Cheese and Yogurt Cake with Lemon Zest

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.



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!

Awards + Do I Really Need A Competitor?

A couple of days ago I received three more awards (actually 2, I am in the process of claiming the third one) from my fellow foodies. They made my day but I am also incredibly humbled and flattered. And before I get all nervous and forget, here’s my 30 second thank you speech: I would like to take this opportunity and thank all of you for taking the time to visit my blog, to try my recipes and to leave comments. Thank you for your support and friendship. It means a lot to me and… End of my Oscar speech:)) Sad. I could say so much more.

Back to my awards. The lovely Gretchen of Canela & Comino honored me with a Blogging With a Purpose Award. Thank you so much, Gretchen! I will cherish it!

I am pleased to pass this award to some of my favorite food blogs. Check them out!

1. Marija at Palachinka - for sharing the best of Serbian/Balkan cuisine with us.

2. Maryann at Finding La Dolce Vita – for sharing traditional Italian recipes with us.

3. Kay at Cooking From A To Z – for sharing the best of Indian cooking and beyond.

4. Amy and Jonathan at We Are Never Full - for their interesting stories and recipes from around the world.

5. Erik at My Life As Chef Erik – for sharing his delicious and healthy recipes.

And this is not all. My dear friend Amy of Familia Bencomo gave me this cutest sweetest award I just loved! Thank you, Amy! I love you back!:)

And this award goes to the following bloggers I can’t stop admiring for their creativity, talent and enthusiasm.

1. Susan at Food Blogga - delicious recipes and wow, what a stunning phogtography!

2. Julia at Dozen Flours – for the most delicious desserts to satisfy the most demanding sweet tooth!

3. Diva at The Sugar Bar - if you haven’t checked out Diva’s Beauty and The Feast Challenge, you are missing out on a lot. It promises to be a lot of fun!

Another news. Looks like I have a competitor in the kitchen. Guess who? My daughter Meltem, who just received her first blogging award (hey, who is blogging here?). My dear friend Medena of Cafe Chocolada awarded Meltem with Arteypico Award for being “the cutest chef in the world“!

Thank you, Medena. Meltem is very happy and she now proudly displays the award in her room. Thank you for making her day! I am jealous but proud:)) And now with Meltem’s permission I would like to award the following bloggers with the Arteypico award. Please check out their blogs -you won’t regret.

1. Helen at Food Stories

2. Nina at Nina’s Kitchen

3. Eva at Tea For One

4. Mag at Hommus & Tabbouli

5. Patricia at Technicolor Kitchen

The Arteypico award comes with these rules:

1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also for contributing to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.
4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of “Arte y Pico” blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.


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