1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (or, if you’d prefer, omit the almonds and use another 1/2 cup all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup flavorless oil, such canola or saffflower
For the Glaze :
1/2 cup lemon marmalade, strained
1 teaspoon water
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 81/2-x-41/2-inch loaf pan and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, if you’re using them, baking powder and salt.
Put the sugar and zest in a medium bowl and, with your fingertips, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla and whisking vigorously until the mixture is very well blended. Still whisking, add the dry ingredients, then switch to a large rubber spatula and fold in the oil. You’ll have a thick, smooth batter with a slight sheen. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan; it should be golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. Unmold, and cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.
To Make the Glaze:
Put the marmalade in a small saucepan or in a microwave-safe bowl, stir in the teaspoon of the water and heat until the jelly is hot and liquefied. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the cake with the glaze.
Layered and Round French Yogurt Cake
For a cake that’s just a little dressy – a cake like the ones my French friends make for their children’s birthdays – make the cake in a buttered 9-x-2-inch round pan, baking it for 35-40 minutes. When the cake is cool, use a a serrated knife to cut it horizontally into two layers. You can fill and frost the cake with whatever strikes your fancy, but it’s lovely filled with Lemon Cream or spread with jam or curd and frosted with sweetened whipped cream. Or turn the cake into a strawberry shortcake: Spread the cut layer with strawberry jam, cover it with sweetened whipped cream and top with cut berries. Place the remaining layer atop the berries, and finish the cake with clouds of whipped cream and a circle of big, beautiful whole berries.
Riviera Yogurt Cake
Replace the whole-mild with the same of thick strained yogurt. (To strain, line a sieve with a double thickness of dampened cheesecloth, add the yogurt, put over a bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight, or use Total Greek Yogurt with 2% fat, which doesn’t need to be strained.) Substitute olive oil for the vegetable oil. And, to complete the Riviera flavors, add 1/2 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary of 1 tablespoon finely minced mint to the bowl when you are rubbing the sugar and zest together.