Citrus-Soaked Butter Cake (Dairy)

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A citrus honey syrup adds bright flavor to this simple one-egg butter cake. &copy Miri Rotkovitz
  • 50 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: Serves 8 to 10
Ratings

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I needed to bake a cake, but as I was gathering ingredients, I discovered that I only had one egg left in the fridge. Rather than ditch the baking plans, I decided to experiment, in the interest of helping other dessert lovers who get caught unawares with a single egg.  

Happily, this Citrus-Soaked Butter Cake turned out to be a winner. The vanilla-orange scented cake is brushed with a bright citrus and honey syrup while still warm from the oven. Tender and moist, it pairs nicely with tea as a simple snack. Or dress it up with a Cherry Bourbon Compote, and -- if you're feeling particularly decadent -- some freshly whipped cream. 

What You'll Need

  • For the Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, softened, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • For the Citrus Syrup:
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • Lemon and/or lime zest (preferably organic) for serving (optional) 

How to Make It

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour an 8"x8"x2" or  9"x9"x2" cake pan. 

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

3. In another large bowl, use an electric hand mixer or a manual rotary beater to beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue beating until the egg is fully incorporated and the batter is lemon colored.

 Add the yogurt, orange juice and milk, and beat until well-mixed. 

4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet while continuing to beat on medium speed, for one to two minutes, or until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula if necessary. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake pan to a rack to cool. 

5. While the cake is baking, make the syrup: place the sugar, honey, water, lemon juice, lime juice, and orange juice in a small, non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to low.  Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup thickens slightly, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

6. When the cake comes out of the oven, brush it evenly with some of the syrup (if you don't have a pastry brush, you can use a teaspoon to drizzle the syrup over the cake). You don't need to use all of the syrup, unless you prefer a very moist, sweet cake -- I use about 1/3 to 1/2 of the syrup, and reserve the rest, covered in the refrigerator, for another use. (Try it in tea or as a cocktail mixer.) Allow the syrup-brushed cake to cool completely in the pan before serving. Garnish with freshly grated lemon or lime zest if desired. Enjoy!