MY GRANDMOTHER, mother and aunt used to make this cake for family feasts, often cutting it into two layers with a piece of string and filling it with sweet cream to turn it into something more elaborate and festive. Its name means “the one with the yogurt.” It is also called yaourtopita on some islands, and there are plenty of variations on the basic formula.
The idea for the crunchy almond-and-sugar topping was given to me by
Serve the cake on its own or with vanilla or Mastic Ice Cream or with fresh fruit like oranges, tangerines or strawberries.
Sift together the flour and baking powder. Beat the flour mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, together with the brandy and lemon zest.
In a large bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold them into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, shake it gently to even the surface, and sprinkle with the almonds. Press them lightly with a spatula so that they are almost completely submerged in the cake batter. Sprinkle with the reserved
Stir the sugar or the sugar and honey (if using the marmalade, do not add it yet), water and lemon peel together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. If you are using marmalade, add it now. Add the brandy.
As soon as you remove the cake from the oven, remove the lemon zest from the syrup and very slowly spoon the syrup evenly over the cake, covering the entire surface. Let cool completely before serving. Store at room temperature.
© 2000 All rights reserved. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.