Since the very start of quarantine, loaves have been a dominant theme of my baking. One day, after repeatedly making this newfound Earl Grey Yogurt Loaf Cake, and tweaking a Banana Bran Bread recipe, and baking many many versions of artisan crusty bread, and my favorite cinnamon raisin bread, one of my kids said, “Wow, Mom, you are really into loaves lately!” I didn’t even realize the trend. But it was a correct assessment: so many loaves.
I believe that in these days of life feeling upside down, disrupted and unmoored, baking is appealing. The doing something tactile, and productive, and beautiful- an activity with a start and finish- is a rare and necessary thing. However, having baking-mess to clean up (on top of the gobs of dishes to be done daily in quarantine) is very unappealing. In addition, baking to share has sounded right, but my creativity has already being spent on how to manage life and my kids’ upended world, and my students’ complex needs. So, simple, but special loaves have served us well for making and sharing without much fuss or mess.
If you like Earl Grey Tea, or you are not sure if you like Earl Grey tea but you like a moist, fragrant cake with a top crust of baked-on sugar, then, you should give this a try. Earl Grey Tea, with the unique bergamot scent, mixed with the tang and moisture of yogurt is a lovely combination in this cake. There are beautiful photos and even a fun videos on the delightful Bon Appetit blog that surpass my capacity, so hop on over and take a look-see: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/earl-grey-yogurt-cake
I like to tweak recipes, as you have probably figured out if you have been part of Community Table for long. And though this one might could be tweaked (and the comments in the Bon Appetit post include many alterations and adaptations) I found that it is pretty perfect just the way it is! I tried using greek yogurt instead of just the plain yogurt and I thought the texture was a little less lovely-more spongey. Of course, if you need to make substitutions for your dietary needs, by all means do so! One tip, not an alteration, that I would note is that if you are using tea bags (as opposed to loose tea leaves), I found that 8 tea bags, cut open was the perfect amount, as the grounds are more fine.
In this weirdest year of life, baking and sharing loaves sounds to me like the next right thing to do.
From Bon Appetit– Basically
1 cup vegetable or canola oil, plus more for pan
(Recipe by Molly Baz)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
1 1⁄4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
3 Tbsp. loose-leaf Earl Grey tea or tea from 8 tea bags
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. raw/turbinado sugar
Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly coat a 9 x 5″ or 8 1⁄2 x 4 1⁄2″ loaf pan with vegetable oil and line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on long sides.
(If you’re not sure what size your loaf pan is, measure it with a ruler from inside edge to inside edge for both the length and width. If you measure from the outside edge, you’ll get an inaccurate reading of the width of the pan, and your cake may end up overflowing! It’s the actual empty space of the pan where the cake bakes that matters here, not the width of the entire pan including its edges.)
Whisk flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl to combine.
Vigorously whisk eggs and granulated sugar in a large bowl 1 minute (seriously, time it!); mixture should be pale yellow and frothy. Whisk in yogurt, Earl Grey tea), and vanilla extract.
Gradually stream in oil, whisking constantly until incorporated. (Place a kitchen towel under your bowl to stabilize it so that you have two free hands.) Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Gently tap pan against surface to eliminate any air bubbles.
Sprinkle evenly with turbinado sugar. Bake cake until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.
Let cool 15 minutes in pan, then run a butter knife or offset spatula between the cake and pan to release. Lift it out using parchment overhang and transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or room temperature.
P.S. I hesitated to post this recipe, because of Bon Appetit’s lovely post that is already out in the world, but decided that:
1. Not everyone came across this recipe in the deluge of input that we all consumed in Spring 2020.
2. I needed it in my archive so that I had easy access to it- it’s on heavy rotation in my home.
3. The original blog doesn’t have an easy to read recipe without touching the screen to scroll through the pretty photos and videos. (Click HERE for a one page, easy to print recipe PDF).