Next Friday, I’ll be seeing my family again. Looking forward to it as we were last together in Japan in August. And before that, it was in April 2012, when I went back to Singapore for various celebrations including my good friend’s wedding, my sister’s graduation and my mum’s birthday.

Here’s a little memory from April 2012:

It was almost midnight and my room was a mess with clothes all over my bed and bottles of Belgian beer, that I was going to “smuggle” home, waiting to be bound in bubble wrap and newspaper. I really should finish packing, but as always, I couldn’t help but procrastinate doing so.

Instead, I started fiddling with the raisins that had been soaking in rum for the last 30 minutes. Popped one into my mouth. Yum. Raisins on their own would qualify as one of my favorite foods. Raisins soaked in rum? double YUM.

Back to the raisins.

I once had made a cake with lots of raisins, lemon (zest and juice) and yogurt and AB declared that it was the best cake that I had made. A few days before I was going back to Singapore, I decided that I’ll bake a cake for my mother since the day I arrive in Singapore would be her birthday. The lemony yogurt raisin cake seemed like a good choice since it contains several ingredients that my mum likes and it’s easy enough to prepare.

Bake the cake I did. By the time the cake was done and adequately cooled, it was already past 3am.

Lemony yogurt raisin cake

The next morning, I was supposed to wake at 5am so that I could catch the first metro to Gare du Midi to take the train to Amsterdam Airport to hop onto the flight to Singapore. Sounds complicated?

Well, return flights from Brussels to Singapore almost always cost at least 300€ more than flights from Amsterdam and Paris, so it is usually cheaper and not necessarily a longer journey to take a train to one of the two cities to catch a flight to Singapore.

Le premier métro à Hôtel des Monnaies02LF

I wrapped the cake in aluminum foil and hoped that no one stops me at the airport customs for trying to bring home a brick of lemon, yogurt and raisins, and I shut my eyes for two hours.

I succeeded 🙂

Mummy's birthday surprise: Lemon yogurt raisin cake

Here’s my loose adaptation of the Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf recipe that I found on the Smitten Kitchen, which was in turn loosely based on Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake:

Lemon Yogurt Raisin Cake
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup yogurt (full fat version)
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups black / corinth raisins (preferably soaked in rum for 30 minutes and drained)
1/2 teaspoon rum (you can take some from the bowl that the raisins were soaking in)
1/3 cup freshly squeeze lemon juice (1/2 cup would be the most I’d go as beyond that, the cake would be too tart)
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 177°C. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Grease the pan.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, rum and oil. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Gradually add the raisins to the mixture and fold them in. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 50 (or a little more) minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, heat the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan, stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside to let cool.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack, with a sheet pan underneath. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in (using a pastry brush or pricking tiny holes with a toothpick helps the cake to absorb more of the lemony goodness). Let cool and serve whenever.

Keeps for at least three days at room temperature.

Tip: You can also make them as muffins (try a shorter baking time in case they burn).

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