Layer cakes don’t have to be giant complicated cakes. This humble French lemon strawberry jam yogurt cake is one layer, split in two, with layers of strawberry jam and whipped cream. Super easy and incredibly delicious.
If you use Instagram, have you seen some of the gorgeous “cake accounts,” as I call them, flying past your feed? It’s like a cakeapalooza some days, depending on how the algorithm decides to push content through my feed.
Cake after cake after cake. I love it!
And yet, I know I’ll probably never attempt to make any of them. Too time consuming.
Too much talent and patience needed. Too much sugar. (Is there ever such a thing?)
But this French lemon strawberry jam yogurt cake, in spite of the complicated name I assigned it, is actually quite simple.
Literally coming together with whatever ingredients I could muster from my fridge and pantry, this cake saved my dessert reputation on Easter. Bolstered it, even.
I had planned on making a lemon cream tart, only to realize that I didn’t have enough eggs. You know, on Easter morning.
When no grocery stores are open. All of the eggs I needed for the lemon pastry cream got boiled the night before. My fault entirely.
So, in the most humble of terms, I cobbled this cake together, thinning out Greek yogurt with milk in place of plain yogurt, and using a flax egg for my third egg since I only had 2 uncooked eggs remaining in the fridge.
Then I spread a layer of strawberry jam between the layers since I didn’t have enough strawberries to slice for a layer between the cakes, and only used 8 strawberries on top since those were the only decent-looking berries that remained in the container.
And also, since the recipe yielded only one 9-inch cake, I sliced it horizontally to ensure I could get my fill of freshly whipped cream out of this dessert.
The result was a stunner of a dessert. The French lemon yogurt cake, ever so sweet, really benefited from the layer of strawberry jam.
And the billows of whipped cream – whipped stiffly is how I like it for a cake like this – just melted like clouds against the tart lemon and sweet strawberry flavors.
Every bite was just perfect. And the bites with the fresh strawberries? Magical!
For the cake:
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup sugar
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- ½ cup plain yogurt or Greek thinned with 2 tbsp milk
- 3 large eggs¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower
For the filling and topping:
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp confectioners' sugar
- ¼ cup strawberry jam
- 8-12 whole strawberries, hulled
- Preheat oven to 350° F with a rack centered in the oven. Grease a 9-inch cake pan, place a parchment round on the bottom of the pan, and grease the parchment; set aside.
- To make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- In a large bowl, rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers until the sugar becomes slightly damp and the zest is thoroughly distributed in the sugar. The sugar should be very fragrant. Add the yogurt, eggs, and vanilla to the sugar, and whisk vigorously until the egg whites are blended into the mixture. Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients. Using a silicone spatula, fold in the oil. This may seem strange at first, but keep with it until the oil is incorporated and the batter is thick and shiny. The point here is to not overbeat the flour. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and level out the top.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes then invert the cake out onto your hand and then flip it back onto the rack; allow the cake to cool completely.
- To assemble: Whip the heavy cream in a large bowl with a hand mixer or the whisk attachment of an immersion blender (my choice of tools for whipping cream) until it just starts to hold together. Add in the confectioners' sugar and continue to beat at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- With a long serrated knife, slice the cake horizontally through the middle into two even layers. Spread the jam over the bottom layer. Spread half of the whipped cream out over the jam in an even layer, pushing the cream out to the edges of the cake.
- Place the second layer atop the whipped cream filling and spread the remaining whipped cream over the top, making big swooping swirls with an offset spatula. Arrange the strawberries around the edge, or if you have time to slice them, arrange the slices in a layered design around the edge instead.
Storage: Kept refrigerated, the cake will keep for a few days before the whipped cream starts to weep and get soft.
If you have more strawberries to use up, by all means, use them on this cake - it won't suffer for it. Slice them and add them to the filling or arrange atop the whipped cream, or just encircle the top of the cake with more whole berries. I only had 8 nice-looking ones left in my fridge when I made this cake so that's all the top of the cake got. We also got big pieces of cake because I figure that each piece needs its own strawberry, right?
adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
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Baking: From My Home to Yours by Doris Greenspan
OXO Good Grips Non-Stick Pro Round Cake Pan 9 Inch
Parchment Paper Baking Circles - 100 Pre-cut Round Parchment Sheets for Baking (9-inch)
OXO Good Grips Mixing Bowl Set with Black Handles, 3-Piece
OXO SteeL 9-Inch Better Wire Whisk
Cuisinart Smart Stick 200 Watt 2 Speed Hand Blender, Brushed Chrome