Cyprus is known for its abundance of citrus fruit and throughout the island you can find oranges, lemons, limes, pomelos, grapefruits, tangerines, and many other local varieties that blossom in its fertile Mediterranean climate. You can use any kind of citrus for this cake, though I’ve suggested starting with oranges and lemons. The recipe is inspired by a tangy orange cake I ate at the Home café in Nicosia, a unique space that sits within the Green Line separating the North and the South of the island. I loved the flavor so much that I immediately went to the counter and asked what was in it, and they let me in on the secret of plain yogurt in the batter, which gives the cake a lovely soft crumb. As there is a lot of zest used in this recipe, I recommend buying organic or unwaxed citrus fruit. This cake keeps well in an airtight container for a couple of days, though I doubt it will last that long.
For the Cake
• 1 cup/ 225 g softened unsalted butter, plus more for the pans
• 1 3/4 cups/225 g all-purpose flour
• 1 cup/ 200 g granulated sugar
• 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup / 55 g full-fat plain yogurt
• 2 tablespoons finely grated unwaxed orange zest
• 2 tablespoons orange juice
For the Frosting
• 2/3 cups/ 80 g confectioners’ sugar
• 12 3/4 oz / 350 g full-fat cream cheese
• 1/4 cup/ 55 g full-fat plain yogurt
• 1 tablespoon orange juice
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Finely grated orange and unwaxed lemon zest, to serve
Preheat the oven to 35o°F/180°C. Butter 2 x 8-inch/20cm round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Place all the ingredients for the cake together in a large bowl and beat for a couple of minutes until just blended.
Divide the batter evenly between the 2 prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly golden. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack.
To make the frosting, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, yogurt, and orange and lemon juices and beat until smooth. Place this in the refrigerator to chill and firm up while the cake cools.
When the cake is completely cool, use an offset spatula to spread half the frosting on one cake. Place the other on top and cover with the rest of the frosting. Finish by decorating with a scattering of orange and lemon zests.