It's starting to get cold here in Sydney. Cold and wet, and then cold and sunny. It poured with rain for half of yesterday before the sky decided to somewhat reluctantly let the sun come through. Literally hot and cold. I hate it.
There are two things to do on a rainy day. 1) Watch TV and 2) make a cake. If you're anything like me then watching food related TV shows is something you do to avoid doing whatever it is you're supposed to be doing. A couple of months ago I watched an episode of Nigellissima (by "watch" what I mean is I only watch the dessert-related bits... is that just me?) and this cake caught my eye.
I love this kind of ratio-recipe. Not just because it means a whole lot less washing up, but these recipes generally have a history and have been passed down from generations before. I like the thought that this is a cake which has been made for centuries, and each time made with the same ratio and the same process.
Nigella says there is a sense of security about the process of making this cake, and I get that. Measuring out everything in a little pot of yogurt seems to narrow your life down to just that moment when you're in the kitchen, you're whipping the egg whites and you're making a cake, and everything else can be blissfully ignored. Just for that moment.
Yogurt Pot Cake
Adapted from Nigellissima
Makes 1 ~8" bundt/tube cake
Note: Nigella uses a 150g yogurt pot. I couldn't find that here, the nearest I got was 170g which was fine - I think you can possibly get away with a 200g pot as well, but stay as close to 150g as possible, otherwise the ratio will start falling apart with the number of eggs. You can also definitely make this cake without an electric mixer - I was feeling lazy, but a whisk and some elbow grease will work just fine.
3 eggs, separated
1 pot of plain yogurt (~150g pot, see Note above)
2 pots of caster sugar
1 pot vegetable oil
2 pots plain flour
1 pot cornflour
Lemon zest of half a lemon
2 tsp of pure vanilla extract (either eye it, or you can measure this using the cap of your vanilla extract like Nigella does, about 2 capfuls)
Preheat oven to 180C/360F. Grease and flour a tube pan or a bundt tin, and set aside.
Whip egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, yogurt and sugar. With the mixer still on, add the oil and whisk until well combined. Then add the flour and cornflour and then mix until well combined (you might want to stand back, because floury dust will fly up everywhere). Stir in lemon zest and vanilla.
Put about 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and whisk vigorously to lighten the batter. Then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking tin, smooth the top, and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool in tin for about 10 minutes before turning out. Dust with icing sugar and serve.