Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Homegrown Herb Garden Review & Lemon Thyme and Yogurt Cake

Lemon Thyme Yogurt Cake: The Charm of Home
I am cooking with herbs today in a review of Homegrown Herb Garden: A Guide to Growing and Culinary Uses.  I love growing and cooking with fresh herbs.  Right now with snow on the ground I can't go to the garden and pick any fresh herbs but, I have the herbs I dried last fall and I am going to cook with them.  

Home Grown Herb Garden: The Charm of Home
This was a very useful book.  It was divided very simply into two parts; I. In the Garden, and II. In the Kitchen.  The garden section takes fifteen herbs and describes the basics about the herb, common varieties, care and feeding, how to grow in small spaces, and harvesting.  The book adequately instructs on the information needed to grow successfully your own herb garden.    

Lemon Thyme Yogurt Cake: The Charm of Home
Section two; In the Kitchen, takes the fifteen herbs and gives you two or more recipes to cook with each herb; as well as a section on Cooking with Herbs, with general information. The final chapter addresses herb combinations such as, Herbs de Provence.  I really found the book to very useful.  It had a lot of ingredients that is a challenge to find in my small Midwestern town, but you can easily substitute with wonderful results; just like I did when I baked this cake.  

Lemon Thyme Yogurt Cake: The Charm of Home
The recipe I chose was Lemon Thyme and Yogurt Cake.  This cake was perfect for afternoon tea.  It wasn't too sweet.  You can serve it with or without the frosting and just add berries over the top for summer.

Lemon Thyme and Yogurt Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

1 3/4 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup(stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar,divided 
3 large eggs, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste ( I used vanilla extract)
Zest of 1 Meyer lemon (I used a regular lemon)
2 teaspoons lemon thyme leaves (My lemon thyme was under 12 inches of snow so, I used my regular dried thyme.)
3/4 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
Fresh edible flowers, for garnish
*Note: I also sprinkled dried thyme on top of the cake and the family didn't like it as much as the plain frosting. 

For the frosting:
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar (I used 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese (I used cream cheese)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. 
Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar.  Once the butter is pale yellow, add the eggs yolks, vanilla, lemon zest, and thyme leaves.  Mix to incorporate well.
With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the yogurt to the batter.  First add one-third of the flour.  Mix.  Add half of the yogurt.  Mix.  Add another one-third of the flour. Mix.  Add the remaining half of the yogurt.  Add the remaining one-third flour.  Mix well. Remove the bowl for the mixer.  
Use a clean bowl for the stand mixer and whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites on medium speed.  When the eggs are foamy, add the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.  Mix on medium speed until soft peaks form and then turn the mixer up to high speed.  Whisk until the whites form stiff peaks. 
Use a spatula to incorporate one-third of the egg whites into the batter.  Fold the remaining egg whites into the batter in thirds.  
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Place the pan on a baking sheet in the middle rack of the oven.  Bake until the top is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.  Don't overbake.  Cool slightly in the pan and then remove to a wire baking rack. 
Frost the cake in a beautiful way using edible flowers for garnish.
*Note: I baked this cake in two Wilton 6-inch cake pans for 28-31 minutes.  I then stacked them to decorate into the naked cake style.
Yield: one 8-inch cake

Place the cream and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a whisk attachment.  Turn on to medium speed.  When the cream begins to thicken, pour in the sugar and turn the speed up to high.  Continue to whisk on high until the cream forms stiff peaks.  Turn the mixer off.  Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone cheese.  The frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. 
Yield: 1 cup   
Recipe copied from: Homegrown Herb Garden with adaptations made by me.

I would recommend this book for you cookbook collection.  It was very useful and I enjoyed using it and reading about the herbs.  It had classic recipes to try with fresh herbs as well as more gourmet dishes that would be a treat to cook.
Thank you to Quarto Publishing Group USA for providing me with this book for review.  The review and opinions were entirely my own.

I will link this to:

Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farm
Homemaking Linkup at Hope In Every Season 
The Best Blog Recipes link party 
Tickle My Taste Buds Tuesdays at Lori's Culinary Creations
Fridays Unfolded at Nancherrow
Weekend Retreat Linky Party at AKA Design and Life
Foodie Friends Friday at Walking on Sunshine
Project Inspire at An Extraordinary Day


Bernideen said...

This cake looks wonderful! What an interesting recipe and so glad you shared it!

martinealison said...


Tout comme vous j'aime utiliser les herbes dans la cuisine et dans mon jardin il y en a de toute sorte !
Merci pour le partage de votre recette...
Un très joli billet !

❁ Gros bisous ❁

angie said...

how delicious !!! thank you for the great recipe and the beautiful pictures !!! love greetings from angie

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Definitely my kind of cake, Sherry! Pinning it!

xinex said...

Looks really yummy!...Christine

Lou Lou Girls said...

Oh my…so delicious! I always get so excited to see what you have brought to the party! Pinned and tweeted. Thank you for being part of our party. I hope to see you on tonight at 7. Lou Lou Girls