When the cast of ‘Oliver’ exalted their love of food, glorious food and longed with waifish eyes for indigestion, I think the foodie inside us all agreed with them. Not about needing the Pepto Bismol perhaps but about the sentiments that food can trigger; the boys’ hot sausage and mustard might take you to a warm and cosy autumnal fireplace supper as the rain lashes down outside while cold jelly and custard may transport you back to your youth and Sunday lunch at your nan’s house.
And cake? Well it may not have been sung about by roguish scamps armed with a cheeky Cockney twang and a light fingered touch, but cake is responsible for triggering a multitude of sentiments. Often presented to mark a celebration or special occasion, cake is definite treat food. Think about it – most other foods have some health benefits. I mean you can even tout anti-oxidants as the reason behind your clinging onto a glass of Pinot Noir and a bar of 70% Green & Blacks if you feel the need but cake? Hard to justify the physical well-being that comes from a marriage of butter, sugar, eggs and flour.
Good thing then that we really don’t care! That’s right, we don’t even try to justify it because – just to clarify – we don’t care! Cake is good for the soul. It’s good for the spirit. It makes you happy be it dark, rich and fudgy chocolate layers, tangy, bright and crunchy-topped lemon muffins or a glossily iced and whiskey-scented fruit loaf and here’s a new one for the repertoire – a damply more-ish lemon blueberry yoghurt cake.
I promise I’m not going against everything I’ve just said and deliberately trying to be healthy here by hiding fruit in the batter – I’m just branching out with my baking tins, spatulas and whisk.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of lemon as a dessert flavour. Odd perhaps but I prefer the sharp, citrus tang of lemon in my savoury dishes and the addictive sweetness of chocolate in my sweet. However, I realise that a) not everyone feels that way and b) even the most gorgeous things can become boring if they never change which is why I wanted to try something new for my ever-willing-to-sample-new-cake-at-work colleagues and which is how I came upon this recipe on http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2012/05/lemon-blackberry-yogurt-bundt-cake/
I substituted that perennial super food blueberries for the blackberries on this occasion and omitted the cream cheese frosting from the top to produce something that is about as good for you as you can get. Silicone has never been my friend in the way that metal cake pans are but the bundt cake is such a pretty shape that it seemed a shame not to use it here and with the worlds most careful greasing and flouring of the mould, it actually came out perfectly.
This was a cake unlike any I’d tried before. Yoghurt cake is supposed to be moist, damp even and that’s exactly what this one was. It didn’t have the typical soft crumb of a sponge based cake all the way through but a texture more like squidgy brownie in the centre of each piece.
The lemon flavour was as refreshing and light as you’d expect with an elegantly lingering zing behind it. The blueberries were fat, sweet and stained the cake with spots of glossy purple juice and a light dusting of icing sugar was all that was needed to embellish it, meaning the golden domed crust and glistening burst berries shone through in all their glory.
This was a cake that divided the team with everyone loving the fresh flavour but a few finding the unusual texture something that it would take time to get used to. You know what I like though? Trying something different and having something different to offer and I think this is a cake that’s perfectly suited to summertime and to packing full of the beautiful summer produce that is around now – fat, rose coloured strawberries with a hint of fresh green mint or plump, velvet skinned peaches with ribbons of white chocolate winding round their sunset coloured segments…brew a cup of white tea or pour a tall glass of fresh lemonade and enjoy…