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Today is the spectacular Lis’ birthday!

I regularly thank my lucky stars for the day that I first met one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Lis of La Mia Cucina is a friend, a sister, a confidante, a problem solver, a listener, a buddy and a sweetheart.

For her birthday, I want to share with her (and all of you) a yogurt cake for the ages. Like Lis, this cake is warm, wholesome, comforting and oh-so-sweet.

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Happy birthday, Lis!

Ciao!

The Best Yogurt Cake
From Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours (with a few tweaks).

Note: I’d never heard of yogurt cake until shortly after I received my copy of Dorie’s book. Of course who else but the great Dorie Greenspan to inspire one to take a glorious cake and make it even more glorious?! I’ve changed the lemon flavour of the original to an orange flavour, enhanced with the addition of Grand Marnier. This cake will serve 6 to 8 (or one very greedy Cream Puff) and will keep for several days.

For the cake:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake and pastry flour (sifted)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (if you don’t have vanilla sugar, just use a whole cup of granulated sugar)
grated zest of an orange
1/2 cup plain yogurt (don’t use low fat yogurt)
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. Grand Marnier
1/2 cup canola oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and butter a small loaf pan (8 x 4 inches or similar size).

In a bowl, combine the flours and the baking powder.

In another bowl, combine the sugar and the orange zest. This is an interesting way of introducing zest into a cake. Rub the zest into the sugar so that it’s fragrant.

Add the yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract and Grand Marnier to the sugar/zest mixture. Whisk until smooth.

Slowly add the dry ingredients, whisking all the while to ensure there are no lumps.

Add the oil mixing carefully until the you have a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, testing for doneness with a cake tester or a toothpick.

Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before carefully unmolding. Once unmolded, glaze the cake.

For the glaze:

1/2 cup apricot jam (or any jam or marmalade of your choice)
1 to 2 tsp. Grand Marnier (enough to make it a smooth glaze that will pour rather easily)

Heat the jam and the Grand Marnier in a small saucepan. Stir until you have a smooth mixture that will pour easily.

Immediately pour it over the unmolded cake, using a brush to make sure that you reach all the little nooks.

I like to serve this cake warm, but it’s also very good at room temperature.

Enjoy!

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