Tag Archives: quick bread

Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Yogurt Cake

If you have read my blog for a while now, you are pretty familiar with the fact that I adore the Barefoot Contessa. Some people love Kobe or Tom Brady, some love Meryl Streep, some love JT, Adele, Ryan Gosling, or Bono. But me, I love Ina.


One thing, well, there are many things, but one thing in particular that you will never see on my blog are the words “recipe adapted from the Barefoot Contessa”. 

I love taking a basic recipe idea and tweaking it to add my own unique touches – that is half the fun of cooking. And I will ALWAYS give credit where credit is due but I will never adapt Ina. It can’t be done. I can’t add anything that she hasn’t already perfected. At least according to my taste buds and that is why I love her. Well that and the fact that I feel like I could pull up a chair in her barn (LOVE the barn) and talk with her for hours over coffee and oh, I don’t know, Lemon Yogurt Cake.

And that is just what I am going to share with you today. What a coincidence. Lemon Yogurt Cake, one of my absolute, all-time, favorite “tessa”, as my five-year-old calls her, recipes. We watch her show quite a bit if you couldn’t guess.


Originally, I had planned on sharing the crustless Quiche recipe I’ve been working on but it still needs some work before I put it out there; the finished product is too “liquidy”. Oh, if only I could pick up the phone and give Ina a ring …

“Ina, hi, it’s Dani. I’m great. Yes, the kids are fine. Thanks for asking. How’s Jeffrey? So glad to hear it. Listen, what are your thoughts on mini-crustless Quiche that turns out  just too soft and liquidy?”

And yes, she would know just what I mean by “liquidy”.

You have your dreams. I have mine.


The Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Yogurt Cake


So why is this one of my favorite Barefoot recipes?


Lemons. I love lemon anything.

No mixer, just a whisk and a bowl – that I love!

It is light, made with yogurt and vegetable oil but it still has an incredibly rich flavor.


And the lemon simple syrup … WOW!

In prepping for this post, I happened to discovered yet another thing I love about this recipe;

it is forgiving.

What do I mean exactly? Well, you know when you are outside weeding and suddenly you think “OH CRAP! MY CAKE” and run for the back door, bursting into the kitchen to find your assistant lying on the couch, remote in hand as he glances up and casually says “mommy dat stove been beepin”.

Forgiving like that.

Just keepin’ it real. And I can say crap – my kids don’t read my blog yet.



Lucky for him, he’s just too cute to fire.

Lemony. Quick. Easy. Moist. Light. Delicious. AND Forgiving. That is why I love this cake.

Note: the only thing I do a little differently than Ina (I know, I can’t believe I’m saying that) is simply that I don’t often add the glaze to the top as we are not big “frosting” people. We like the cake as is, moist with a bright lemon tang that is just right and not overwhelming. Although the glaze is a nice touch and I do add it when I’m making the cake as a gift.

In retrospect, this probably would’ve been a good time to add the glaze. Then you might have never known about the over-baking. Mistake covered up. But that’s just not my style. I’d rather have a little fun with it.


Besides, Ina is so good that even when life happens and you overbake one of her recipes, all is not lost and you can still …


I promise, I’ll bake a prettier one with glaze and update the post; just for you guys and for Ina. Her wonderful cake deserves a little bit better representation. But for now, let’s just bask in the freedom of admitting we aren’t perfect. And that’s okay! Besides, this is nothing. Oh the epic kitchen fails I could share with you – maybe someday.

Of course, you are MOST welcome to comment and share any of your memorable kitchen failures. I would LOVE to hear about them. We can be blissfully less than perfect together.

Zucchini Bread

I mentioned a while back that I am working my way through some treasured family recipes which at some point will culminate into a family cookbook. Many of the recipes I am making right now originated with my Grandma Elizabeth or Ibby as she was known to those closest to her.


When I came across this photo, I couldn’t help but spend some time with it; really looking at it. Studying my grandmother’s face and bearing. Remembering her.  It is a beautiful picture of her, but not just of her. As I take it in, I see my aunt, my mother, my sister, myself. I wish I could tell her but I’m pretty sure she knows just how fondly she is remembered.

I remember the aroma and the warmth of her zucchini bread; fresh from the oven, a pat of rich butter melting into the moist crumb. I remember all of the times my mom made it for us just as grandma Ibby had made it; the rich flavor of cinnamon and bright hint of orange making it absolutely irresistible.

Zucchini Bread


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 Tbsp orange zest
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I like walnuts best in this)


Beat the eggs until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until well combined, another minute or two. Stir in the vegetable oil, vanilla, grated zucchini and orange zest.



In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon and then stir into the wet mixture until just combined. Fold in the chopped nuts.


Divide the batter between two buttered and floured 8×4 inch loaf pans.


 Bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes.


Let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to finish cooling,


or slice and serve warm with a little bit of butter.


This particular loaf was on its way to bible study along with Grandma Ibby’s bran muffins and some pretty tasty individual crustless quiche. I will share those recipes with you this week as well. Until then, I hope you will try the zucchini bread. My Grandma Ibby would be so happy to know that her “cooking” is still making some very special people feel loved and well fed.


“Real Good” Pumpkin Bread

Benjamin Franklin has been quoted as saying “Wine is constant proof that God loves us and wants to see us happy.” While I don’t disagree, I think the same can be said for pumpkin bread – well pumpkin anything really, but pumpkin bread in particular. It is especially true this time of year with the air turning cooler and the desire for the rich smells of fall to fill our kitchens with comfort and contentment.

The best pumpkin bread I have ever had is from a family recipe of my good college friend, Kathy. Her mom sent the recipe to me many years ago in a Christmas card and I have made it countless times and given it as a gift to just about everyone I know. The original recipe card was entitled “Aunt Gladys’ Real Good Pumpkin Bread”, circa 1925. “Real good”? A strange and simple sentiment and let me tell you, the understatement of the century!

This ‘Real Good’ pumpkin bread is in fact one of the most amazing, fantastic, over-the-moon delicious quick breads ever. Moist and tender and full of flavor yet incredibly simple to make. You can literally dump all of the ingredients together in a bowl, mix it up and it will turn out great. No sifting, no adding eggs one at a time, no slowly incorporating dry ingredients – this bread is forgiving, just another reason to love it.

Yesterday, I made some to put in a care package I was putting together for a friend who’d just had surgery. Of course, I saved a loaf for the family which was devoured almost instantaneously. By dinner time, Nathan, my five year old, was begging me to make more which I promised him I would do “tomorrow”.

This morning, my eyes barely open while waiting for the coffee to finish brewing, my sweet baby boy comes tromping into the kitchen, blanket dragging behind him. Normally I get a big hug and a precious “good morning mommy”. This morning, however, the first words out of his mouth were “mommy, you mayka dat pun-kin bread for me now?” He woke up thinking about pumpkin bread. This is just further confirmation that he is without a doubt, my son.

How could I say no to that? So Nathan and I did ‘mayka dat pun-kin bread’, together.

My helper dumping in the flour and giving me his “cheese-ball” smile.

Looking good!

When you are a boy who doesn’t like loud noises, even the mixer can be a little much. But pumpkin bread is worth it.

Would you like the recipe? Oh, good ’cause we’d love to share!

“Real Good Pumpkin Bread”

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 – 16 oz. can of plain pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup chopped walnut halves (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three loaf pans (or spray them with “baking” spray). Mix dry ingredients together (I dump them all in the bowl of my stand mixer and then mix them together for about 30 seconds – start slowly or you’ll have a messy cloud of dry ingredients hanging over your kitchen). Add oil, eggs, water, pumpkin and nuts and mix until ingredients are just combined.

Divide batter evenly between the three 4″x8″ loaf pans and bake for one hour (or 45 minutes for six small loaves). In my oven, 3 loaves bake up perfectly in about 55 minutes so be sure and check for doneness before the hour point as you don’t want to over bake. Also, I never put the nuts in. I like nuts but my husband and kids don’t and in this case, I have to agree that the bread is better without them.

Fresh from the oven, smells great!

I know one five year old who can hardly wait for it to cool off!

Finally it is done! That is one happy boy!

“Mmmmm, pun-kin bread. Thank you for makin’ me dat pun-kin bread mommy.” – Nathan

I hope you and yours enjoy this recipe as much as me and mine do. Be sure to leave a reply and tell me how it turned out for you – I’d love to know. Enjoy!