Also known simply as ‘yoghurt cake’, almost every Nonna in Italy will make a version of this recipe, which must be the simplest and most versatile cake in history.
There is something nostalgic and comforting about a very simple, soft and springy sponge cake with its golden crust and butter-yellow crumb. The English have Victoria Sponge, the Italians, Ciambellone.
Usually baked in a bundt or ring tin, the method involves using a small yoghurt pot (125ml/150ml) to measure every ingredient into the mixing bowl, starting with the yoghurt itself.
It is the ideal breakfast, its uncomplicated sweetness balancing a coffee perfectly.
This is Franca’s recipe. She does not bake. Ever. Except this, which she knows is fool-proof. A cake for baking-haters then, too. The method is wonderfully slap-dash, and totally forgiving. If only baking could always be thus.
Makes 1 X 26cm ring tin cake
1 pot plain yoghurt
2 pots of caster sugar
3 pots of plain flour
1 pot of sunflower oil
3 whole eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
15g (3 tsps) baking powder
Few drops of vanilla extract (see note)
Here in Sardinia the baking powder comes in ready-to-use 16g sachets. For some reason it is always pre-flavoured with vanilla. If you replace it with a drop of vanilla extract you will achieve a similar result.
Preheat the oven to 180. Grease (with melted butter and a pastry brush) and flour the tin well. Decant all of the yoghurt into a blender/mixer. Use the same pot to measure all of the other ingredients into the mixer (you don’t need to rinse it between measuring). Add the eggs, lemon zest and orange zest, the flour and the baking powder and the vanilla and mix well, until smooth. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-50 minutes, until risen and firm to the touch.