I hosted my first official dinner party at our new apartment yesterday. I am happy to report that it was a success!
That’s our table, all set up. I realized last week that I only had a set of 4 placemats and 4 fancy (read: cloth) napkins and we were having 5 total for dinner, so I bought that tablecloth at Cost Plus on the way home one day last week. You can’t really tell in the picture, but it’s a really pretty blue and brown Indian pattern. I love it!
I am definitely still getting used to the fact that I have a blog because I kept forgetting to take pictures of everything I made! Gah! Luckily, this blog is intended to be about more than just cooking, but I am definitely making a concerted effort to remember from now on!
On the bright side, I did remember to take pictures of this amazing lemon yogurt cake I made for dessert.
It comes together so easily – you don’t even need a mixer! Just a whisk and a spatula and you’re good to go! I hadn’t made this before yesterday and normally I wouldn’t try out a new recipe for company, but this is an Ina Garten recipe and she has never steered me wrong, although I will say that I didn’t like this cake as well as her basic lemon cake. However, using yogurt and vegetable oil instead of butter makes it a bit healthier – at least that’s what we were all telling ourselves last night!
Lemon Yogurt Cake (Ina Garten)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup whole milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
2 tsp. lemon zest (about 2 lemons worth)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a loaf pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the pan.
Disclaimer: I will admit here that when recipes call for mixing the dry ingredients ahead of time, I don’t always do it. If I’m making a special occasion cake or something really complicated with a lot of steps, then I’ll do it. But I figured for such a simple everyday cake, it wasn’t necessary. I thought it turned out excellently!
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla.
Add the flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk until just combined.
Fold in the oil with a rubber spatula until it is well combined – make sure it’s really all mixed in! You don’t want a greasy cake!
Pour into pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. (I always, always set my timer for 10-15 minutes ahead to check, just in case it’s going more quickly than the recipe says. Even if you have a good oven thermometer, the time can still be different than the recipe. So check early!)
After you take the cake out, let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn it out onto a cooling rack. Meanwhile, combine the 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of lemon juice in a small saucepan and simmer gently, whisking, until the sugar is dissolved. It will be very clear when it’s ready. Pour over the semi-cooled cake to soak in. (Don’t wait until the cake is too cool, or it won’t soak in as well!)
Now, cool the cake completely. If you’re serving it that day, go ahead and make the glaze – just whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth and pour over the top of the cake. If you’re waiting a day or two to serve (like I did), cover your cake tightly – I put mine under the dome of my cake plate – and make the glaze the day you serve. Otherwise, your glaze will dry out slightly and won’t be as fresh looking.
Enjoy! This is a really easy recipe and the cake keeps well for a few days, if kept tightly wrapped. If anything, it only gets more moist and the lemon flavor deepens if you wait a day to serve. Yum.