Yiaourtopita (Greek Yogurt Cake)

I love potlucks for so many reasons… one of which is the excuse to make something a little more elaborate than I can usually justify for a weekday meal. I can’t remember the last time I made a sweet treat, especially since I started carefully guarding my blood sugar. But with duck laying back in full swing, eggs piling up by the dozens, and a Mediterranean themed feast on the horizon, this rich Greek delicacy took the cake.

I was sold on this recipe as soon as I saw it took six eggs. (Not to mention one of the most compelling and amusing introductions I have ever read — check out the original recipe and enjoy it for yourself.) I was almost dissuaded when I realized that not only did I not have Greek yogurt, the key ingredient the cake is named for, but I had only a couple watery spoonfuls of yogurt, period. Not to worry. Mixed with the rest of the sour cream left over from last week’s empanada potluck, and a little milk and lemon juice to round out the cup, it all worked out just fine. More than fine. Most of the cake disappeared in minutes, and folk were eager to take an extra slice or two home with them. A small nibble confirmed that it had a delightfully firm and chewy texture and subtly sweet citrus goodness. Greek bakers sure know what they’re talking about! Thanks to Melina Kantor and her no-nonsense protagonist, Katerina, for sharing this gem of a recipe.

Yiaourtopita (Greek Yogurt Cake)
1 cup butter
3/4 cup honey
6 eggs (duck are wonderful for baking)
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, though it may result in a gummier texture)
2 cups flour (I used half spelt, half oat)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Juice and zest of one lemon (optional)
3 thin lemon slices, for garnish (optional)

Melt butter and allow it cool slightly in a medium bowl. Whisk in honey gradually, then beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by the yogurt and lemon juice and zest. Combine the flour, baking powder and spices in a small bowl, then gradually whisk into batter until smooth. Pour into a greased round cake pan or square 9×13″ pan and bake at 350°F for 1 hour, or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Turn onto serving plate when cool (I use a second plate for this double-flip maneuver) and garnish with lemon slices. Slice and enjoy!

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