So the apocalypse is here and if you’re not a Doomsday prepper, like I’m not, you probably don’t have all the ingredients in the world to bake everything and anything that you want anytime, readily available in your pantry. All jokes aside, you probably weren’t ready to be stuck at home for a few weeks. You can always plan ahead and grocery shop off course, if you are able to leave the house whenever you want during quarantine. Also, for most of us, minding our budget became more and more important with the increased lay-offs and dependency on government support.
All things considered, baking is still a very good outlet for creativity, and a lovely way to occupy our time, by ourselves or with our families, while producing something lovely to boost our mood. Which is, in my case at least, much necessary at the moment. And there we go, I’m baking at home again, without any agenda apart from making a tasty cake to make me and others a little happier.
So I’ve decided to go back to one of my favorite cooks, Nigella Lawson, for a recipe with simple ingredients that didn’t require a trip to the supermarket. I had yogurt so yogurt cake it is. Mind you that I actually didn’t have lemons to produce the lemon zest that the original recipe called for, so I just used some leftover lemon essence that I had gotten to make lemon buttercream, and the result was brilliant. While on quarantine I’ve decided to also start emptying the freezer and found a few frozen blueberries that I had yet to use, and so there you go, I added them to the mix. The cake is a simple soft lemon sponge with a few dots of blueberry (I would have used more if I had them) that make one bite a bit more tangy than the other.
Since the blueberries were frozen and the original recipe didn’t call for frozen berries, I coated them in a little corn starch to avoid the liquid sipping too much into the batter and altering the consistency of the sponge. Let’s start the baking.
Yield: one 22cm cake ring
Prep + Baking time: 15+40 minutes
- 150g yogurt
- 150ml of vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 250g sugar
- 175g of plain flour
- 75g of corn flour + 1 tbsp to coat blueberries
- 1 Tbsp lemon essence (or lemon juice or lemon zest)
- 1 tsp of baking power
- Icing sugar (optional)
- Pre-heat the oven at 180C.
- Separate the egg whites from the egg yolks into 2 separate bowls.
- Using the whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Keep aside.
- In the bowl with the eggs yolks, add the yogurt and sugar. Using the paddle attachment, mix them together until you have a light batter.
- On slow medium speed, add the vegetable oil and lemon essence and mix until all combined. Make sure to use a spatula to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour, corn flour and baking powder and mix until all combined.
- Add the whites into the batter, and using a spatula gently fold them in, until you have a light and fluffy mix.
- Spray the ring tin with baking spray (or coat it with butter and flour) and add the batter into it.
- Place the blueberries in a bowl, add 1 tbsp of corn flour and using the spoon (or your hands) gently toss the frozen berries in the corn flour.
- Add them to the baking ring, and using the spatula gently incorporate them into the batter.
- Bake for 35-40min at 180C, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let it cool down a little before you take it out of the tin. Dust with icing sugar, if that’s your sort of thing.
Voila! This recipe was so easy to accomplish, that even in the high of doubting my own capabilities and letting the lockdown blues get to me, it came out pretty, fluffy and delicious. I must say it was gone in less than 24h. So if you’re feeling blue, get to some baking and it will probably help.
I actually though the crust was too brown but it was actually fine and kept the integrity of the ring’s shape quite well. I must say I missed baking something simple like this, no trip to the market necessary, no colorants, just plain simple ingredients, and still a lovely dessert and snack for us here at home. The whole lockdown caught me a bit by surprise, as I was just preparing to launch the cake deliveries, focusing on celebration and wedding cakes, and this puts everything on hold. I’m sure I’m not the only one, and putting things in perspective does help getting the next best foot forward sometimes. So in this time that we are all inside and a bit bored, I’m trying to stay connected and keep cooking with you on my instastories.
This will all be done and dusted at some stage, be it in 14 days or more, until then we are all in this together and the faster we stay physically distant from each other the faster we can all get back together. So on my side I’m going to try to keep motivated and baking some treats, using easy ingredients and staying on budget.
As I’m writing this my electricity has failed and it’s raining and windy outside, is this the end of the world? Better go before the battery dies.
Stay positive everyone!