Years ago, I was paying my way through a postgraduate course by doing three part-time jobs. One of those jobs was typing for a print shop - I would stop by the shop every day on my way from classes to my evening secretarial job to drop off one lot of typing and pick up the next lot, and would do the typing at home that night. My computer lived in a walk-in cupboard off the hallway of my one-bedroom flat, and I would sit in the cupboard typing until late into the night.
I typed all sorts of stuff - essays by law students, dissertations on tropical diseases, a whole book on the history of Turkey, novels, a long letter to the queen from someone claiming to be her rightful heir... Some of it was fascinating, some tedious.
One night at about 11:30 pm, I was typing a collection of recipes from round the world. One of the recipes looked so simple that I just couldn't believe it. As I typed, I wondered whether this recipe could really work. I did a mental inventory of my kitchen and realised that I had all the ingredients in stock. As soon as I finished the typing, I rushed to the kitchen to try out the recipe.
An hour later (by this time, about 1:00 am), I had made my first yogurt cake. It was a great success - as was every single one of the dozens of yogurt cakes I have made since then. It's a beautifully light, moist sponge, perfect for decorating for birthdays and other special occasions. It's also so quick and easy to make that a toddler can do pretty much all the work of making it. I've made it with several of my nephews, nieces and children of various friends - and it turned out great every time.
It's also an incredibly easy recipe to remember - so here it is.
You can use any flavour of yogurt for this cake - the flavour of the yogurt will add to the flavour of the cake.
1. Pour one pot (individual serving) of yogurt into a bowl.
2. Use the empty yogurt pot to measure out into the bowl: 1 pot of vegetable oil, two pots of granulated sugar and three pots of self-raising flour.
3. Break in two or three eggs (depending on the size of your yogurt pot and the size of your eggs - I usually use three).
4. Mix all the ingredients together until smooth.
5. Pour mixture into a baking tin and cook in a medium oven (gas mark 4-5/180 degrees C/350 degrees F) for 35-45 minutes or until a knife poked into the middle comes out clean.
Try it - it really is as simple as that. And it tastes great too. Oh, and if you're having a big party it works equally well if you double all the quantities and make one big cake.
Use strawberry yogurt for the cake mix and decorate the completed cake with strawberries and fresh whipped cream.
Upside-down pudding - Use peach yogurt for the cake mix, put tinned peaches (without the juice) in the bottom of the baking dish, pour the cake mixture on top and serve hot with ice cream, cream or custard.
Split the cake in half, spread jam in the middle and sprinkle icing sugar over the top.
Flavours of yogurt with which I've made it that have worked well: toffee, hazelnut, vanilla, strawberry, raspberry, peach, pineapple, lemon...