Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

One of the things I love about working at the school I teach at, is the family atmosphere that is created by the staff members.  We look out for one another, and we show an honest warmth.  We also love a reason to celebrate – weddings, babies, retirements, and of course birthdays.  My particular teaching team takes turns bringing in cake for the birthday boy or girl, and we eat it together during our lunch break.  I jump at the chance to bake birthday cake – it is always better to share cake.

Today we celebrated a birthday with the following cake.  The recipe was originally a plain yogurt cake from a publication I picked up in a Minneapolis grocery store called Lund’s back in 2009.  I adapted it slightly with lemon, lemon glaze, and poppy seeds.  I also doubled the recipe below to make about 16 servings – just the right amount to feed my coworkers.

I liked this recipe – I had all the ingredients on hand.  The yogurt replaced milk and cooking oil replaced butter.  4 teaspoons of vanilla don’t hurt either!

I opted for Chobani plain yogurt for this recipe.  The yogurt makes this cake really dense and moist.  

I zested one entire lemon for this recipe.  
When I zest, I tend to go a little nuts. 
The batter is so thick, you must spread it out once you pour it into the pan.  
I mixed up powdered sugar and lemon juice – honestly I do not know the measurements since I just throw it in a bowl and add more sugar if it is runny or more liquid if it is too thick.  I drizzled it in an abstract-textile-road map sort of way. Leave it to the art teacher to frost a cake in an homage to Abstract Expressionism.  One of my favorites from this time period is Pollock’s Mural from 1943.  It is owned by the University of Iowa and I spent many an afternoon gazing at this large painting during my under grad years.  What is your favorite artwork?  

Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake – serves 8.  Adapted from Real Foods Magazine, 2009.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan and dust with flour, knocking out any extra.  Stir together 2 cups flour, 1-1/4 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk together 2 large eggs, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt, and 2 teaspoons vanilla in a bowl.  Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until moistened.  Add the zest from one lemon and fold into batter.

2. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top of the cake is light and golden and a knife or toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

3. Let the cake cool for about 5 minutes in the pan.  Then, place on a wire rack too cool completely.  Drizzle in glaze made from powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds, slice, and serve.

4. Wrap in plastic wrap or store in cake keeper for 2 days at room temperature.

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