The Dorie Greenspan cake we all should know

If you asked me to choose one Dorie Greenspan recipe — from her fourteen cookbooks, and three decades of welcoming bakers to the fold — to recommend to any beginner or busy cook, the lemony cloud of her French Yogurt Cake would already be baking in my brain.

Because yes, we all need a simple, trustworthy cake that requires only bare-bones ingredients and gear, but especially one like this, with a signature step so joyful Dorie has named it The Smoosh.

The gist of The Smoosh, which she learned from pastry chef Pierre Hermé, is this: Pinch lemon zest — or other citrus, fresh herbs, or the belly of a vanilla bean — into sugar; watch (and smell) it all become exponentially more lemony than the zest alone. “Smoosh any time you can,” Dorie says.

And, by the way, I did have to choose one Dorie recipe — but I also got greedy. When I asked Dorie if I could include her iconic cake in our forthcoming “Simply Genius” cookbook, she generously handed it over, and three of her favorite riffs on it, too.

One of them was a summery spin streaked with blueberries and thyme, but still simple enough that the college students in her latest Zoom class had baked it in their dorm room toaster ovens.

While the rest of “Simply Genius,” the third child in our Genius Recipes cookbook series, will be here in September, in the meantime I wanted to hustle this one to you, while there are blueberries to pick and picnics and road trips to outfit, though you can also bake it forever with frozen blueberries — or any other fruit you want.

(For anyone who pre-orders the book now, there’s also an instant bonus sneak peek of 14 new recipes and riffs to start cooking before the whole caboodle gets here — here’s more on that.)

And now, here’s Dorie’s latest riff on her any day, any season, any way you want it cake, as it will appear in “Simply Genius.” Smoosh away.

Recipe: Blueberry-Thyme Yogurt Cake from Dorie Greenspan


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