"A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that “great wits have short memories:” and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation." - Jonathan Swift, "A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet"

Monday, July 22, 2013

Recipe: Yogurt cake with strawberry-nectarine compote

 Got a cup's worth of yogurt in the fridge? I did yesterday, and after a few hours of editing the first chapter of my dissertation, I definitely needed to bake a cake. The obvious solution is this yogurt cake recipe, which I got from the Whole Foods website. The only thing I adjusted is adding a few drops of milk at the end, because the batter looked alarmingly thick and sticky. I figured it might be because I used very thick greek yogurt, so I added the milk to lighten it up. I have no idea if that was the actual cause or if the milk had the desired effect. Anyway, it turned out deliciously.

After I popped it in my inconsistent and uneven student-housing oven, I cut up some overripe fruit I had and improvised a little compote. Half a lemon squeezed over the fruit, 1/8 cup water, a tsp of sugar. Boil until thick and delicious.

I've actually gotten a lot bolder with improvising in the kitchen this year. Possibly because I'm the only person eating it, so if I mess up, no one else will suffer. Possibly because, when sorting which food blog to use for a given recipe, I end up actually paying attention to what ingredients differentiate scones from bread and pancakes from crepes. Possibly because I've had to substitute quite a few ingredients that I couldn't easily find in this part of the world. In any case, I've learned a lot about cooking as well as literature this year.

Ta-da! The cake rose A LOT, so much that I had to rearrange the racks in the over to accommodate it. It stayed nice a fluffy when I took it out, too.

The end product was delicioso. Not too sweet, because (as I forgot to mention earlier) I only had half the amount of sugar they called for. The compote could have been sweeter, too, if I'd added more than a tsp of sugar, but actually it made a lovely tea-time snack. The best thing about this cake is that it tastes gooey and dense without being buttery or fatty-feeling. It's sort of like eating a bowl of yogurt and fresh fruit, except also a cake :)

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