Thursday, April 4, 2013

Blueberry lemon yogurt cake

     My mom was in town this past week, and as usual, our quality time involved a lot of shopping, cooking and baking. She's the expert at cooking, and she lets me take the reins on baking. We had been searching for a delicious dessert recipe that wouldn't wreak havoc on my parent's blood sugar levels, and this fit the bill perfectly. It's not cloyingly sweet, but perks up your tastebuds with hints of lemon, and refreshing bites of blueberry. The blueberries add a tender moistness that you can just sink into. Superb! The substitution of sprouted whole wheat flour, along with greek yogurt, blueberries and lemon, (and dialing back the sugar a wee bit) make this a more healthful companion for a cup of tea or coffee.
      Chances are you have most of the ingredients at your disposal. As I've said before, I appreciate both simplicity of ingredients, and of effort ;). I sprinkled coconut flakes over the top before baking, since I had them on had, but you could use turbinado sugar, or experiment with anything you happen to have on hand.

Slightly adapted from

1 cup sprouted whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour, or whatever you have)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar*
Zest of one lemon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup grapeseed oil, or neutral oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract optional
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (whole or 2%)
1/4 cup liquid (milk, water, almond milk being good options)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (no need to thaw)
optional- coconut flakes for a pre-baking garnish
Coconut Whipped Cream
1 can of coconut milk, chilled in the fridge for a few hours, or preferably overnight
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

* Full disclosure: my mom asked me to make a version of this using Swerve, which is an all-natural sweetner made with a sugar alcohol, erythritol. I did, and it was fantastic. I am very skeptical about non-sugar sweeteners, but from my research this is a naturally produced sugar alcohol, which is the better choice in terms of non-sugar sweetners. There is a slight difference of taste, but is subtle enough that the fresh blueberries and lemon zest take over and shine, rather than an astringent "fake sugar" taste (which this brand doesn't have).  
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in the middle. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Can I just say how wonderful parchment paper is? It's your best friend- always looking out for you and your cake's best interests. Cakes separate from the pan so easily when parchment is involved. Flour the sides.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. If you don't want to sift you could whisk it all together, that's also fine.
Place the granulated sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar (This is fun. The sugar will become fragrantly aromatic, and will take on a light, lemony hue). Add the oil and mix for a minute or two. Beat in the vanilla and the egg, mix until the egg is fully incorporated. Mix in the yogurt. Beat in half of the flour at the lowest setting, and then mix in the liquid.
At low speed, beat in half the flour mixture until just combined. Then mix in the milk, and then the final flour mixture. Mix just until combined, don't overmix!

Pour this beautiful mess into your baking pan, and dust gently with coconut flakes if you have. Liberally pour those frozen berries on top of the batter, and start getting excited.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until cake is golden-brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Since ovens vary so much and we are baking at a higher temperature than usual, you may want to peek in your oven even at 20 minutes.

Let rest for 10 minutes, then slide a butter knife around the edges and release from pan. Peel off the parchment paper, and put on cooling rack to come to room temperature. This cake is DELICIOUS slightly warm : ), and served un garnished, or with a simple whipped cream or coconut cream. I've seen people use glazes, fruit creams, whipped this and that, so I'll leave it up to you- but my mom and I enjoyed our slices plain, with a cup of tea. Couldn't have been more perfect.


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