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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Friday, December 09, 2005

Low-fat Lemon, Yoghurt and Blueberry cake

Another low fat recipe?! Don't worry, the Christmas goodies are coming next, and they're all full-fat, but until then it's lean and mean...

This cake is gorgeous. Light, moist, tangy, sweet...it's just perfect. And only 1 egg and 70g (2.5 oz) of butter! Hard to believe, really.
I had some yoghurt I needed to use up ASAP and quite a few lemons. I hadn't baked anything in quite a while and felt itchy feet to get back in the kitchen. Interesting that one of
the recent cakes I baked on a whim was also because I needed to use up some elderly yoghurt. Evidently I have some yoghurt-consupmption issues. I remember seeing a few yoghurt and lemon cakes on different blogs, but I didn't have the computer on and I really did want to make use of these many new cookbooks I have. The Alice Medrich Chocolate & the art of low-fat desserts was still sitting open from the last post I did and it provided me with inspiration for this cake.
Seeing her Orange-flavoured Cranberry Pecan cake, I thought "oh yeah, I reckon I can adapt that". It was a yoghurt-based cake, with citrus flavour, and berries folded through, so varying it to my needs wasn't so hard. I had a punnet of fresh blueberries hanging around, and decided to throw them in to the batter. A good choice 'cos lemons and blueberries are complementary flavours and really turn this cake into something perfect for summer. Additionally, I replaced 1/2 cup of the flour with ground almonds to give it a moister, lighter texture. Very highly recommended if you have ground almonds hanging about, as I did (I have a big bag I store in the freezer now cos I was getting so pi**ed off paying megabucks for those tiny little packets at the supermarket. Funding Caribbean cruises for the nut company owners, I reckon...)
Again, I found Medrich's instructions a little tedious, and required too many bowls happening at once, but in terms of difficulty it was very low. It was also really quick to whip up and bung in the oven. Again though, be careful when turning it out, as low-fat cakes are very fragile and can break easily. I had a few hairy moments turning this one out and nearly lost it completely.
I recommend this recipe very highly. Its lightness and tangyness make it perfect for warm weather, or for breakfasts and brunches. The added advantage that it's low-fat makes it even more attractive to everyone!
Read on for the recipe

Low-fat Lemon, Yoghurt and Blueberry cake
Adapted from Alice Medrich.

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup almond meal (or flour if you don't have ground almonds)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 whole egg
1 egg white
5 tablespoons butter (70g / 2.5 oz)
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1 cup sugar
1 cup low or nonfat yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 punnet blueberries
Juice of 1 lemon
~6 tablespoons powdered (icing) sugar

1: Preheat oven to 350F (175 C) and position a tray in the lower third of the oven. Spray a ring shaped pan with vegetable oil spray.

2: Whisk together the flour, almonds, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In another small bowl, lightly whisk the whole egg with the egg white. Set aside.

3: Cut the butter into pieces and place in an electric mixer bowl. Add the lemon zest and beat for about 1 minute to soften. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat on high speed for about 3 minutes. Dribble eggs in slowly, about tablespoon at a time, beating constantly for about 2 minutes. On low speed, beat in a third of the flour mixture. On medium-high speed, beat in half of the yoghurt. On low-speed, beat in half of the remaining flour. On high speed, beat in the rest of the yoghurt and vanilla essence. On low speed, beat in the rest of the flour. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the blueberries.

4: Scrape into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes in a rack .

5: Meanwhile whisk lemon juice and powdered sugar to form a glaze. Unmold the cake. Brush the glaze over the top and sides of the cake until all the glaze is used. Cool cake completely before serving or storing.
Cake may be stored for 3-4 days, or frozen up to 2 months.

Calories per serving: 256
Fat: 8.5g
(figures based on original Cranberry Pecan cake. I don't know how the addition of some almond meal and omission of the pecans would affect these figures)


  • I'm thinking that with the addition of almond, this might not qualify as a low fat cake anymore - but who cares! It looks absolutely delicious, Niki. One of my favorite combinations.

    By Blogger Nic, at 12/10/2005 03:42:00 am  

  • that looks delicious! one question: what's a punnet?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/10/2005 05:43:00 am  

  • I'd guess that the addition of almond meal and omission of pecans would just about balance each other out. At any rate, this is a very nice adaptation Niki!

    By Blogger tanvi, at 12/10/2005 07:58:00 pm  

  • Hi : ) You've been tagged to list your 10 favourite foods.

    By Blogger Kimbie, at 12/10/2005 09:40:00 pm  

  • I'm glad I'm not the only one who finds Alice Medrich's directions tedious. I love her to death, but she may be scaring people away from outstanding recipes by adding too many details in the instruction. Thanks for the muffin review. My two favorites from that book are her cheesecake (marbled) and her fallen chocolate souffle cake.

    By Blogger Cookie Madness, at 12/14/2005 01:36:00 pm  

  • Niki, I can't imagine this tasting "low-fat" since the flavour compensates for the minimum amount of eggs and butter.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/14/2005 11:32:00 pm  

  • I'm so in love with blueberries, I have to try this.

    By Blogger Michele, at 12/15/2005 09:37:00 am  

  • do you think that wholemeal flour would work with this recipe and would i ned to make any adjustments?

    also, would frozen blueberries be ok?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/05/2006 10:12:00 am  

  • Anon - I used frozen blueberries for this, so they'll be fine.
    I'm not sure how wholemeal flour would go, as it's quite a light cake and wholemeal flours are better for heavier, more rustic cakes. If you were to try it I'd suggest doing half wholemeal and half white. If that works well, maybe then try all wholemeal. And do let me know how it goes!

    By Blogger Niki, at 7/05/2006 01:03:00 pm  

  • hi niki, im so excited to have stumbled upon your blog in my google search for a low fat yoghurt cake.. im also from melbourne but have moved to edinburgh for a year- so im really pleased i get to frequent melbourne's food haunts through your blog... edinburgh just doesnt understand food like melbourne... i miss my dench bread and the farmer's markets and the great chinese and japanese restaurants and the pastries from baker and the coffee- i can't begin to tell you about the abomination of coffee in edinburgh... nevertheless, i have begun my determined foodie explorations and have discovered green and blacks ice cream and a whole range of products from them which look amazing and there are other delights i cant mention bc it would take up the page of your blog.. there's always foodie hope eh? nice to know i can find comfort when i am homesick with this blog and recipe for lemony yoghurt cake (it's baking in the oven and smells fabulous!.. keep those posts coming! barb

    By Blogger barb, at 8/10/2007 03:46:00 am  

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