lemon yogurt blueberry pistachio pound cake

This is a recipe makeover. Ani spotted the original in Bon Appetit (bob is a 20 year subscriber by this point) and together a few health conscious changes and flavor upgrades came of joint conferencing between the participating cooking team team members. The team has been big on blueberries this year, discovering dried blueberries to substitute overpriced out of season fresh blueberries for daily breakfast intake (and it's one of 14 super foods!), while bob has become a whole grain crusader.

Splenda came onto the scene as a possibly healthier alternative to existing sugar substitutes already on the market, or maybe it was just a clever marketing campaign that really worked well. We first tried half Splenda and half natural turbinado sugar and then went 100% Splenda to see if it would stand up to the hype in the baking arena. Whole wheat pastry flour was another recent find but it remained unclear whether wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour is better for baking. We pretended it did not matter and went with the pastry flour since it was on hand. Nuts are also good for us, and make quick breads and pound cake tastier. Ani is partial to pistachios, and there were some aging bags in the cupboard that were just not going away, so we volunteered them as a flavor upgrade to keep the blueberries company while the latter were providing a high color contrast with the lemon yellow cake in which they're imbedded. Later we tried mixed dried berries from Trader Joes: blueberries, cranberries and strawberries, also good. We kept making this cake repeatedly. Must be a keeper too.

The original recipe was plain, how boring. Although it did have a marmalade [= jam for us regular folks] glaze, which we vetoed. As for ingredient ratios we finally settled on half all-purpose flour, half whole wheat pastry flour since 100 % of the latter made the cake a bit dense, and half and half Splenda and turbinado (or regular) sugar too since we did not do independent testing of the ratios.

ingredients

dry stuff
1 1/2 c all purpose flour [we do 3/4 white, 3/4 whole wheat pastry flour]
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
wet stuff
1 c plain yogurt [she said whole milk, we use nonfat yogurt]
1 c sugar [we use half turbinado sugar and half Splenda sugar substitute]
3 large eggs [we use happy chicken eggs]
1 t packed finely grated lemon peel
1/4 t vanilla extract
1/2 c vegetable oil [canola oil is healthier than generic veggie oil]
add-ins [our addition]
1 c raw pistachios
1 c dried or frozen blueberries or mixed dried blueberries, strawberries and cranberries
glaze [our subtraction]
1/4 c lemon or orange marmalade
1 t water

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F after centering a rack vertically in it. [Ours is close enough, a little low though not centered.]
  2. Butter and flour a 8.5x4.5x2.5 inch nonstick loaf pan. [We use that easy new cooking spray with flour product, although its residue seems to stick tenaciously to the top edges of the pan even through vigorous scrubbing. Hmm, food for thought. Traces of serendipitously formed superglue?]
  3. Sift the dry stuff into a medium bowl.
  4. Combine the wet stuff, except for the oil, in a large bowl and whisk until well blended.
  5. Slowly whisk in the dry stuff.
  6. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the oil.
  7. Fold in the add-ins.
  8. Transfer the batter to the waiting pan and place on a baking sheet and then into the oven.
  9. Bake about 50 minutes until the cake begins to pull away from the edges and passes the cake test: insert thin knife or tooth pick into the center and if it comes out "clean", pull the cake, otherwise give it some more time.
  10. Cool on a rack 5 minutes and then make sure the sides are loose and turn it over onto the rack to remove from the pan. Cool completely.
  11. We never even considered doing the marmalade topping: stir marmalade and water in a small saucepan over medium heat until it melts, then brush the hot mixture over the top of the cake and let it cool and set. Maybe we should try it one day.
  12. Slice crosswise to serve. [Duh...is there any other way to slice pound cake?]

notes

  1. Bon Appetit, February 2005, p.91. "When French women bake", by American expatriate Dorie Greenspan.
  2. Illustrations available.
lmnygtck.htm: 28-apr-2005 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]