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Thursday, September 1, 2016

Peach & Blueberry Honey Greek Yogurt Cake

 



The winter break of my freshman year at college, my mother and I went on a trip to Paris, just the two of us. It is the only time I have been to Paris. We had a great time. We tried thick, rich, syrupy hot chocolate at the famous Cafe Angelina, saw Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower, and got lost on the Metro. I must have looked so Parisian that a lady asked me a long question, in French, as we went down the escalator into the Metro. I didn't want to interrupt her, so I let her go on and on before finally saying, "I'm sorry, English only." My mom was in hysterics, crying from laughter, that I let the poor woman talk for so long before telling her that I couldn't be of assistance.

Anyway, I am not sure if my mom remembers, but one day on that trip we had a lemon-flavored yogurt cake at a bistro where we got a prix fixe lunch. It did not look very fancy, but it was moist, lightly lemon scented, and just a little bit sweet. I love lemon flavored desserts (or anything, really), and I have often thought about trying to make a cake using yogurt for flavor, fat, and moisture. This is my attempt at doing so. I did not make a lemon flavored cake, because in my research I found many different recipes already available for a French lemon yogurt cake. I also think that the yogurt you can get in Europe tastes richer and better than yogurt you can find out here, so I worried that I would be disappointed in the comparison. 

So, I decided to try using my favorite honey flavored Greek yogurt, and pairing it with two summer fruits that really shine this time of year: peaches and blueberries. I thought both fruits have a nice tart component to them and would pair nicely with the sweet tang of the honey Greek yogurt. I was right. What develops is a lightly sweet, beautifully moist, chewy cake. It is almost like a slightly denser form of angel food cake, and the fruit becomes deliciously soft and caramelized. The edges of the cake are light brown and crispy. This is a good one, folks.


The cool thing about this idea is that not only can you switch out any of the fruit you want, depending on the season or your preferences, but you can also switch out the flavor of the yogurt. The options are basically endless. The flavors of Greek yogurt include honey, vanilla, strawberry, peach, mango, cherry, blueberry, raspberry, coconut, orange & ginger, mixed berry, blood orange, strawberry & basil, fig & lemon zest, rhubarb, passion fruit, pineapple, pomegranate, strawberry banana....and these are just some of the flavors available in the yogurt section at my grocery store. The one thing that is important, though, is to not use non-fat yogurt. I used full fat, and without a doubt it will be the most delicious option. Cakes need fat (be it butter or what have you) to create a nice crumb. You can probably get away with using a low-fat yogurt, since the yogurt itself will keep the cake nice and moist. I haven't tried it yet.

Anyway. all told, including baking time, this recipe takes under an hour start to finish. The hardest part is cutting the fruit and placing it prettily on the top of the cake (which, let's be real, is not that hard). It is great as a light dessert, but also is delicious with your morning coffee, since it isn't very sweet. And, since it has fruit on top and yogurt in it, you can lie to yourself, like I do, and say this is a healthy option. 

Ingredients: 

Ingredients.
1 cup full-fat honey Greek yogurt
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 cup of sugar*
1 1/2 cups flour
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 peaches, sliced
6 ounces blueberries
sprinkling of Turbinado sugar (optional)
sprinkling of powdered sugar (optional)

1. Grease an 8" springform pan. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Beat the eggs until foamy. 

Foamy.
3. Add in the coconut oil, sugar, and yogurt. Beat for 1 minute. 

Added.
Beaten.
(Note: if you use a different flavor yogurt, your batter may be a different color).
4. Add in the flour, salt, and baking powder. Beat for 1 more minute.
Batter.
5. Cut your peaches into slices (I did about 10 slices per peach). (Or prepare whatever fruit you are using). Pour batter into prepared pan.

Ready to decorate.
6. Add fruit in a pretty pattern to the top of your cake.

Beginning.
Final design.
7. Sprinkle fruit with the Turbinado sugar. This step is not required. The cake would still be delicious without the Turbinado sugar, but I am a fan of the small crunch it provides the top of the cake. 

8. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes. It will be done when a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Set on a rack to cool for at least 1 hour before releasing it from the springform pan. 





9. Another optional step, but I am in favor: once the cake has cooled, sprinkle with a coating of powdered sugar. 




*Note about sugar in the recipe: please be aware that if you are using an especially sweet flavor of Greek yogurt, you may want to reduce the sugar a little bit (by maybe 1/4 cup or so). And if you are using an especially tart flavor of yogurt (lemon, anyone?), you may want to add an extra 1/4 cup of sugar.

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