I blame Target for this cake. Which may not be a bad thing, but I’m going to go ahead and use the word “blame” because I’m still not happy with Target for ceasing to carry my favorite yogurt, Dannon Light n’ Fit Vanilla Greek yogurt. I’d never had it before the Target store opened down the street from my house, but once I tried it I was hooked. I was having it for breakfast daily, and it was sweet and dessert-y enough that I was planning on swirling it with some fruit purée and freezing it into popsicles at some point, when suddenly Target stopped carrying it! The travesty!
Instead, the only nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt I could find was what appeared to be Target’s store brand, Simply Balanced. Willing to forgive (if not forget), I picked up a carton to give it a try.
I was not impressed. Neither as sweet as the Dannon, nor as tangy as regular Greek yogurt, this stuff was just bland, with a distinct aftertaste of what can only be described as “barnyard.” Seriously, this was not something I’d be eating more of on its own– I didn’t even want to think about finishing the container.
What’s a girl to do in this situation? Bake cake, of course. Yogurt cake. Orange yogurt cake, to use up some extra orange juice from a recent brunch party. A big one that would use up as much of that blasted yogurt as possible.
I ended up reading several recipes and using their basic formulae to cobble together something that met all of my needs. The result was pretty decent– moist, tight-crumbed, and it sliced well– but a bit lacking in citrus flavor. I’ve tweaked the recipe below to try to make up for that issue by adding tart lemon juice and zest into the mix, and you could also try adding fresh orange zest to the cake batter (rub it into the sugar for best results).
Glazed Orange Yogurt Cake
2 cups nonfat Greek vanilla yogurt
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tbs. orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup orange juice
Juice of 1/2 lemon and zest of whole lemon (zest before juicing!)
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbs. orange juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1. In a medium-sized bowl (or 4-cup glass measure, which makes measuring easier), beat the eggs together, then add in the yogurt, oil, sugar, orange juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
2. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together.
3. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix well. The leaveners will activate at this point and make your batter very puffy, but also thick. Don’t worry, this is okay.
4. Scoop your batter into a well-greased 10-cup bundt pan.
5. Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees F in the lower third of the oven, until a toothpick comes out clean. If your cake starts over-browning on top midway through, cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil. (I checked at 35 minutes and it was plenty brown at that point)
6. When your cake comes out of the oven, combine your syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
7. Using a skewer, poke deep holes all over the top of the still-warm cake. Don’t be afraid to really get a bunch of holes in there.
8. Slowly spoon the warm syrup over the warm cake, letting the syrup soak in between spoonfuls. You should pull the sides of the cake away from the pan to let more glaze soak into the edges. Use up about 3/4 of your syrup this way, then let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
9. Carefully turn the cake out onto a rack (set over a platter or baking pan) and poke more holes in the revealed top of the cake. Repeat the process with the rest of the syrup. It may be easier to brush the syrup on at this point rather than pour, to avoid spillage.
10. Let cake cool completely before glazing. To make glaze, mix juices together and add them a spoonful at a time to the powdered sugar to make a glaze that flows like honey. You don’t have to use all of the juice if you get the right texture with less. Drizzle the glaze generously over the cake.
This was a good snacking cake, but it really found its chance to shine when I cubed it and put it in a trifle– the dense, tight crumb stood up well to the custard, cream, and fruit juices, where a lighter cake might have dissolved into goo. I would definitely make this again as a trifle base!