Find Your Simplicity

I mean, we’ve all been there. Staring at the Facebook invite for that impromptu BBQ, party, or celebration that you completely forgot about… oh, and you volunteered to bring dessert. Super.If you’re anything like me, you probably had about 20 different elaborate dessert ideas planned that would impress:”Hmm, how about a 6 layer graham cracker cake with chocolate ganache and fresh strawberry buttercream! Nope, too many steps. Well, there’s that awesome brown butter dulce de leche sugar cookie recipe I pinned a few months ago…or wait! What about those from-scratch cinnamon sugar soft pretzels with honey butter!?”Of course, this was when you had a good week to prep everything, tweak it, and then present your show stopper. Somehow the week flew past you, and that party is tonight. (!!!)

Moments like this are a perfect excuse to start compiling your own personal arsenal of desserts that seem like you put a ton of effort into them, yet they were truly a breeze to whip together, they turn out perfectly, AND, to top it all off, they are adaptable to what you currently have in your fridge, or can find seasonally in a pinch. Great idea, right?  Simplicity for the win!

This recipe is everything that I described above. It’s a light and super moist yogurt-based cake, with a zing of some fresh lemon zest, some gorgeous wildflower honey undertones, and bursts of fresh strawberries that become roasted and even juicer after they emerge from the oven. I upped the “fancy” factor by adding some cornmeal, and brushing the whole thing with a tangy lemon glaze. Go ahead, impress your friends.

To demonstrate the versatility of this recipe, I chose to bake these little cakes in three different ways.The first, pictured on the left, was baked in a 3 1/2 inch brioche mold (you can find these for a very low cost online, or at your local baking or kitchen store, such as Sur La Table). Although you don’t get to show off your chosen fruit filling as much, and they are a bit harder to glaze, these little guys make the perfect snack. (I also have some mini 1 inch brioche molds, and the thought to make bite-sized cakes did cross my mind… how cute!). The second method (and my personal favorite), is to bake the batter inside a few mini tart pans (pictured to the right). I personally use the Wilton 4.65 inch tart pans, which have a removable bottom. This method allows you to arrange the fruit on top of the cake. You could even use a large tart pan, and make one large cake with a very decorative top!The third method is by far the simplest,and the easiest to execute, since most people have this pan at home! It is to bake the batter in a loaf pan, and serve the finished cake in thick slices (possibly toasted on the grill with some fresh whipped cream and more strawberries? Just throwing that out there…). I have a few mini loaf pans, and these little cakes make perfect summertime gifts for friends!But wait… there’s more!

Besides playing with the shapes and sizes of the cake, how about playing with the flavors? I tweaked my original yogurt cake recipe, adding the honey, cornmeal, and strawberries, yet there are so many other things that can be done!Here are some ideas to get you started :
Use a mix of seasonal berries, change the lemon in the recipe to orange, and top the whole thing with a delicious crumb topping
Use fresh blueberries, and swirl blueberry preserves into the batter
Forgo the fruit entirely and turn the cake into a Lemon Poppyseed Yogurt cake
Use orange, lemon, and grapefruit zests inside the cake, as well as in the glaze. Add vanilla bean and honey to the glaze
In the fall, mix 3/4 of a cup of pumpkin puree into half of the base batter and swirl them together in your chosen pan. Replace the strawberries with cranberries.

What other combinations can you come up with? I’d love to hear your ideas, and read about your successes with this delicious, versatile recipe!This recipe makes 1 regular sized loaf/5 mini loaves, 1 large tart/6 mini tarts, or 12 3inch brioche moldsIngredients:1 cup All Purpose flour1/2 cup Cake flour1/4 cup cornmeal (the coarseness is up to your preference)2 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp salt3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar, separated1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (I use Trader Joe’s Vanilla Bean)3 eggs1/2 cup vegetable oil1/4 cup Wildflower honey1 tsp vanilla extract OR 1 vanilla bean 2 lemons, zested and juiced (keep zest and juice separate)1 lb Strawberries, hulled and quartered*, or halved**Method:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour your chosen pans.2. Sift the All Purpose and Cake flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and set aside.3. If you are using a vanilla bean, cut it in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds free from each half of the pod using the back of a paring knife.4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, yogurt, eggs, vegetable oil, honey, vanilla extract or vanilla bean seeds, and lemon zest until smooth. 5. Combine the wet ingredients into the dry, using a spatula to stir until the mixture is homogenous, and has the consistency of pancake batter. You may use a stand mixer for this step if you wish.6. *If you are making the loaf or brioche mold version of this recipe, you will quarter your strawberries, and add them into the batter at this time. Fill your greased and floured pans 3/4 of the way with batter.7. **If you are making the tart version of this recipe, you will first fill your tart pan 3/4 of the way with batter. Then, carefully arrange the strawberries on top in a pattern of your choice (I placed 6 on top of each cake in the mini tart molds).8. Bake 15-30 minutes, depending on your pan, or until a knife inserted in the center of your cake comes out clean (for loaf and brioche molds), or the cake springs back when lightly touched (for tart mold). 9. While baking, combine the lemon juice and 2 Tbsp sugar in a small saucepan to make the glaze. Heat on low until the sugar is dissolved. When the cakes are pulled from the oven, immediately brush the warm cakes with the glaze. For extra yum, add several coats! 10. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans before de-panning. 11. Slice, enjoy, and impress!I hope this recipe is one you will use in a pinch for many last-minute parties to come!

Aly Chiman

Aly Chiman is a Blogger & Reporter at AlyChiTech.com which covers a wide variety of topics from local news from digital world fashion and beauty . AlyChiTech covers the top notch content from the around the world covering a wide variety of topics. Aly is currently studying BS Mass Communication at University.

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