Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf Disaster
As promised, I’m posting my outrageously unsuccessful attempt to make one of Sweet Pea’s blueberry recipes…
After much perusal of my list of options, the one that stood out the strongest (and seemed like I could make it fairly easily in my sister Caitlin’s small kitchen while she made guacamole and her boyfriend Eric prepped steaks for the grill) was the Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf. I’ve never really made a loaf before, but when I make another one (or if any of you have never made one and need to) I now have a few pointers by way of epic malfunction.
It all began promisingly enough. I had the ingredients; I had a pan; I had a kitchen. I put everything together and stuck it in the oven. (Failure part 1 – I totally forgot to take pictures during any of this. The light was bad anyway.)
A bit later, this came out. It looked beautiful. This is after an extra 15 minutes in the oven, though, because the first time it was still jiggly. (This might have been because I left the broiling pan above it on the top rack of the oven while it was backing. Failure part 2.)
While this was going on, we had already polished off the entire bowl of guacamole (Well, Caitlin and Eric did – Calin doesn’t eat avocados, and Caitlin chip-fed me about three bites while I was baking in an attempted diversion so that the two of them could not-so-subtly demolish the rest of it.) and Eric was diligently grilling peppers and corn on a broken grill, and prepping steak and bratwursts (is that how you spell those? I don’t eat brats). (Failure part 3 – not my project, but the grill was definitely malfunctioning. It’s a miracle Eric managed to cook anything on that thing, but he did, and it was all delicious, and all got cooked perfectly.)
I don’t generally eat steak, either, but the boys were jonesing for real meat, so I agreed to be a good sport and make an exception to my usual dietary restrictions. Every now and then, a girl’s gotta have some red in her diet that isn’t a bell pepper. And don’t those thin juicy slices look beautiful? (I ate from the far end, where things were a bit less pink.)
About the time the meat came off the grill, I figured it was time for the blueberry loaf to be ready. This is where things started to go really, truly wrong. Starting with me not knowing what the heck I was doing. For those of you who are trying to learn how to make a loaf, here’s where you should start taking notes:
1) Let the loaf cool completely before you decide to take it out of a pan. Really.
2) Run a knife around the edges of the pan before try to up-end it over a cooling rack.
3) A microwave rack is not the same as a cooling rack. The bars are much farther apart. Do not confuse the two, even if you don’t have a cooling rack. Use something that doesn’t have holes in it instead.
(I picked up my camera to take these pictures, and Caitlin took a break from plate preparation to laugh at me when I said mournfully “We have to document, even our failures.” Blogging isn’t just about getting it right – it’s also about being able to admit when you’ve flummoxed something entirely.)
There were still two parts left to the recipe, but I was fairly disheartened at this point. The recipe was a total success (Caitlin, Eric and Calin kept sneaking by and stealing chunks of disintegrated loaf – it was clearly delicious) but I had failed catastrophically. Also, the rest of dinner was ready and I couldn’t hold things up any longer. (In retrospect, perfect timing might have been waiting until *after* dinner to take the loaf out of the pan, but … another lesson learned.)
So dinner happened, uneventfully, with delicious steak and grilled peppers and corn, and afterwards while everyone sat digesting, I went back to my poor, collapsed loaf. A quick review of the situation suggested a possibility – bread pudding! So I went ahead to part two of the recipe, the lemon syrup. I skipped part three, the glaze (we actually didn’t have confectioners sugar anyway, so I was going to have to fake that part anyway), and instead put crumbled loaf into several small bowls and drizzled the lemon syrup over it all.
It wasn’t exactly what I set out to do, but we ate every bite, so it can’t have been that bad, right? Next time, though, I think I’ll slow things down a bit and try for something a little more loaf shaped. I was really looking forward to that glaze.
Side note: the lemon syrup is phenomenal, and so simple I would highly recommend making it for many other things in addition to this loaf. Maybe home-made Lemon Drop cocktails?
Makes one 9×5 loaf
For the Loaf:
- 1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed
For the Lemon Syrup:
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/3 cup sugar
For the Lemon Glaze:
- 1 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease bottom and sides of one 9 x 5-inch loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess.
- In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil.
- Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing loaf to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
- While the loaf is cooling, make the lemon syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Stir together the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.
- Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes.
- Remove from the heat; set aside.
- Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the warm loaf.
- Brush the top and sides of the loaf with the lemon syrup.
- Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again.
- Let the cake cool completely.
- To make the lemon glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 2-3 tablespoons of the lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable.
- Add up to another tablespoon of lemon juice if the mixture is too stiff.
- Pour the lemon glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides.
- Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.