Friday, October 21, 2011

50 Women Game Changers in Food - #20 Molly Wizenberg - French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Molly Wizenberg has degrees in biology, French and cultural anthropology, but several years ago she left academia to become a freelance food writer and creator of the enormously popular blog, Orangette. She was raised in a family of food lovers and she learned to cook because "the kitchen was where things happened." Her intended career path changed after a period of introspection that followed the unsettling death of her father. A friend suggested she write a food blog as an outlet for her intense interest in food and in 2004 Orangette was born. Orangette's audience grew steadily and in 2009 it was named the world's top food blog by the Times of London. For a time she was also a columnist for Bon Appetit magazine and her memoir, A Homemade Life, was on the New York Times bestseller list. She and her husband, whom she met through a correspondence that began on her blog, operate a restaurant, called Delancey, in Seattle. She holds position 20 on the Gourmet Live list of Women Game Changers in food. I've chosen her recipe for French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon to share with you today. This is the recipe that inspired her husband to introduce himself to her. It is simple, delicious and quite easy to prepare. I like to use Meyer lemons for the cake and glaze. Here's her recipe.

G√Ęteau au Citron - French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Molly Wizenberg

"This type of cake is an old classic in France, the sort of humble treat that a grandmother would make. Traditionally, the ingredients are measured in a yogurt jar, a small glass cylinder that holds about 125 ml. Because most American yogurts don't come in such smart packaging, you'll want to know that 1 jar equals about 1/2 cup."

For the cake:
1 jar plain yogurt
2 jars granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 jars unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 jar canola oil

For the glaze:
Juice from 2 lemons
1/2 jar powdered sugar

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and zest, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir to incorporate. At first, it will look like a horrible, oily mess, but keep stirring, and it will come together into a smooth batter. Pour and scrape the batter into a buttered 9-inch round cake pan (after buttering, I sometimes line the bottom with a round of wax or parchment paper, and then I butter that too).
3) Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.
4) Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.
5) When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.

Variations: This type of yogurt-based cake is a terrific base for many improvisations. For a basic yogurt cake, simply leave out the lemon zest, and do not use the lemon juice glaze. For an almond version, try replacing 1 jar of flour with 1 jar of finely ground almonds. You can also play with adding various fruits (if frozen, do NOT thaw before adding) or nuts, if you like. When I add fruit, I generally pour half the cake batter into the prepared pan, top it with a layer of fruit, and then pour in the other half of the batter, sometimes adding more fruit on the very top.

The following bloggers are also featuring the recipes of Molly Wizenberg today. I hope you'll visit all of them. They are great cooks who have wonderful blogs.

Val - More Than Burnt Toast, Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed, Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey, Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney, Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets, Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite, Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen, Sue - The View from Great Island
Barbara - Movable Feasts, Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green,Jeanette - Healthy Living
Linda - Ciao Chow Linda, Linda A - There and Back Again
Martha - Lines from Linderhof, Nancy - Picadillo
Mireya - My Healthy Eating Habits, Veronica - My Catholic Kitchen

Next week we will highlight the career and recipes of Ree Drummond. It will be really interesting to see what everyone comes up with. If you'd like to join us please email me for additional information no later than Monday, October 24th.


Anonymous said...

Love it Lemon cake.What a great young woman:)Thank you for sharing this wonderful story:)

Patricia said...

The recipes sounds wonderful...but what I enjoyed even more was the "Molly Story!" I just love to hear of those whose life story unfolded as they followed their passion.

Pondside said...

That's such an interesting story!
This looks like the sort of cake that would be perfect with tea on a chilly Sunday afternoon. I don't know Meyer lemons, but will look more closely in the grocery store.

Alessandra said...

Great Mary, and thank you for letting me know about Orangette :-). And guess what, in New Zealand all the lemons are Mayers (or at least, all the lemons that people have in gardens) and so this is perfect!!


Ginny Hartzler said...

The jar measurements are a bit strange, but I see they are a half cup. It looks wonderful and light!

Jeannie said...

I love the look of this cake, so bright and am sure tastes wonderful too!

titty said...

Che bella torta! cerco di tradurla, a voglio provare!

Angie's Recipes said...

I adore lemon flavoured baked goods. This looks super!

Receitas para a Felicidade said...

I Mary, thank you for sharing this wonderful and delicious cake looks so gorgeous hummm

kisses and blessings!!

linksdistodaquilo said...

The eyes eat immediately!
Glad you do not get fat;)

A kiss of Nita.
Good day.

Barbara said...

Lovely lemon cake, Mary. I've not seen this recipe. Yogurt always makes a cake so moist..cute this is the recipe that introduced her to her husband. :)

That Girl said...

I remember being so excited when Molly started writing for Bon Apetit. It was like "food blogger hits the big time!"

Sue/the view from great island said...

Another lemon cake for my collection---yay! I love the fact that it's the cake that inspired Molly's future husband to write her.

Jeanette said...

So glad you made the cake that brought Molly and her husband together - what a romantic story.

Sprigs of Rosemary said...

Molly Wizenberg is just one of the reasons I started blogging. Inspirational. And such a lovely love story -- and cake -- as well.

Unknown said...

What a beautiful photo and delicious looking cake - not to sweet or fancy!

Southerncook said...

Mary, This looks absolutely devine and I am anxious to make it. I do love anything with Lemon. The recipe says 1 jar plain yogurt, would that mean an 8-ounce container? I am assuming so. I have seen smaller containers but not sure of weight, it may be a 4-ounce container?

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

Susan Lindquist said...

This cake was another of the recipes from A Homemade Life that I made ... such a good cake! Your photo does it justice! So pretty!

Martha said...

A beautiful cake and I love French yogurt cakes! And this lemony version looks divine. Sigh, Meyer lemons are unknown on the prairie unless you grow them yourself and I do have a tree but this year it only produced one -- I may sacrifice it for this cake!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Lemon is my favourite whether it is sweer or savoury!

Debbie said...

I love lemon cakes and cookies. This one is so simple and looks fantastic! Looking forward to your posts next week about Ree....

Lenia said...

It looks really yummy!

Southerncook said...

Thanks so much Mary, that does help. If I hadn't asked I would have probably assumed the 8-ounce but after looking at the pic of the cake again a 1/2 cup does make more sense for a one layer cake. Sometimes it takes me a while to work through these things in my head??? I appreciate your post.


Rhonda said...

To die for! As I've said before I'm a sucker for all things lemon!. Thanks for sharing.

Joanne said...

I definitely contemplated making this cake as Molly has so many variations on it on her blog! Looks delicious!

Esi said...

Beautiful cake

Heather S-G said...

This looks fantastic! So moist and yellow and humble. I really want a slice!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Lovely cake Mary. Thanks for the "translation" of measuring according to the French. It can be difficult. I still have a hard time when they call for a coffee spoon full of xxx.

Taryn said...

What a beautiful cake - I love that her husband introduced himself because of it!

mia xara said...

Very light and fluffy cake this one!I love the lemon glaze!Enjoy the weekend,Mary!

Elisa said...

what a great intro to Molly! a friend from France shared her recipe with me and she also uses the jar of yogurt to measure most of the ingredients, the only extra ingredient my friend added was a bit of rum. When I made it I called it french croatian lemon yogurt cake, it's so good, it's become one of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful site. I so enjoy flipping through your recipes! Happy Cooking!
Kay Johnson

Claudia said...

I've made this "humble" cake so many times. It's perfect for a gentle sweet nibble after a heavy meal.

Miranda | Mangoes and Chutney said...

I love lemon cake, this one sounds like it will be especially moist. Thanks for your great write-up of Molly, it was a pleasure reading about her. It felt very personal.

GratefulPrayerThankfulHeart said...

Hello Mary,

I really enjoy lemon and this cake looks delicious. I plan on giving it a try. Perhaps I will be able to make one of your future Woman Game Changers recipes.

Always a joy stopping by to visit with you!

Kindly, Lorraine

Unknown said...

Just made this this morning and it is delicious! The 1/2 c. conversion for the jar works out just fine. I made my glaze a little thicker, I'm not that big of a fan of it being soaked into the cake. Very lemon-y and very tasty :D

Salsa Verde said...

Hi Mary,
I love lemon cakes and when I saw this post from last year, could't resist on having a peak and what a fantastic cake this is!!

Lynne said...

Hoping you see this comment after such a time lapse :-)

All set to make this but here in New Zealand our yoghurt doesn't come in jars. How many mls or fluid oz is the yoghurt volume needed please?

Mary Bergfeld said...

Lynne, I hope this from Molly herself will help:

"Jar" is not a normal term of measurement! As I noted above, just below the photograph, the traditional way of making this cake calls for the ingredients to be measured in little glass yogurt jars. (In France, that's how many yogurts are packaged.) For our purposes in the States (or in other places where yogurt doesn't come in cute little jars), know that 1 jar equals about 1/2 cup. So 3 jars of flour is 1 1/2 cups.

Lynne said...

All good - I just saw it when I went back and read properly (blushing)

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