The other day I was going through my old notebook recipe collection and this recipe caught my attention. I had all the ingredients available so I decided to give it a try for the first time since the recipe found its way into my precious collection almost two decades ago. I don’t even remember where I got it from. The poor thing was called Piroq, which in Russian means Pie, so I had to brand it with some type of fancy name to make it sound appealing and attractive. And this is how the cake got its new name - Cheese and Yogurt Cake with Lemon Zest. Is it fancy enough?:)
The recipe did not call for any baking powder or soda, which I found bizarre. But I still decided to stick to the original and I am glad I did. My cake turned out beautifully. It didn’t rise much but I still loved its soft and moist texture. Tasted and looked almost like cheesecake. Then this idea about no baking powder started to bug me and two days after we devoured the fist cake, I knew I had to make another one (since I am a Daring Baker), this time using what I thought was the missing ingredient - baking powder. I also used 4 eggs instead of 5 and added more flour. Result? My cake did not rise a bit, and was more dense and heavier in texture than the previous one. A lesson taught. I am now sticking to my good old recipe I have a pleasure of sharing with you.
Note: Per Deeba’s suggestion (thank you, Deeba!), I am submitting this recipe to the Sugar High Friday, a monthly event created by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess. This month’s theme is Citrus and the event is being hosted by Helen of Tartelette.
CHEESE AND YOGURT CAKE WITH LEMON ZEST
1/2 pound (250 g) unsalted white cheese (I used part skim milk cheese. If you are in Azerbaijan, use kesmik/tvoroq)
1/2 cup (4 oz/113 g) butter, melted
5 eggs, at room temperature
a pinch of vanilla powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
coarsely grated zest of one lemon
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 350?F (180?C).
2. In a large mixing bowl, coarsely crumble (break up into small pieces) cheese using your hands. Add butter, eggs, vanilla powder and flour. Using a mixer, beat at medium speed until well blended. It should take you only a minute or less.
3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and yogurt and beat with a mixer until well blended. Add lemon zest and mix.
4. Gradually add the yogurt mixture (step 3) to the cheese mixture (step 2) and mix. The batter will be quite thin, and this is how it should be.
5. Lightly coat a 8 1/2 (21 cm) x 4 1/2-inch (11 cm) loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour the batter onto the prepared pan and place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden on top and spongy when lightly pressed, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. You will notice the cake will only rise a little - this is normal. Remove the cake from the oven. Allow to cool in the pan, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before serving. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar and sprinkle with lemon zest, if desired. Enjoy your cake with a cup of hot tea!