olive oil + yogurt cake

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this cake is the product of a baking craving and not wanting too much fuss. it is also an amazing result of italian rusticity combined with british tea-time, and is essentially the prevalent italian yogurt cake made into a victoria sponge. we also threw in a cream cheese-yogurt filling for good measure, instead of the typical whipped cream, elevating this cake just that little bit more.

the lack of complex measurements means this cake requires nothing more than a pan and some imagination (or greed) and can be easily baked even when you’re on holiday! (which I was.)

the olive oil we used here was noted on its label as slightly peppery, which made me rather worried at first. there was no need, however, as the cake was insanely delicious with the olive oil offering an elusively savoury note and kept the sponge layer interesting. I’d say for you to do the same, but of course if you used regular vegetable oil or light olive oil, the cake would just taste more like a regular sponge cake.

for cake (I adapted the recipe here):

  1. preheat the oven to 180C, and line the bottom of an 8 (or 9)-inch cake pan.
  2. empty out 1 pot of yogurt (150g, and I used natural light yogurt) into a bowl, and use the same container to measure out 2 pots of castor sugar as well as 1 pot of extra virgin olive oil (we used a slightly peppery blend) into the same bowl and mix till even. beat in 3 eggs separately, blending after each addition and add a tiny dash (about 1/2 teaspoon) of vanilla.
  3. add 3 pots worth of self-raising floor (you might find it useful to wash out and dry the pot before doing this) to the wet ingredients and fold until the batter is soft and thick.
  4. pour the batter into the pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean. I would recommend checking after 25 minutes and tenting if the cake browns too quickly; I checked at 30 minutes and the top of the cake was nearly untastily charred. my cake took about 40 minutes to bake.
  5. let cool (for as long as you can bear) before serving, or filling as we did.

for the filling, we used a mixture of about 100g of low-fat cream cheese and 1.5 tablespoons of greek-style yogurt; vanilla and honey were added to taste. since we were using raspberry jam for the cake, we didn’t make the cream cheese filling too sweet; you want a contrast, not a frosting.

I sliced off the top of the sponge cake so that it made for an even base (the scraps ‘unfortunately’ need to be consumed by the baker i.e. me) and then halved the cake to make 2 layers. spread on a layer of jam, then dollop the cheese filling, leaving about half an inch around the edge free so that it doesn’t ooze out too much when you press the top on. place on the top layer gently, and serve.

this was good the day we made it, and the cheese filling was oozey because I hadn’t the patience to wait for the cake to cool completely. the next day, the filling had been absorbed and was ‘set’, and the cake was a delight to slice, and was also positively addictive.

this is fantastic for tea time, with golden crumbs, a refreshing filling and the comforting flavours of a quintessential british tea.

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