For the cake:
4 large eggs, separated
½ cup superfine sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 2/3 cups strained Greek-style yogurt
grated zest of 1 washed orange
juice of 1 orange
For the optional syrup:
2/3 cup water
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 Tablespoon orange juice
grated zest of 1 orange
1 fresh Rosemary sprig
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a thick, pale cream. Beat in the flour, then the yogurt, orange zest and orange juice until it is thoroughly blended.
Whisk the egg whites until still and fold them into the yogurt mixture. Pour this into a round, nonstick baking tin (about 9” in diameter) greased with butter. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top is brown. It will puff up like a soufflé then subside.
Turn out onto a serving plate, and serve warm or cold.
If you are making the syrup, boil the water with the sugar, orange juice, grated orange zest and crushed fresh rosemary sprig for 3-5 minutes. Let cool, then chill in the refrigerator. Serves 6
FOODIE'S NOTES: Chef Alex Pope and I were doing our homework in preparation to open Saffron Street: A Moroccan Bazaar, our latest pop-up restaurant installation called Vagabond. We were reading, cooking and thinking about nothing but Morocco & Turkey.
My Mom had given me the cookbook Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, Turkey & Lebanon by Claudia Roden several years ago, and I found myself buried in this cookbook looking for inspiration for our pop-up. Alex and I were concerned that this culinary event look, sound and taste as authentic as we could make it.
As Christmas rolled around, I was still in Vagabond research mode and found myself making more and more dishes from this cookbook, always with my own tweaks to it. I was going to my family’s house for Christmas, and they assigned me dessert to bring for our big Christmas Eve meal. They begged me to bring something light as the meal itself was going to be so rich. I immediately thought of my take on this Turkish Yogurt Cake from Claudia’s cookbook.
Light like a soufflé, and made with high-protein Greek yogurt, this cake was the perfect choice. The recipe calls for a syrup that is suggested to be served on the side. I agree. I found I did not need it, but some may, to take the sweetness up a notch or two. The original recipe calls for lemon zest and lemon juice, I switched it to orange, you could even use blood oranges, and added the rosemary to the simple syrup.
The first night we popped-up with Saffron Street: A Moroccan Bazaar, I had decorated a long table with turquoise blue crinkled silk table cloth and placed a metal bowl with lemons in the center of this table.
Alex walked by and said; “You know that table looks exactly like the cover of that Moroccan cookbook you’ve been reading for the last few months.”
When I went back and looked at the cover, I realized he was right. This cookbook was a major inspiration for me during my Moroccan themed pop-up, and this cake recipe is one of my favorites from my time in Morocco.
Even if you cannot afford to travel to exotic lands, you can always enjoy a taste of a country through cooking the dishes and cuisine of their people.
I will go to Morocco someday, and when I do, I will eat well.