This is the cake. The “I don’t feel like pulling out my mixer” cake. Or the “I’m no good at baking” cake. It’s even the “I just spent 24 hours on a plane and my brain is still at the beach” cake. This yogurt cake made with semolina flour and flavored with a bit of lemon simple syrup is the solution to all manner of cake-baking problems. It is a simple, one-bowl, foolproof cake recipe.
Despite my jet-lag and refusal to pull out my mixer, I wanted to bake this weekend. I knew it would have to be something simple, something that comes together in one bowl with very little effort.
The result is this moist, almost creamy, cake that is bright and tangy like the yogurt that is the main ingredient.
Over the years, this is a cake I’ve made again and again. It takes less than 15 minutes to make, and improves as it chills in the fridge for a day or two. And that one-bowl thing? Well, those are magic words to me now that I’m back in my dishwasher-less kitchen.
This cake needs no dressing up, but would be great served with fresh berries or even a dollop of honey-sweetened yogurt on top. I’ve made it with strawberries as well, which make a delicious, easy addition.
I slice the cake into 9 very generous portions which still have only 375 calories each, but you could easily slice it smaller for a no-guilt treat that everyone will love.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- juice from 1 lemon
- 1 cup semolina
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ cup plain yogurt (preferably unsweetened low-fat or regular plain yogurt, although Greek yogurt will work)
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8x8 glass baking dish with cooking spray or vegetable oil and line it with baking paper.
- To make the syrup, boil the water and sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar completely dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside and let cool completely.
- To make the cake, in a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add yogurt and oil and mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining ingredients all at once and stir very well until all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated and the batter is smooth.
- Bake just until the center of the cake is set and the top turns golden brown, 25-30 minutes.
- Immediately pour the cold syrup evenly over the surface of the warm cake (update: a few reviewers have mentioned that they didn't need the full portion of syrup; to get the amount just right, start by pouring half the syrup over top and letting it soak in; add the remaining half just until the cake looks moist but not saturated). Let the cake cool completely, or chill, before serving.
And just because I’m a sucker for pictures of towering slices of baked goods….