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Lemon Yogurt Loaf Cakes

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

The academic year is finally over, and things in school are starting to wind down slowly. It has been a lot less busy lately, with a lot more breathing and thinking (and baking!) space.



These are the times of rest that I have been yearning for. I'm definitely someone who does not thrive in extreme busyness. Rest is so important, so essential. It gives us space to recharge and be refreshed; it allows us to redirect our energies, and also prepares us for the next season of busyness. As I grow, I've come to appreciate opportunities to slow down a lot more. Rest is time I have to intenionally set aside. That being said, idleness isn't good either. Somewhere in between is that delicate, productive balance.



With things beginning to slow down somewhat, I drew out some time to make these lemon yogurt loaf cakes, which has been on my ever-growing to-bake list for the longest time. Did you know that lemon is one of my favourite flavours in cake? It might be only second to chocolate (chocolate is always number one to me!).




Packed with refreshing lemon flavour, these small lemon yogurt cakes are a wonderful combination buttery, sweet and tangy. They are also moist and fluffy as a result of using Greek yogurt in these cakes (I love Greek yogurt, by the way; I could eat it as is!). Best of all, because these were made in small loaf pans, they are good for sharing and also ensures that you don't eat too much cake in one sitting (though if you do eat more of it, like I did, no one will blame you!). Also, small cakes are just cute, don't you think?


If you prefer or want to make a larger cake, you could certainly make this lemon yogurt cake as a large Bundt cake or two large loaf cakes. You would just need to adjust the baking time. I would suggest baking a larger cake for 50 to 55 minutes, but do check it at the 45-minute mark by inserting a skewer into the cake to check for any wet batter. If there is still wet batter clinging to the skewer, you would know that you need to bake it longer.




I hope you'd give this cake a go! Happy baking!

 

Lemon Yogurt Loaf Cakes

Makes 8 small 2 x 4-inch loaf cakes

Adapted from various sources


Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 370 g (approx. 3 cups) all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 350 g (1 3/4 cup) granulated sugar

  • Grated lemon zest of 4 to 5 large lemons

  • 230 g (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt

  • 4 large eggs

  • 250 g (approx. 1 cup) Greek yogurt

  • 3 Tbs fresh lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the lemon syrup:

  • 50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar

  • 4 Tbs fresh lemon juice


For the lemon glaze:

  • 180 g (approx. 1 1/2 cup) confectioners' sugar (aka icing sugar)

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and set an oven rack in the middle position. Prepare eight 2 x 4-inch loaf pans by coating the insides with butter and flour.

  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda.

  3. In a large bowl, place the sugar and grated lemon zest (be careful not to add the pith of the lemon, which is bitter). Using your fingers, gently rub the zest and sugar together. This allows the zest to release some of its juices, flavouring the sugar and producing a more pronounced lemon flavour.

  4. Into the large bowl with the sugar and lemon zest, add softened room temperature butter and salt. Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt together until it is pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  5. Add the eggs into the butter mixture, one at a time, ensuring that each egg is well-incorporated before adding the next one. Remember to scrape down the bowl to ensure everything is well mixed.

  6. Once all the eggs have been incorporated, beat in half of the yogurt and lemon juice. Then, fold in one-third of the flour mixture into the butter mixture.

  7. Repeat with the next one-third of yogurt and lemon juice, as well as the flour mixture.

  8. Finally, fold in the remaining yogurt and lemon juice, followed by the flour mixture, until everything is well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything has been mixed in. Do not over-mix.

  9. Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, divide the batter as equally as possible among eight small loaf pans. Fill the loaf pans two-thirds full and gently tap the loaf pans on the counter to level the batter. Do not over-fill the loaf pans, else the batter would overflow as it bakes.

  10. Bake the cakes at 170°C for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cakes are golden or a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

  11. Make the lemon syrup. As the cakes are baking, place 50 g of sugar and 4 Tbs of lemon juice into a bowl and microwave on medium, stirring the syrup at intervals, until all the sugar has dissolved.

  12. Once the cakes are done, remove the cakes from the oven and invert them onto a wire rack to cool. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the hot lemon syrup over the cakes, letting the syrup soak into the cakes. Some syrup might drip off, but don't rush the process so that as much syrup can be absorbed by the cake as possible. Then, let the cakes cool completely.

  13. Make the lemon glaze by sifting the icing sugar into a medium bowl and stirring in the lemon juice until it forms a thick pour-able glaze. If you want a thicker glaze, add more sifted icing sugar. If you want a thinner glaze, add more lemon juice.

  14. When the cakes have cooled completely and are ready to be served, pour the lemon glaze onto the cakes. Slice and enjoy!


Note: These cakes can be frozen sans glaze (but make sure you brush the cakes with lemon syrup before freezing them). Once the cakes have cooled completely, double wrap them in cling wrap and place them in a freezer-safe Ziploc bag. Freeze the cakes for up to three months. To thaw, simply place the cakes, still wrapped up in cling wrap, on the counter-top until thawed through.


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