Our friend Anna, Aussie expat in France, mentioned to me recently that this is the cake that Parisians bake.
In fact, it’s almost the only thing that most of her peers ever bake and, despite being the standard birthday cake for children, it’s usually served unadorned. Anna is revered by her fellow school mums for going to the extraordinary effort of making icing!
I can understand why it’s so popular, because this is an incredibly simple yet delicious recipe to knock together. I needed to make two cakes in a hurry yesterday, and was able to whip them both up in under 15 minutes (and that was making one cake at a time). The batter is made without an electric mixer and involves simply beating the dry ingredients into the wet ones with a whisk.
There are oodles of recipes for this cake floating around, but the one I like best is Dorie Greenspan’s, from her cookbook, Baking From My Home To Yours. Here is our version, made with Pete’s homemade Greek yoghurt and cumquat jelly. This batch was made with straight flour, omitting the optional almond meal.
- 1 cup (150g) plain (all purpose) flour
- ½ cup (65g) almond meal (or extra ½ cup plain flour)
- 2 teaspoons (10g) baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1 cup (220g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
- ½ cup (125ml) Greek yoghurt
- 3 large (59g) eggs
- ¼ teaspoon homemade vanilla extract
- ½ cup (115g) vegetable oil
- ½ cup cumquat jelly (for glaze) or other jam or marmalade
1. Spray a 21.5 x 11 x 7cm loaf tin with oil spray. I use this Chicago Metallics loaf tin, which seems to be the perfect size for all sorts of things. Preheat oven to 175C (350F), or 160C with fan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, meal, sifted baking powder and salt.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, eggs, vanilla, sugar and zest until well combined.
4. Scatter in the dry ingredients, a little at a time, whisking as you go. Once mixed, gradually fold in the oil with a spatula. The resultant batter with be smooth and shiny. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf tin and level out the top.
5. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Loosen around the edges of the cake with a butter knife, then turn out the cake and allow to cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
6. Glaze: melt the cumquat jelly in a small bowl in the microwave, being careful not to boil it. Brush all over the cake with a pastry brush, and allow to set.
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Here is an easy birthday cake which I made using this recipe…