Pear and cinnamon yoghurt cake
I just finished reading Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard. I think it’s pretty obvious from this website that I love food. My other love that has been a part of my life for as long as I remember is books. That’s why I get so excited when I find great novels with a food theme, as I can satisfy two loves in one go. The first culinary-themed novel that I was truly captivated with was The Food of Love by Anthony Capella. Which he followed with The Wedding Officer, which still stands as my favourite culinary novel of all time, and made me vow to run out and taste buffalo mozzarella for myself. Lunch in Paris was a feel-good memoir of a young American getting used to living in Paris, with her French food journey as the thread guiding the reader from start to end. What’s really exciting is the recipes she includes of the dishes she describes in her book!
One of the recipes was this yoghurt cake, which really caught my attention. I have my fair share of decadent chocolatey indulgences, believe me, but I also often crave a plain cake to have with a cup of strong tea in the afternoon. Yoghurt cake is perfect because the yoghurt gives the cake a texture that is just the right density- light but still substantial such that you can still take a satisfying bite out of a slice.
The recipe in the book comes from Chocolate & Zucchini, another food blog I’ve been reading since ages ago! The basic yoghurt cake recipe can be found here. Elizabeth makes it with apricots in the book, but I had some fresh red Anjou pears from the market. Together with cinnamon, I envisioned a lightly spiced pear cake, perfect for winter! And, this is another one of those basic recipes that you can tweak according to what you feel like, or what ingredients you have.
So, as you can see, I skinned and cored the pears and arranged them atop the batter. To add a little extra sweetness and colour, I just sprinkled some brown sugar over the tops of the pears.
I was really surprised at how high the cake rose! And look at the lovely golden brown colour! While the cake was baking, it filled the house with the sweet aroma of pears, with just a hint of spicy cinnamon. I couldn’t wait for it to be done, I tell you! Since I had also changed the recipe according to my fancy, I wasn’t totally sure how it would turn out. Thankfully, it was a very good experiment. The other major plus for this yoghurt cake is how easy and quick it is to make. No fancy utensils required either. All you need is a big bowl, a whisk and a measuring cup. It was in the oven in 15 minutes, even for someone like me who is very pedantic, and can take ages putting a cake together. So, if you are like me and really savour a nice strong cup of tea in the afternoons, this cake is the perfect accompaniment and can be baked just in time for a lovely little pick me up.
Pear and cinnamon yoghurt cake
adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini
1 cup whole milk plain unsweetened yoghurt (I used Greek yoghurt)
1 cup caster sugar
1/3 cup vegetable or any mild-flavoured oil
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp light rum
Preheat the oven to 180° C (350° F). Line the bottom of a round 25-cm (10-inch) cake pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.
In a large mixing-bowl, gently combine the yoghurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, and rum. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda.
Peel the skin off the pears, core them and cut them into quarters. (It is important to only peel the pears just before you bring the batter together so they don’t brown.)
Add the flour mixture into the yoghurt mixture, and blend together — don’t overwork the dough. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and top with pear quarters. Sprinkle over with brown sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Let stand for ten minutes, and transfer onto a rack to cool.