Friday, May 20, 2011

Evolution of a recipe...

I think I mentioned that I enjoy the Cake Duchess .  She has some yummy recipes, mostly sweet well, she is the "Cake Duchess"... she also has some great savory recipes as well...but I digress.

This post is about the "Evolution of a recipe".  I thought that was an appropriate title.  You see, the original recipe is HERE .  I loved the original recipe - it seemed so romantic. I picture an old French woman with a small, glass yogurt bottle measuring ingredients in an immaculate sunlight -diffused country kitchen.  Fresh ingredients adorn a simple wooden table upon which stands a heavy ceramic mixing bowl.  She mixes the batter by hand with a wooden spoon, carefully pours it into a prepared pan, and puts it in the oven.  Then she waits.  The lemony aroma of the cake fills the air while she sits with her cup of tea, absentmindedly petting the grey and white housecat who decided her legs were an enticing maze.  Yes, I'm a romantic - so what are you going to do about it? :-P  The evolution of the recipe started HERE with the Cake Duchess.  She used olive oil instead of canola, and she put a light syrup glaze over the cake before the main icing.  I made this cake using the original recipe, then I  juiced a lemon with my hand juicer (you get SO much more juice that way), added some confectioner's sugar until it was kind of syrupy, then spread it over the cake.  I had enough left over, that I just added more confectioner's sugar for the icing.  Again, another evolution although I must confess, that one was a bit of laziness on my part :)

Now, here's where it really goes out into left field.  I had this epiphany the other night.  I had a boatload of apples from my local CSA (yes I got extra - we love apples, what can I say?) and I really didn't feel like making another apple pie.  Why not...make an apple cake with the yogurt cake base??  ohhh...and wait...why not put a crumb topping on it?  hold on, I'm not done yet..ohhh....and make it without any oil???

See how easy this is?  Do you see where this is going? :)

So...first thing I did was omit the lemon.  I then cut the sugar by half because I planned on subbing out the oil for applesauce. I also cut half the sugar because I was putting a crumb topping on it.  I threw in some cinnamon, and of course, apples :).  I liked the result, and so did my willing cake testers at Breezy Willow Farm.  The cake is dense and moist - this is from the applesauce.  If you want a lighter cake, use half applesauce, half olive or canola oil, or, and even lighter cake use all oil.  Any way the end result is tasty!

This is an easy recipe - you don't need a mixer, a whisk will do fine.  Printable recipe is HERE

Apple Yogurt Cake- serves 6-8

1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup applesauce
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
1 large apple, peeled and thinly sliced

3 tbs. brown sugar
3 tbs. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup oats
3 tbs. flour
3 tbs. butter, diced fine (cold)

Process all topping ingredients until fine crumbs.  Add 1/4 cup of pecans (optional).  If you don't have a processor (like me) just use your fingers or a fork to blend.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter an 8 inch round cake pan, and line with parchment paper.

*side note*  Did you ever see such a huge egg in your life? poor hen!  I only used 2 eggs instead of 3, because that one egg was HUGE.  Good thing I did, cos' look what I found when I broke them open...
 Double yolks in both!  Look how yellow they are! Ya see? this is what you get when you get farm fresh eggs from happy hens! :)  Now...back to your recipe!
Apples, batter, crumb topping.
Mix together the eggs, sugar, yogurt, and applesauce until well blended with a whisk.

Add the dry ingredients and stir until just blended.  

Pour into the prepared cake pan.  Top the batter with the thinly sliced apples, then with the crumb topping. Sorry there is no picture of the unbaked crumb topping - my camera's batteries died, and of course there was not an AA battery to be had in the house! >.<

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until top springs back lightly when touched, or toothpick inserted in center comes clean.  Cool for about 15 minutes on a rack, then turn out onto a plate.  Enjoy!

How much fun was that? :-)  Take the original recipes, see what other variations you could come up with.  I'm thinking a handful of fresh blueberries would taste yummy in that lemon could throw a bit of nutmeg in the apple cake, or use the oil instead of applesauce.  Sub out maple syrup for the sugar in the apple cake... I'm sure I'll think of some more evolutions from the original (oohhh...raspberries and lemon! yum!!) but for now, try this one.  It's quick, easy, tasty, and you can even sort of justify it because there is only 3 TBS of fat in the whole dang cake, unless you add pecans to the topping :)


  1. Omggg i want to make it!!!!

    Did you use plain yogurt?

  2. vanilla in the lemon cake, and maple in this one - but the maple was the one from the farm - no added sugar - just maple syrup, so it really is not sweet at all.

  3. Hi, I'm Kat -- we met at the CSA yesterday. I can't wait to try the cake recipe this weekend! Unfortunately I've already turned all my apples into applesauce, but since the original recipe didn't have any fruit in it, I'm sure it'll still turn out okay without the apple slices. (It's a step backward in evolution.)

    I'll let you know how it goes. :)

  4. Hey Kat! Yes, I remember :) My cake was very dense...not quite sure if it was because of all applesauce, or that I had 4 egg yolks! I'm going to experiment and see if I can get it a bit lighter.

    Let me know if you try the lemon with the applesauce, or do the crumb topping with the applesauce! The cake is not that sweet - it relies on the applesauce, apples and crumb topping. If you like sweeter things, then increase the sugar back up to 1 cup. Enjoy! :)

  5. Love your picturing the French woman measuring the ingredients with an old glass yogurt jar. I picture it like that too:)This looks fantastic! I think I'll try the blueberry idea next time!!:)Happy Weekend:)