The mulberry thing originated with one prolific tree in the hedgerow closest to our house. For three weeks, we've been picking mulberries and combining them with other berries that have come ripe here on the farm: first strawberries, then currants, then gooseberries and now blackcaps. I've served the bounty with one creamy cultured dairy concoction after another, thanks to our milking goats: yogurt, maple syrup kefir, creme fraiche, labneh and finally frozen vanilla custard. But it seemed to me the fourth week of mulberry harvest required a substantial (and moist and tart and somewhat sweet) base on which to be adequately elevated, and celebrated. That old Pound Cake would do the trick nicely, but the recipe was gone and a Pinterest search turned up nothing that seemed to approximate what I was remembering.
Then one humid afternoon, I took a cool bath and read a chapter of Molly Wizenberg's delightful food memoir "A Homemade Life." And there it was! The recipe I was looking for -- my childhood pound cake, all grown up and pleasantly more sophisticated than the original. I slightly adapted her "French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon" to accommodate the lemon balm I've got growing in the gardens and made it a tad thinner so I could put generous yellow wedges under my dark purple mulberries. The highlight of the original Pound Cake was always the tart, thin lemon-juice-powdered-sugar glaze drizzled over the top, but baking in a loaf pan allowed for just a tiny sliver of the glaze with each slice. Wizenberg's genius cake shape AND double glaze gives more of that tart punch. For more of her wonderful recipes (and stories) see her blog, Orangette.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal or flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp finely minced lemon balm leaves
1/2 cup whole-milk plain yogurt, well stirred
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup fruity olive oil, or pure
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/2 TBSP yogurt or heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9-inch cake pan (I used a 10-inch springform to get a thinner cake) with butter or olive oil. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, and grease it too. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add lemon zest and whisk to mix thoroughly. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar and eggs, stirring to mix well. Add flour mixture, stirring just to combine. Add oil and stir well. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Don't overbake! Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, and carefully invert the cake onto a wide, flat plate or pan. Discard parchment. Flip cake carefully back onto the rack so that the shiny domed side is facing up. Set rack over a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, whisk the syrup ingredients until lumps disappear. Spoon syrup over the cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Cool completely on rack. In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients. Whisk well to remove lumps. Spoon and spread OR drizzle the glaze over the cake in ribbons. Serve immediately with soft icing, or allow the icing to firm up for about an hour. Serve plain or with fruits.