Cherry and Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

Cherry and Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake | A Sweet Spoonful

Somehow, in what seems to have been a blink of an eye, we have a six month old baby. In some ways I can’t remember a time we didn’t have an Oliver, and in other ways it’s all a blur broken up by a few holidays (a Thanksgiving thanks to grocery store takeout, and our very first Christmas in Seattle), a few family visits, a one-day road trip to Portland, a birthday dinner out, a birthday cake, weekend drives to nowhere in particular, swimming at the pool with Oliver, weekly get-togethers with our parent’s group, doctor’s visits, hundreds of walks around the neighborhood, hundreds of cups of coffee, dozens (or more?) of scoops of ice cream. Most of the worrying about keeping a baby alive has made way for other concerns, and Oliver’s need for constant stimulation or soothing walks and car rides has been traded for stretches of time playing with a new toy or checking out his surroundings. In truth, it’s thanks to that tiny bit of baby independence that this humble, summery cake came to be in the first place. So we’ve all got an Oliver to thank for that. Or, really, we have a Yossi Arefi to thank, as it’s from her beautiful new cookbook that I’ve bookmarked heavily and am eager to continue exploring.

Cherry and Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake | A Sweet Spoonful

I taught a cooking class last weekend and Sam and Oliver came to visit right at the very end. Oliver wore his favorite red moccasins and quickly made some new friends; Sam helped us eat leftover asparagus tart; and I boxed up some brownie ends and corners to eat later in the evening. I’m here to advise: brownie ends and corners taste their very best at about 11 p.m. As we were leaving, one of my students stopped me and asked how we possibly balance it all. This question always strikes me as tough (and I no longer ask it of people for that reason): Of course we feel like everything is immensely unbalanced and are constantly searching for time to exercise, eat better, cook something for dinner, procure something to make for lunch the next day, read the baby book on sleep habits that’s been sitting on the dresser for 2.5 months, read a non-baby book, water the lawn, figure out what’s killing the lawn, listen to Beyonce’s Lemonade — the list goes on. As it does for you. The stuff of daily life. The reason I bring it up is because the answer to her question is really that we tag team it so well. We have a pretty rigid weekly schedule where we trade off caring for Oliver, and Sam’s sister Christa helps us a few days each week. This way, we can aim to get most of our work done, and then we plan to fit the other things in later in the evening or on the weekends. And Oliver gets to chill in his own house with his own people.

The interesting thing about this tag-teaming is that we all have very different days with Oliver. It’s easy, when you’re talking about your baby, to think anyone’s experience would be similar: he sleeps about this time, he eats this much, he loves this toy, he loves walks in the carrier, white noise when he naps … and so on. But really a new person brings an entirely different layer to the unfurling of his days. When I’m with Oliver, we usually go for a long walk. We often make it to the grocery store, read books, eat avocado, practice crawling, sit in the backyard. When Sam’s with Oliver, they go pop in on Liz and her chickens, swing upside down, visit museums and the library, and walk to Essex in the early evening to have a quick drink before bringing home a takeout burger. Despite the fact she only lives four blocks away, I’d never known of Liz and her chickens until we all walked over that way recently. And I’d never thought to swing Oliver upside down. In his early fussy baby days, I didn’t have the guts to bring him to a museum. Christa’s days are different, too: she was the first to introduce him to the swings at the playground, and they go and visit her dog during the day and her son Kevin’s cat. She sings Row, Row, Row Your Boat and is trying to teach him to wave goodbye. We all have our things. And for that, I know that Oliver is so lucky.

Sam was out of town this past weekend and when I told him we were planning to go to the pool with our parents group, he said: “make sure you dunk him!” He likes getting Oliver used to the water by dunking him all the way under a few times, and I guess deep down I know that’s a good thing. But I can’t bring myself to do it. That’s not our thing. For that, he’ll just have to wait until his Papa gets home. I’m sure Liz and the chickens will be excited to see them stroll on by, too.

Cherry and Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

Cherry and Poppy Seed Yogurt Cake

  • Yield: One 9-inch loaf
  • Prep time: 15 mins
  • Cook time: 45 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr

The method of folding half of the cherries into the batter and scattering the other half on top ensures that you’ll always get a bite of sweet, jammy fruit in each slice.To mix things up on the fruit end, Yossi mentions substituting any berry or stone fruit that may be in season instead of using cherries. I love the kamut flour here because it’s warm and nutty, but if you have trouble finding it, feel free to use all-purpose flour instead — or experiment with whole wheat or spelt flour.

Adapted from Sweeter off the Vine

Ingredients

For the streusel:

1/4 cup (35g) kamut flour
2 tablespoons old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons natural cane sugar
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For the cake:

1 cup (120g) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (70g) kamut flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (150g) natural cane sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) olive oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (225 ml) plain yogurt
1/4 cup (60ml) freshly-squeezed lime juice
2 limes, for zest
1 1/2 cups (210g) pitted sweet or sour cherries

Instructions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Butter and flour a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan.

To make the streusel: In a small bowl, stir the flour, oats, sugar, poppy seeds and salt together. Add in the butter and use your fingertips to mix until small crumbs form. Set aside while you prepare the cake batter.

To make the cake: Whisk the flours, baking powder, poppy seeds, and salt together in a small bowl and set aside. Add the sugar to a large bowl and grate about 1 tablespoon of lime zest directly into the sugar. Use your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until evenly distributed. Add the oil, eggs, yogurt, and lime juice and whisk to combine. Add the flour mixture all at once, switch to a rubber spatula, and stir until just combined. Fold in half of the cherries.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and scatter the remaining cherries over the top. Sprinkle the streusel in an even layer over the cherries. Bake the cake until puffed and golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45-50 minutes. Let cool completely before slicing. This cake will keep for about three days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Comments

  1. Eve

    Ack! I could never dunk my baby!

    And that's probably why neither I nor my kid are especially great swimmers. I remember my mom pulling me from a swimming class at the age of FOUR because the instructor dunked me against my will. Just close your eyes and send him off with dad, I guess.

    When my kid was four, their dad took the training wheels off their bike when I was not home. I would never have done that. The kid learned to ride without training wheels in about two minutes. Having multiple parents really is a good thing.

  2. Meghan

    I guess I'll have to add that cookbook to my list of Megan-approved books! And I love the idea of thinking about your experiences with your child as so different to others--very poignantly written!

    1. megang

      Thank you, Meghan!

  3. Lydia

    I have an Oliver too, but he's almost 3. They taught us to dunk them in baby swim class. It's scary, but it's for the best. Just make sure you dunk him on an angle rather than straight down so the water doesn't go up his nose. Just a quick swoop under the surface.

    1. megang

      Yes, a friend taught us to blow a little air into his face right before you do it (sounds weird, I know) and that causes them to hold their breath so they don't suck in any water. It works! ~Megan

  4. Lydia

    Also, if this is the same cake David Leibovitz posted about a while ago, I've made it twice, it's so good.

    1. megang

      Yes, Lydia! I think it's the same one. I loved it, too! ~Megan

  5. Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

    Beautiful. Until reading this, I hadn't really thought about the different ways Joan sees the world when she's with different people. What a neat gift. Our babes are lucky to be so loved! x

  6. Stacy

    Yeah!!! Everyday cake for the win. I'm so glad you're finding moments to make treats like this one, and I'm also simply thrilled to hear about the goodness and relative balance of your days. Can't wait to see you and Sam's parenting in action someday, hopefully not so far off... xoxo

  7. Kate

    Such a beautiful post. It's true about parenting styles. Initially I thought Armando and I should do the same things with the kids but now I'm a bit grateful that he does the things I don't want to do but know the kids need. And YAY for yogurt cake with cherries!!! Enjoy your summer, Megan!

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