The Particular Sadness of Low-Fat Lemon Cake

So awhile ago I read a book called, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. In the book the main character discovers she can taste feelings in the food she eats, one example being a lemon cake her mother made. I was not really sad while making this cake, but it turned out kind of sad.

I’ve always liked lemon cake or other lemony baked goods. Every year my dad requested a lemon cake with lemon frosting for his birthday, so I’ve tasted plenty of different lemon cake, from the boxed variety to the made from scratch kind. I don’t want to give this cake a bad reputation, it really isn’t terrible. This cake comes out more like a pound cake, and my really my only complaint is it is kind of dry.

2012-12-05 19.36.36My favorite part of making this cake is zesting the lemons. Aside from enjoying the word “zest,” zesting made my kitchen smell all lemony and fantastic.

The recipe called for a cup of yogurt, and said you could use plain yogurt or greek yogurt. I opted to go with greek yogurt – which could be a contributor to the drier cake. Maybe switching to regular yogurt, and maybe using a little more than a cup would help. Maybe.

The recipe also suggests using 1/3 cup vegetable oil instead of 1/2 cup. I eyeballed the amount of vegetable oil as I was using a single cup measuring cup… Maybe that lazy short-cut was another mistake, but I’m pretty sure I used about 1/3 cup.

2012-12-05 19.41.48The glaze has a pretty intense lemon flavor as it all lemon juice and powdered sugar. So I would say you definitely have to like lemon to enjoy this cake. I also had never lined a cake pan with parchment paper, and I freakin’ loved peeling the paper off and having my cake come out of the pan perfectly!

I think this cake would go nicely with tea or coffee, and it really isn’t a bad recipe, but I wouldn’t use it for a special occasion. Special occasions call for full-fat cakes, so if you return to my little blog sometime in January I will make a real lemon cake.

Here is the recipe for Low-Far Lemon Yogurt Cake (found on the craving chronicles)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (Greek yogurt also works)
1 cup sugar
1 whole large egg, 3 large egg whites
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.

Measure the flour (scoop and level), baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and whisk until combined. In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and slowly whisk together. Fold the vegetable oil into the batter until it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. If the glaze is still too thick, continue adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until it’s runny enough to pour. Carefully place on the cake a baking rack over a sheet pan or a sheet of parchment paper. While the cake is still warm (but not hot!), pour the glaze over, allowing it to drip down the sides.2012-12-05 20.58.37

Happy baking! Hopefully my next baking adventure won’t be so lame!



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