Hye Thyme Cafe: Olive Oil Citrus Cake with Toasted Coconut

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Olive Oil Citrus Cake with Toasted Coconut

I know that cake mixes usually call for oil, but for some reason, when scrolling through recipes, Olive Oil Cake always gets a double-take from me. I was going to make Cilantro Chutney the other day because I noticed that we had doubled up on cilantro, but when I realized one batch was already breaking down, I switched gears and decided to try this instead. One reason was that I had already picked up a lime to use in the chutney. 

The recipe that most recently caught my attention was Dorie Greenspan's EVO and Yogurt Loaf Cake, so I decided to try that one. Her recipe called for the zest of one lime. I used lemon and lime zest and added toasted coconut. I was surprised that she only used 1/4 t of vanilla and just couldn't bring myself to do that, so I upped it to 1t.  :) 

As far as the process goes, her recipe calls for whisking the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla into the sugar/zest mixture, then whisking in the dry ingredients and folding in the oil. She also specifies that you should use the loaf pan on a lined sheet pan, but offered no explanation. I conceded to placing the loaf pan on a sheet tray, but I did not line it. I really have no idea what she meant since she didn't even say what to line it with - would that mean a silpat?? Was I supposed to know that??

Why did I explain all of that? Because that's not what I did. It wasn't an intentional decision. I just happened to have seen the recipe when I was on my laptop, so I didn't have it hooked up to a printer and scribbled some notes for myself that didn't translate in that order.

1 1/2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt  (hers called for a pinch)
1 c sugar
zest of 1 lime
zest of 1 lemon  (I added this)
1/2 c yogurt
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla (hers called for 1/4 t)
1/2 c EVOO

Because I've been getting a kick out of toasting things in the microwave lately [I know, I'm easily amused - what can I say?], I decided to try it with the coconut. I sprinkled some on a paper plate and set it for 2", stopping twice to stir. Worked out great, and no pan to wash.  :)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

Zest your citrus and rub it into the sugar to activate the oils in the zest and infuse the flavor into the sugar. Man, it smelled so good I wanted to ditch the cake, add some oil, and use it as a facial!!

This is where I inadvertently deviated from the original. I had written down to whisk the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla, then whisk in the dry. That didn't account for the oil, or whether I was supposed to alternate adding the sugar mixture and the flour mixture or combine them first. I whisked the oil in with the yogurt mixture, then whisked the sugar (and coconut) in with the flour, and mixed all of the dry ingredients into the wet.

According to the original, I should have whisked the yogurt mixture into the sugar, then whisked in the flour mixture, then folded in the oil. Oops!

Rather than a "generously buttered"  8.5 x 4.5 loaf pan, I opted to use PAM Baking to spray the pan. Bake at 350 for 50-55" until tester comes out clean - cake should be golden and just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool on a rack, in the pan, for 5" before inverting onto the rack to cool completely.


^ I sooooo wanted to curl up in that little patch of sunlight!!  Brrrrrr!

So what did I think? I think I actually like my Lemon-Thyme Cake better. The texture of the cake was nice, but if I make it again, I will DEFINITELY increase the citrus. It was very subtle, and I had already doubled it! I would also increase the coconut to a cup or even a little more. The one thing that bothered me was the outside of the cake. See how it's shiny like a bread crust? That shot is of the top of the cake. The bottom was like when you slice into a loaf of bread and have to really saw to get through the bottom crust. Maybe that explains the whole bake it over a lined tray thing - maybe it should have been over a silpat and that would have prevented the tough bottom. Maybe not? Maybe it was because I whisked the oil in with the yogurt mixture rather than folding it in at the end? I have no idea. I probably will try it again at some point. I'll do it in the right order and see if it makes any difference. If you get to it before me, let me know, huh?  ;)

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