top, and gently tap pan on counter to settle batter. Bake until cake is golden brown and wooden skewer inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
3. FOR THE LEMON GLAZE Whisk 2 tablespoons lemon juice, yogurt, and confectioners’ sugar together in bowl until smooth, adding more lemon juice gradually as needed until glaze is thick but still pourable (mixture should leave faint trail across bottom of mixing bowl when drizzled from whisk). Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then gently turn cake out onto wire rack. Drizzle half of glaze over warm cake and let cool for 1 hour. Drizzle remaining glaze over cake and let cool completely, about 2 hours. Serve.

Lemon Yogurt Mousse with Blueberry Sauce
SERVES 6
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS A creamy, refreshing, and slightly tangy chilled lemon mousse is a perfect way to highlight the ubiquitous Mediterranean citrus fruit. Greek yogurt, with its thick texture and tangy flavor, made a good base for our mousse. Unflavored gelatin and whipped egg whites held the mousse together without weighing it down. A combination of lemon zest and juice gave us well-rounded, bold citrus flavor. Vibrant berry sauces complemented the bright citrus flavor of the mousse. You will need six 4-ounce ramekins for this recipe. You can substitute 1 cup of frozen blueberries for the fresh berries. Do not substitute low-fat or nonfat Greek yogurt in this recipe.

BLUEBERRY SAUCE
4 ounces (¾ cup) blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
Pinch salt

MOUSSE
¾ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons water
½ cup whole Greek yogurt
¼ cup heavy cream
1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons (2⅔ ounces) sugar

1. FOR THE BLUEBERRY SAUCE Bring blueberries, sugar, water, and salt to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar has dissolved and fruit is heated through, 2 to 4 minutes.
2. Transfer mixture to blender and process until smooth, about 20 seconds. Strain puree through fine-mesh strainer, pressing on solids to extract as much puree as possible (you should have about ½ cup). Spoon sauce evenly into six 4-ounce ramekins and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
3. FOR THE MOUSSE Sprinkle gelatin over water in bowl and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. In separate bowl, whisk yogurt, heavy cream, lemon zest and juice, vanilla, and salt together until smooth.
4. Whisk egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar together in bowl of stand mixer. Set bowl over saucepan of barely simmering water and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture has tripled in volume and registers about 160 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes.
5. Off heat, quickly whisk in hydrated gelatin until dissolved. Transfer bowl to stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until stiff, shiny peaks form, 4 to 6 minutes. Add yogurt mixture and continue to whip until just combined, 30 to 60 seconds.
6. Divide mousse evenly among chilled ramekins, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled and set, 6 to 8 hours. Serve chilled.

VARIATIONS
Lemon Yogurt Mousse with Raspberry Sauce
Substitute 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries for blueberries.
Lemon Yogurt Mousse with Strawberry Sauce
Substitute 1 cup halved fresh or frozen strawberries for blueberries and reduce amount of water to 2 teaspoons.

Two Ways to Separate Eggs

 

A. WITH SHELL Using broken shell halves, gently transfer egg white from one shell to another, leaving yolk behind.

B. BY HAND Cup your hand over small bowl, transfer egg into your palm, and slowly unclench your fingers to allow white to slide through.

Semolina Pudding with Almonds and Dates
SERVES 6 to 8
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Sweetened milk puddings are popular throughout the Middle East and can be flavored with a variety of aromatic ingredients like rose water, orange blossom water, and more. We decided to infuse ours with cardamom and saffron for a unique and exotic flavor profile. Traditional semolina flour, which is made from durum wheat, thickened the pudding nicely and gave it a pleasantly coarse texture; toasting the semolina added more depth of flavor. Almonds brought a nutty crunch, and dates offered a contrasting honeyed sweetness. Traditional recipes often call for chilling the pudding, but we liked it warm so the texture was creamy rather than firm.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup fine semolina flour
4½ cups whole milk, plus extra as needed
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
⅛ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ cup slivered almonds, toasted and chopped
3 ounces pitted dates, sliced thin (½ cup)

1. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add semolina and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes; transfer to bowl.
2. Bring milk, sugar, cardamom, saffron, and salt to simmer in large saucepan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, slowly add semolina, 1 tablespoon at a time, and cook until mixture thickens slightly and begins to bubble, about 3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and let pudding rest for 30 minutes.
3. Stir pudding to loosen and adjust consistency with extra warm milk as needed. Sprinkle individual portions with almonds and dates before serving.

 

 

Desserts

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