Since moving to Europe this summer, we spend almost all of our free time traveling. We spent a few weeks in Italy over the summer and fell in love with the people and culture. One thing in particular, is Italian breakfast. It is a simple affair – meats and cheeses, fresh fruit, yogurts, breads and simple pastries. Most of it is store-bought and from a local bakery. One thing that is always on the table and is always homemade is a yogurt cake.
I think that it would be difficult to find an Italian without a passed down yogurt cake recipe. I’ve yet to have an Italian (or French for that matter) breakfast without seeing a yogurt cake on the table. It’s so simple, and so good.
My current favorite version is made with olive oil and yogurt. Olive oil is not only delicious, but a perk is that you don’t have to wait for butter to come to room temperature, so you can make this in minutes. The yogurt adds a little tartness, but also adds moisture to the cake. This is not a dry cake. Or overly sweet. It is just sweet enough.
I sometimes make it with just olive oil and a touch of vanilla. Lemon and rosemary, or like now, orange and thyme. I often leave off the glaze and serve it with some softly whipped cream and berries or pitted cherries. It is so versatile.
I think that it would be a perfect addition to an Easter brunch. It is a blank canvas for whatever spring flavors you like and can be dressed up or simply sliced and served with coffee or tea. I like to bake mine in a loaf pan, but you can also use a 12-cup Bundt pan.
Orange Thyme Olive Oil Cake Recipe
Ingredients for the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups extra-virgin olive oil
Juice from half an orange
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
Ingredients for Orange Thyme Glaze:
2-3 Tablespoons orange juice (use the other half of the orange from the cake)
2 cups powdered sugar
Thyme for decoration
Baking Instructions for the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9x5x3 loaf pan with cooking spray and line with parchment. (This helps get it out easily.)
Whisk flour, baking powder, salt in a medium bowl. Stir in thyme leaves.
In a separate bowl, whisk sugar and eggs until foamy. About a minute. Add olive oil, orange juice, and yogurt. Whisk until combined.
Pour wet ingredients into dry. Mix until combined.
Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Cooking time will vary based on what kind of pan you cook it in.)
Let cool for 15 minutes, remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.
Recipe for the Glaze:
Whisk 2 tablespoons orange juice into sugar, adding more as needed. Glaze should be thick, but also pourable. Top with thyme sprigs.