About four years ago, I had my food blog awakening. I wish I could remember how I first came across food blogs, but all I recall is a bleary-eyed period marked by hours of searching and clicking and bookmarking. I was drawn in by voices coming out of kitchens in NYC, Paris, and Seattle, among other places. These bloggers were humble and they seemed to intuit novice cooks’ insecurities, yet all of their recipes looked. So. Good.
That’s also when I started cooking somewhat regularly. I was in the middle of my twenties, had just adopted my sweet pup, Tenley, had a 9-to-5-ish job, a properly upholstered couch, and was starting to feel like an adult. Prior to this time, although I loved food, my appearances in the kitchen were sporadic: a random batch of cookies here, some chili there, and a whole lot of microwavable Amy’s. Now that I had a regular schedule and evenings in with Tenley, I started spending quality time in my kitchen…and hours down the food blog rabbit hole.
I had enough cooking experience to know that I loved baking, but I also knew that there were a lot of sweets out of my league. Luckily for me, the bloggers I admired (and still admire) had plenty of simple treats tucked into their recipe archives. I trusted myself with loaf cakes and their brethren: tea bread, busy day cakes, and quick breads. These little cakes are usually fairly basic in their ingredients and technique, so they didn’t intimidate me. I still love cakes in loaf form. I regularly star them on my reader, pin them, and dog-ear them in magazines. For not a lot of effort, you get something homey that’s perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert. The french yogurt cake here is just the sort of thing I would have tried in 2008 and it was the first thing I bookmarked in last May’s Bon Appétit.
The magazine described this as a “tender, lemony riff on a simple pound cake.” That’s about right. It’s moist with a subtle lemon tang, but the pound cake in its DNA makes the texture less delicate than its flavor. That can be a good thing if you need a vehicle for blueberry sauce, as this cake will hold up under a heavy pour. I found that on its own, the cake had a bit more chew than I wanted. Some of the comments on the Bon website criticize the cake for being too salty, but I liked how the salt made its presence known every so often. This cake won’t knock your socks off, but it is satisfying, both for cake cravings and baking urges. I don’t know that I will make this again anytime soon, not because it wasn’t tasty, but because there are so many other sweet little loaves out there to try.
You can find the recipe for this french yogurt cake here. It’s best on its first day, when the top is sweet and crunchy, but it’s also dandy on days two, three, and four, when the top softens and the cake seems more moist.