Cardamom scented orange yoghurt loaf. Easy, but a bit ooh la la

Cardamom and orange cake

Cardamom and orange cake

The (rather snooty) mother of a French friend of mine once told me that every French Maman can make a yoghurt cake without a recipe at a moments notice.  She scribbled down her recipe for me but to be honest it always sounded a little dull so I never made it at home, always believing that if I lived in France I would be too busy eating patisserie to make my own cakes.

The basic formula that makes it so memorable is because it is based on using the little French yoghurt pots as a measuring cup. When I found this recipe on this lovely blog, following that same formula but with a more sophisticated flavor, it tickled my fancy.

As a Brit living in California I never fail to do a happy dance that I have an orange tree in my back garden.  So I’m always hyper sensitive to any recipes with orange in now that I have such a ready supply.  To add to that, my almost-three year old has also just about stopped his lunchtime nap so as bribery (great parenting) I told him we’d make a cake if he had some quiet time first.  I knew this recipe would be simple enough for us to do together so we tried it and we all loved the results.

It was delicious with a cup of tea but I think you could fancy it up for a dessert by serving it with some sliced oranges (you’ll have some left over as you only use the zest) doused in a little Cointreau and a blob of vanilla ice cream or Greek yoghurt. Yum!

To make one loaf

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • half to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (try it first with half then up it as it is a strong taste)
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Microplaned zest of 2 oranges
  • 3/4 cup natural/plain full fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C and grease a standard loaf tin.
  2. Put the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Put the sugar into another bowl then, using a Microplane, zest the oranges over the sugar before stirring the zest into the sugar with a fork.
  4. Put the eggs, oil, yoghurt, vanilla in a jug and whisk to combine then add the zesty sugar and give the jug another good whisk.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of flour and fold together gently.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until a cocktail stick comes out clean when you stick it into the middle, my oven took 55 minutes but check yours after 50 minutes.
  7. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.
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