Sunday morning, the first cup of tea, Darjeeling, and a slice of that cake I make most, needing not much of a recipe, making something a bit different every time.
At its bare bones it falls somewhere between a light as a cloud French yoghurt cake and a somewhat richer, moister Italian ciambellone con ricotta (e limone, because I almost always add lemon).
The ratios go something like this (by weight, because really, why should one bother oneself with cleaning out a multitude of silly cup/spoon measurements instead of just dumping things directly into a bowl on a scale?!):
1 part dairy,
1/3 to 2/3 as much fat,
1/2 to 1 parts eggs,
1/2 to 2/3 sugar,
1 part flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder for every 125 g of it.
Wet ingredients and any desired flavourings are beaten together (a one bowl & a wooden spoon kind of situation), the flour and baking powder are mixed in and it’s baked in a medium hot oven until a toothpick or uncooked spaghetto comes out clean, about 30 minutes for a shallow ring cake, more like 50 for a loaf.
Using yoghurt or buttermilk and keeping at the lower end of the other ingredients will produce a light and fluffy cake; ricotta, crème fraîche or even mascarpone and more fat make it moist and a bit more compact, dense if the amount of egg isn’t increased, as well. Any good quality vegetable oil is fine, but using at least some olive oil is my favourite, especially for heavily citrus flavoured cakes; melted (browned) butter whisks it away into a whole different, delicious direction.
I already mentioned the citrus olive oil version for which you rub a whole lot of lemon and/or orange zest into the sugar before adding anything else, plus some juice; any kind of dairy and amount of oil/eggs work well – using ricotta and the higher amounts will make (baked in a ring tin) a classic ciambellone and if you also mix in some cinnamon, chopped dark chocolate and pistachios the result will be very much like Deb Perelman’s incredible Cannoli Pound Cake.
Replacing some of the flour with fine cornmeal and using some honey in a buttermilk and brown butter version will be reminiscent of a sweet cornbread.
Fat streusel can be baked onto it for a crumb topping and any powdered sugar (+ cream / citrus juice – blood orange for a pink one! – / whatever) based glaze is delicious; as is pouring a little syrup over it while still hot.
For this weekend’s cake I used a little leftover mascarpone mixed with yoghurt, medium-low amounts of sunflower oil and eggs and added a little lemon zest, vanilla extract and a few handfuls of redcurrants from my mum’s garden which I had stashed away last summer and just found again in the back of the freezer.
Buttery streusel, maybe with a bit polenta or millet for crunch, would have been amazing, but this way it is still pretty perfect; and just right for Sunday breakfast.
#cake #lettherebecake #yoghurtcake #breakfast