There are a few things I’m not a fan of. A pet peeve, for instance.
1) Hair that is not attached to the body. Like on the walls of the shower. Or in your salad. Those encounters can be ROUGH.
2) People giving gifts out of a sense of obligation. We all do it, probably almost every month. Christmas and birthdays, weddings and showers. At the very least, if you have to give someone something, make it personal. make it memorable. make it consumable! Don’t go for that wooden decoration that spells out LOVE or HAPPINESS. Unless whoever you are giving it to really, really likes those sort of decorations. But come on. The word LOVE in sea foam green above your TV? Or a bottle of nice wine? Make the right choice.
3) 8 bedroom houses. Unless you’re housing all the orphans in the area and their pets, you don’t need it. Do you? I don’t know, maybe you really do. But what do I know. Less and less each day, is the answer.
4) Realizing you have run out of cheese and crackers. Oy vey.
5) Procrastinating on cake flavor/theme decisions.
Long story short, number 5 was my weekend, and I felt very much in a bind to think of something good and fast. A friend of mine is having a second baby (YAY!), and I was asked to make the cake for her shower. I pulled a super lazy card and asked what some of her favorite flavors were- and baddaboom! We have a winner.
This is a recipe from one of my favorite Food Network hosts, Ina Garten. She’s so precious, I want to make roasted chicken and berry pavlovas with her in her Connecticut home. I want it so bad!
I guess making her lemon yogurt cake will have to suffice for now.
This cake starts with lemon and yogurt, and is traditionally made in a loaf pan, but I decided to double the recipe and used 9 inch cake pans in order to feed the baby shower masses.
Dry ingredients are whisked together and set aside. In a separate bowl we are combining greek yogurt, sugar, LOTS of lemon zest, vanilla, and eggs. Mix it up!
This recipe don’t need no mixer, just muscle power. Big time bonus.
Instead of butter, Ina calls for vegetable oil. I decided to use coconut oil, which was a huge success! You can’t taste the coconut once the cake is baked, and it is definitely a healthier alternative.
Batter is poured into prepared pans and baked until set but still moist. This calls for a watchful eye.
While the cakes are still warm, we get down to business.
A simple lemon syrup is made while the cakes are baking, and then poured over top the still warm layers. I perforated my cakes with a toothpick, to ensure a generous soaking happened. Lemon city!
Cakes are soaked then stacked then cooled (stacking not necessary).
To finish this recipe off, Ina calls for a simple lemon glaze. The glaze is great and you should do it if your heart guides you in that direction- but since the mommy-to-be mentioned that she likes frosting, I finished this bad boy off with some fluffy brown sugar cream cheese frosting. This cake is a kick in the mouth (in a good way).
That is clouds of cream cheese heaven in between more clouds of lemon heaven. Heaven’s gates are wide open.
Frosting a cake is so fulfilling to me. If I knew what finishing a marathon felt like, frosting a cake MIGHT be the culinary equivalent of it. I feel like I’m going to make a lot of marathoners/half-marathoners angry with that statement. 13.1, yall.
Since my cake decorating skills are non-existent, I went with some petite fake flowers from the craft store to garnish the blank slate of a cake.
Blue and yellow means baby boy, duh.
When it’s all said and done, you’re bound to have a crowd pleaser with this cake. It is light and moist, with plentiful lemon flavor for the citrus lovers. The frosting is also light unlike other heavy, cream cheese frostings, and it pairs exceptionally well. Of course, you could always make this in a loaf pan, drizzle it with some lemon glaze and call it a day. That would still be a totally awesome day.
On an unrelated note, I am glad you are here and I am glad you are reading. Your silent eyes mean a good deal to me. Now go eat a donut.
LEMON YOGURT CAKE
recipe from Barefoot Contessa at Home
(half this recipe for 1 loaf pan of cake)
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups plain greek yogurt
2 and 2/3 cups sugar, divided
6 large eggs
4 teaspoons grated lemon zest (4 lemons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coconut (or vegetable) oil
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
BROWN SUGAR CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
12 ounces softened cream cheese, room temperature
4 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 cups powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 9 inch cake pans, line bottom of each with wax paper, then grease and dust with flour.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 2 cups sugar, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a spatula, gently fold in the coconut oil until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out with a few remaining crumbs.
Meanwhile, cook the 2/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a small pan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
Let cakes rest in their pans for 10 minutes. Carefully place cakes on a baking rack over a a sheet pan. While the cakes are still warm, punch holes in each of them with a toothpick. Carefully pour lemon-sugar mixture over each cake, dividing evenly (about 1/3 cup syrup each). Cool.
While the cakes are cooling, MAKE THE FROSTING:
Make sure your cream cheese and butter are softened to room temperature. This is key.
In a stand up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add butter and mix. Add brown sugar and vanilla, mixing until combined.
Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, until desired consistency is reached. I added around 4 cups total, but if you want your frosting to be thicker, just keep adding. If you find that you’ve added too much, a tablespoon or two of milk will solve this problem. Stack cakes, frosting in between each layer. Decorate with whatever your silly little heart desires, and va-voom! Cake town.
Go celebrate a baby in someone’s belly!