Yoghurt cake for the uncultured

8 Jun

Dear Cake Doctor

I’ve just started a new job, but can’t keep up with the chat around the coffee machine. It’s all opera this, ballet that – and I don’t know my Hirst from my Hammerstein! Is there something I can bake to bring some decorum to my demeanour?




Dear Uncultured,

Firstly, congratulations on the new job. Secondly, and most importantly, don’t worry if you feel you don’t fit in at first. After three months you’ll feel as though you’ve been there forever! But I know it’s lousy feeling left out, so I’m going to prescribe you something that will not only show your new colleagues you’ve got what it takes in the art of baking, but is bound to bowl them over with its fresh and fruity flavours.

This yoghurt cake has more culture than all of your workmates put together. Every mouthful has a little crunch in the crust thanks to the addition of semolina, and a sweet, pillowy centre studded with bite sized morsels of caramelised summer fruits. You can use whatever stone fruit you have ripening away uneaten in the fruit bowl to dot your cake with summery oranges, reds and purples. And don’t be afraid to experiment with your fruits – mix syrupy peaches with tart nectarines, fragrant strawberries with the sharpness of raspberries.

You’ll end up with a cake that’s perfect for bringing a taste of summer into the office on a weekday afternoon. What’s more, your colleagues will realise you’re not only an excellent baker, you’re as cultured as they come!

Best of luck!

The Cake Doctor x


Complaint: lacking in culture

Prescription: yoghurt cake (inspired by Dan Lepard’s stone fruit yoghurt cake)


4 ripe stone fruit – peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots

200g caster sugar

175g unsalted butter (if fridge cold, soften in the microwave for 30 seconds)

Finely grated zest of 3 lemons

2 large eggs, at room temperature if possible

175g Greek yoghurt

75g semolina

175g plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celcius and line a round cake tin with foil, then spray or brush lightly with an unflavoured cooking oil.









Stone the fruit and chop into pieces (1cm cubes are good).









Then, scatter a handful or two over the base of the cake tin.

Scatter 25g of the caster sugar over the fruit and set aside.









Put the butter, remaining caster sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl, and beat with a freestanding electric mixer (use the ‘paddle’ attachment), a handheld electric whisk, or just a wooden spoon.











Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to beat until the mixture is well combined.

Then add the yoghurt and mix until all combined. Don’t worry if the mix looks as though it’s curdling – this happens when the eggs and butter are different temperatures and is easily remedied with a spoonful of your flour.

Now remove the bowl from the electric mixer, or change to a spatula if you were using a wooden spoon.

Add the semolina to the butter, sugar and egg mix and mix in.

Now sift in the flour and baking powder and incorporate thoroughly, but gently, using a spatula so as not to ‘overmix’. Overmixing after the dry ingredients have been put in toughens the proteins in the flour and results in a denser, heavier end result.
















Add your remaining chopped fruit to the mix and again, gently mix through. You don’t want your fruit to break up too much in the mixing.

















Gently tip the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top.









Place in the oven for 50 minutes, or until the top is nicely golden around the outside, and the cake passes the wobble test. This means a gentle push doesn’t produce a jelly-like quiver.

When you’re happy the cake’s ready, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for half an hour.









Once your cake has cooled a little, remove from the tin, leaving the foil intact. Tip the cake upside down on to the plate you’re going to serve it from, and very carefully, bit by bit, peel off the foil. The cake itself shouldn’t stick to the foil, but the caramelised fruit might.









Now, revel in the moist, citrusy flavour of your yoghurt cake. And if that’s still not enough culture for you, serve with a dollop of leftover yoghurt!












The Cake Doctor x

7 Responses to “Yoghurt cake for the uncultured”

  1. Jean 8 June 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Sounds lovely, I’m going to make at once !


    • The Cake Doctor 8 June 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      Glad you like the look of it Jean – let me know how you get on!

      • Jean 10 June 2012 at 10:23 pm #

        Found semolina last evening in Thones. Will try tomorrow.

  2. Louisa 10 June 2012 at 3:39 am #

    This sounds brilliant Alex! I’d love to try it but may need to use a winter fruit instead, any suggestions?

    • The Cake Doctor 10 June 2012 at 11:06 am #

      Good question! I’d use apples and/or pears, but instead of cubing them, slice them quite thinly to ensure they’re cooked through and caramelised by the time the cake’s ready to come out. Good luck!

  3. Anne 13 June 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    Thanks a lot for the nice recipe! I made it yesterday and really impressed my flatmates!

    • The Cake Doctor 15 June 2012 at 10:18 am #

      No worries Anne – I’m very happy you all liked it!

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