Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The sweet warmth and the delicious scents that are spring

Where did this heat come from? Its like a light switch got flipped and we're all getting hit with a little sunshine and that itch to reach for the baby oil.

This weekend a couple of things became very clear.

Hibernation mode. Aka SAD aka a length of time I'd never thought would affect me, which really didn't, is officially passing.

Thank Jesus, because god only knows that I would have said more than a few words with the sky had the weather not have shifted when it did. Bring on some spring!

There is something about the spring and summer months that makes me want to cook, bake for others and start throwing dinner parties.

The sun rises earlier and sets late giving you a few extra minutes to sit and gab on the porch, curl up on the banquette and read one extra chapter as the sun sets or simply sit with those you love and take the culmination of the day, week or hour in comfortable silence.

Ever since living in this new flat, I've stored my cookbooks in a back room. They're hidden from my daily views. Missed. While the heat struck I spent a morning cleaning every crook and corner. Wiped down the kitchen and dusted off the cookbooks.

Though I love all of the months of the year, its really the spring and summer I look forward to most.

Flowers are in full bloom, trees filling with leaves and you can hear the full branches rustle the leaves as a brush of wind slips by. Its bright and colorful, the sounds of laughter fills the yards and only adds warmth to the day.

I pulled out the cookbooks, opened up the front door and took in the humid morning sipping a fresh cup of coffee (damn that doctor coffee is my drug of choice) and mapped out a few light and fun meals to cook.

The kitchen, my haven has been neglected terribly and with the kickstart of rereading my notes on recipes or in the column of books, something has been recharged, rejuvinated, to get back into that place that is every part of me as a smile is to a face.

Tonight is a wine night and for it I baked my utmost favorite spring/summer dish. A lemon yogurt cake that melts in your mouth, not in your hands! Its easy as pie and so light there's no guilt in nibbling on a few thick slices that are moist with a lemony glaze. I'm excited to be able to bring this cake for others to enjoy, mostly, and more selfishly it was the excitement of taking the time to do something for them that got me to remember that there is some passion behind what goes on in that kitchen, what goes into making that one dish.

I was excited to stand in the kitchen and just take a few breaths. Savoring the time spent re-arranging a spot for certain cookbooks to sit for the next several months on the counter. Checking the fresh starts of herbs in the window sill to see how the growth is coming along. Standing inside the one place other than a closet where I am home within my home.

The sun shines through the scattered clouds and the walls are filled with the sweet scent of a bright fruit. Hello spring were so glad that you're here!


From my kitchen to yours, here is the recipe for a gorgeous cake that will leave your tastebuds begging for more.

Lemon Yogurt Cake


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Finger lickin' good! Happy Tuesday


  1. Hmmmmm....that Lemon Yogurt Cake got my attention; hope you'll be sharing the recipe (hint, hint)

    I'm totally with you on the awakenings of Spring. What frustrates me most are the things I'm longing to to outside but won't start until I finish inside tasks; suddenly, I'm ready to roll in 12 different directions!

    Bring it on, I'm ready for the challenge!

  2. OK, now you know what you have to do. Share that recipe, bitte! :) Sounds sooo good. I love this time of year, and you are right, it makes me want to host and cook for others. Oh, and that heat you got, it was from us. Turns out a nippy spring wasn't completely gone. Not to worry, it should return before the tan fades. We are in the clear :)

  3. @Patty:I've been salivating all day...I brought the cake into work with me because I was scared the glaze would melt which it would have had it been sat in the car all day! Bastard cake! I'll update the post with the recipe for sure, because it's so uber delicious. The outdoors is definitely calling, and what I've now noticed which you're probably familiar with, is that it will come probably tomorrow...out of nowhere.

    @Texa:I'm posting that tasty treat...it's courtesy of my lady Ina-the barefoot contessa. She's godsend, and lives in the hamptons, and is pretty amazing. The heat definitely caught some kind of tailspins and for that I say thankees to you-but share the big sigh of busting out the warmer jacket for a few extra days. I think our skin goes through shock when it's been covered for so many months...despite the tanning bed usage...the minute the sun hits and burns us the first time. Oh that burn is so sweet though. So ready for some real fun n' the sun.