When I have the time I’ve slowly been going through my favorite baking recipes on this site and tweaking them a bit to make them gluten-free. We had a few friends over for coffee this weekend so I took the opportunity to update a classic I make frequently: the simple yet always appreciated lemon yogurt cake.
One aspect of life in Saudi Arabia that can be taken in both a positive or negative light is the presence of produce and other items that have been flown in from the States. On the one hand it’s lovely to have fresh blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries no matter the season. On the other it’s jarring to see plastic-wrapped broccoli with a ‘Grown in USA’ label. There are certainly some available locally-grown vegetables but it seems like an awful lot comes in from America, Australia, or nearby countries. We found Moroccan clementines at Carrefour that were nearly as good as they were in-country and some more tropical fruit from across the Indian Ocean — close, sort of. I am wistful for those San Francisco farmers’ market days.
Still, when there are piles of blueberry packages at the grocery store I find it hard to resist their allure. When I baked my latest iteration of this lemony cake, making it gluten-free this time with the combination of oat and sweet white rice flours that has quickly become my standard substitution in basic cakes, I folded in a cup or so of berries both for color as well as flavor.
If you’re dairy-free, try making this with coconut yogurt; the flavor profile will change slightly but that probably won’t be a bad thing. If you keep egg-free, try my version with flax seeds in place of eggs. If you’re hankering for a vegan cake I might try that latter recipe with coconut yogurt or a non-dairy milk ‘buttermilked’ (with a 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar added). I’m planning to further experiment with this cake at some point and incorporate honey in place of the sugar for its flavor and also so that I can reduce the amount of sweetener needed.
Omit the blueberries if you like a simpler, plainer cake, but I like them very much here. You could experiment with raspberries as well.
Makes one loaf cake.
1/2 cup plain full-fat yogurt
3/4 cup raw sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup (gluten-free) oat flour
1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
For the glaze:
Juice from 2 lemons
1/3 cup powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and oil a standard-sized loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring and whisking until well blended. Add the flours, salt, baking powder, lemon zest, and vanilla, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir well to incorporate, and keep stirring until a smooth batter forms. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour and scrape the batter into prepared pan.
Place in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.
Remove from oven and cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes, then turn it out of the pan to cool completely. Be gentle – the blueberries can make it a little stickier.
When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake.