Ever since I read the book and subsequently saw the movie, Julie & Julia and last year saw the movie, Midnight in Paris, I've yearned to visit Paris. Moreover, several years ago, one of my best friends attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school and I envied his experience, not only for getting to learn cooking at the school, but just being in "the City of Lights." So, when I came across this recipe in my recent Bon Appetit magazine, how could I not try it!
This recipe also honors my mother, who taught me everything I know about baking with love. You will notice, once you scroll down to the directions, that this cake is made by hand--no electrical appliances whatsoever! I remember the time I telephoned her that I had purchased my first food processor and exclaimed how easy it was going to be to now make bread. Her reply to me, "that's not how you make bread!" However, once she saw (and tasted) the quality of bread I could turn out in less time, it wasn't very long after that she bought one for herself:-D
Andrew Knowlton is the author and baker of this French Yogurt Cake in the magazine. I like that he says, "It's often the first dessert French children learn to prepare." Flashbacks to baking at mother's side comes flooding back where I learned to crack eggs, measure accurately, and fold ingredients. As difficult as this weekend will be, I am able to smile with memories.
Another thing that makes me smile is my latest TP creation from "Toilet Paper Origami." The design is entitled "Heart in a Sleeve." I chose this design because it was something my mother always said about me--I show my emotions openly. I know she meant it as a compliment and thought you'd enjoy a Friday smile.
French Yogurt Cake
1 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 Kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 T lemon zest
3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (I used 1 tsp.)
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Coat a standard 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray and dust with flour. I used Bak-klene ZT from Williams-Sonoma.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the first three ingredients.
Measure the sugar and zest in a larger bowl and use your fingers to rub together until moist. It should feel like "wet sand."
Add the yogurt, eggs, oil and vanilla to the sugar mixture and whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients just until it's all incorporated. Pour batter into the prepared pan, smooth top.
Homemade Vanilla Extract
5 to 8 vanilla beans (per 1 cup vodka)
Split the vanilla beans in half, lengthwise, from the stem end down.
Don't scrape the seeds out, they will float out on their own as the mixture "ages." I sterilized a bottle with a tight-fitting lid and added 12 vanilla beans to it. Then, I poured the vodka up to 1-inch from the top (to allow for the stopper to fit without hitting the liquid!)
Vanilla Bean Crush.