A perfect snacking cake with a hint of lemon
If you’re looking for a basic, delightful, slightly tangy snacking cake, this is it. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, and nothing else required. Although fancier cakes are often welcome, sometimes you want a cake that can easily pass for breakfast and we think that this one does.
nerve-wracking exciting to allow a bundt cake to cool and to then flip the pan over and see a thing of beauty emerge. That is, if the cake comes out in one piece. No matter how delicious your cake has the potential to be, if you don’t grease your pan thoroughly and carefully, you could wind up with a bit of a disaster. Don’t believe us? You should, we speak from experience.
The year was 1994. It was winter, and like most Montreal winter days back then, there was plenty of snow, and the air was crisp and frigid. It was Saturday evening and a single Billie was getting ready to go out with friends for a night that would start on Crescent Street and likely end up on St. Laurent. Unknown to Billie, a married Helen had decided that for her, that Saturday evening would be one of domesticity. Having recently delivered her own little bun, a gorgeous, joyful little girl, Helen now had a bundt cake in the oven.
At approximately 9:30 pm, Billie’s doorbell rang. Odd. She was meeting her friends downtown and was not expecting company. She opened the door curiously, and came face to face with her dear, terror-stricken brother-in-law, holding her adorably oblivious niece. The conversation went something like this:
Billie: What are you doing here? I’m going out.
Brother-in-law: Can we come in?
Billie: I’m going out…and where’s Helen?
Brother-in-law: She baked a cake.
Billie: Oh….(suddenly having visions of previous baking fails at the hands of her dear sister) ….Oh….
Brother-in-law: So, can we come in?
Billie: But what actually happened?
Brother-in-law: I’m not sure. She baked a cake. Then I heard a lot of banging. And I’m not sure, but I think she threw the pan across the kitchen. She didn’t hit anyone, so that was good.
Billie: Ah. Did she use a bundt pan?
Brother-in-law: A what?
Billie: You know, a bundt pan. The circular pan with a hole in the middle.
Brother-in-law: I think so. I saw it in the garbage can, along with the cake.
Billie: Umm… yeah. So, why are you here exactly?
Brother-in-law: I figured she needed some alone time. And, I also may have asked her what she did wrong.
The moral of this story? Don’t be like Helen in the 90’s (And most definitely, don’t be like her husband). There is a reliable way to remove a cake from a bundt pan in one piece, and Helen now knows that you need to do the following:
- Grease your pan carefully and thoroughly. We know that many recipes recommend butter, or oil and a light dusting of flour. We tend to use cooking spray, or vegetable oil applied with a paper towel all over the surface, and never dust with flour. For us, this works beautifully all the time.
- Allow your cake to cool, but not too much. Usually, a 10 minute cooling period is just right.
- We like to place a cooling rack over the top of the cake pan and then flip over. We then shake the pan gently back and forth to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan, and then slowly lift the pan off of the cake.
Can I use olive oil instead of vegetable oil in this recipe?
You sure can! The ratio for substituting the vegetable oil with olive oil is 1:1, meaning that you would use the same amount of olive oil as the vegetable oil required. We love baking with olive oil, and in fact, most of our cake recipes use olive oil; it gives a distinct and delicious flavour, and sometimes color to your cakes or muffins. In this Greek yogourt cake with lemon however, we opt for the lighter, less pronounced flavour of the vegetable oil. If you’re looking for a citrus flavoured cake which uses olive oil, we’ve got this one for you: Olive oil cake with lemon.
I’ve never heard of vanilla powder! Can I use vanilla extract instead?
In our home growing up, the vanilla of choice was always powdered. It was actually years later that we realized that vanilla came in liquid form. We still use vanilla powder in our baking, primarily for nostalgia’s sake, but there are other benefits too. Because of its dry form, you can use powdered vanilla to flavour icing sugar if you want to use that to dust your cake, or doughnuts. You can also use it in dry mixes for muffins or cakes. And, because there is no liquid in it, powdered vanilla can be used to flavour chocolate you are tempering. If you don’t have vanilla powder, or prefer to use the extract, use double the amount of extract than we call for in the powder format.
What if I don’t have a bundt pan? Can I use a different type of baking pan?
Yes! We love using bundt pans because they are so pretty, but we recognize that not everyone has a bundt pan, and not everyone likes using them. There is always a bit of trepidation as you flip the pan over, hoping that your cake comes out unscathed. You can usually always swap out the cake pan suggested in a recipe, so long as you know the volume of the original pan recommended, and what an equivalent would be. The Joy of Baking website has a great, detailed, table of baking pan comparison. You can consult it here.
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Greek yoghurt cake with lemon
- Bundt cake pan
- 3 cups (450 grams) all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups ( 375 mL) Greek yoghurt, plain (we use 2%)
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) fresh lemon juice or 80 ml
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest, packed
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) sugar
- 3/4 cup ( 180 mL) vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
- icing sugar to be used for dusting cake optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease your 10-12 inch bundt pan with vegetable oil.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set it aside.
- In another medium size bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, lemon juice and lemon zest.
- In your electric stand mixer (you can also use a hand held mixer) beat the eggs with the sugar for 2-3 minutes. Slowly add in the oil, followed by the vanilla (extract or powder).
- With your mixer speed on low, carefully add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl containing the eggs and then add the yoghurt mixture. Be careful not to over mix.
- Pour the batter into your prepared bundt pan, and bake in the middle rack of your oven for 60-65 minutes. Test with a toothpick; if it comes out clean then your cake is ready. If you notice your cake is browning too much on top while baking, cover it loosely with a piece of aluminum foil. Remember, this is a dense but moist cake and will take a full hour to bake.
- Remove your cake from the oven and let it cool for approximately 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.
- Let cool on a wire rack. Once your cake is completely cooled, dust it with icing sugar. Enjoy!