Dust a Bunny ~ Yogurt Cake

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It doesn’t take years of training or a drawer full of special tools to decorate a cake for Easter. Using Nonna’s simple yogurt cake recipe—packed with fresh fruit and, by using Greek yogurt, packed with extra flavor—you can turn an “any time” cake into an Easter-themed cake in a snap.

This is one of the most popular recipes in my book Beyond the Pasta and also in my app (of the same name) and when Nonna prepared this “torta” for me in Viterbo, Italy, she used apples and pears fresh from the orchard. Back here in America, I like to use Granny Smith apples and Bartlett pears. How I long for an apple here in Montgomery, but alas….

This cake is dense, moist and, as is true for most Italian deserts, not overly sweet. Also, using powered sugar for a decorative topping, it makes it a lighter cake than one with a frosting.

Using your favorite stencil, or anything that you can “dust” over or through (a friend’s English grandmother used to dust over a doille, leaving its decorative pattern on the cake), you can decorate this cake in a matters of moments. Watch the above video to see how I made the bunny decoration on this cake.

Add this to your recipe rotation for club meetings, office snack, something simple to nibble on across the weekend, or to serve to visiting company for breakfast or an afternoon tea. Get inventive with stenciling on the powdered sugar top—or just dust it completely white across the top for a simple, yet elegant, look.

Buon Appetito ~ e Buona Pasqua, anche! (and Happy Easter, too!)

Mark

Yogurt Cake

1 teaspoon unsalted butter

3 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs

1 6-ounce (single serving-sized) container of non-fat yogurt (or Greek yogurt), mixed berry flavor or flavor of your choice

2 large eggs

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup sunflower oil (your favorite vegetable oil may be substituted)

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup peeled, diced tart apple (such as Granny Smith)

1 cup peeled, diced pear

Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a nonstick 10-inch springform pan with the butter and plain bread crumbs. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla until well combined. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In batches, add a third of the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mixing until well combined between each addition. Next, stir in the apple and pear until mixed throughout. Pour into the prepared spring-form pan and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

To serve, remove from the pan, dust with powdered sugar and place on a serving plate.

This serves 8 to 12.

About the Author

Mark LeslieMark Leslie, seen cooking on NBC’s "The Today Show" and Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family," loves to cook for anyone with an appetite, vacations in Italy every year, and lives to eat his way through every plate of pasta and cone of gelato placed before him. His first book, “Beyond the Pasta: Recipes, Language & Life with an Italian Family,” tells of his life in Italy while cooking with an Italian grandmother. He shares his food experiences on his blog at www.beyondthepasta.com and has taught cooking classes in California, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, and across Alabama. While judging for high school culinary events, he was chosen by the US Department of Education to judge for their "National Education Startup Challenge." Mark can be regularly seen cooking on NBC-affiliate, WSFA-TV 12's "Alabama Live! each Friday, bringing easy, locally sourced recipes to central Alabama. His iTunes app “Beyond the Pasta” features helpful videos and more of Nonna’s family-style recipes that she shared with him, plus, upon its release, it was named “New & Noteworthy” by Apple. DaVinci Wines chose Mark as their "2012 Storyteller" in Language Arts—where they sent him to Vinci, Italy, to write about wine, food and life. Mark, his home and book have been featured in such national publications and blogs as House Beautiful, Paula Deen, Food Republic, The Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, Field & Stream, and The Daily Meal. A Chicago-area native and “Yankee” by birth, Mark has lived in Alabama for over 24 years, and celebrates the fact that he started life eating farina, progressed to grits, and finally arrived at polenta. Buonissimo!View all posts by Mark Leslie →

"Beyond the Pasta" is owned and operated by Mark Leslie. Unless otherwise specified all content, writing, recipes and photography is original and held in copyright through the Library of Congress. It may not be used without the express written consent of Mark Leslie.