Mise en place for yogurt cake

Mise en place for yogurt cake

Mise-en-place is a technical term which, when referring to cooking, means “setting up”. It involves all of those minute details, like weighing and measuring, that you take care of before you actually begin to cook.

A well written recipe includes the mise-en-place in the list of ingredients, by telling you how much you need of each, and what you need to do to it. When you reach the last ingredient in the list, your mise-en-place is done and you’re ready to cook. Doing careful mise-en-place acts like a sedative – when you’re finished with it you’re calm and confident. You know your ingredients, they’re sliced, minced, diced and melted, all ready to go. The only thing left to do is have some fun.

To get an idea of mise-en-place, take a look at the recipe here for yogurt cake, a quintessential sweet in the French repertoire. It is one children often learn to make at school and that mom’s (or the occasional dad) make when time is short. It is often served for that magical French after-school “meal,” the gouter.


Most of the ingredients, clearly listed, simply need to be weighed or measured. The dry ingredients need sifting, and the butter needs melting. So does the chocolate.

While those two things are happening, you can proceed to step 1 of the method. In baking, this is the final part of the mise-en-place, because it tells you how to prepare your pans, and at what temperature to pre-heat the oven.

When those two tasks are finished, the butter and chocolate are melted and cool enough to use and you can continue with the recipe. It’s a snap – you follow the instructions, the ingredients are all ready and voila! You’ve got yogurt cake batter ready to pour into the prepared pan.

Imagine if you hadn’t done mise-en-place. You’d get to step 3 and realize you had to melt the butter. But your dry ingredients are already blended with the eggs and sugar. This means the baking powder is activating and it may begin to turn bitter.   Suddenly, there is pressure to add hot melted butter and chocolate to the batter; the success of your cake is compromised.

Fortunately you understand the importance of mise-en-place and your recipe leads you to do it, so this will never happen to you.

Mise-en-place is key to a great cooking experience. When you’ve done it well, it gives you confidence and makes cooking easy, really, really easy.

The cake

The cake



1-1/2 cups (200g) all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch fine sea salt

3 large eggs

1 cup (200g) vanilla sugar

½ cup (125ml) plain, full-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon best-quality vanilla extract

8 tablespoons (½ cup;4ounces;125g)) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 ounces (90g) bitter chocolate, preferably Lindt 64%, melted in a double boiler, then cooled

1. Butter and flour one 9-1/2 inch (24cm) round cake pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190C; gas 5).

2. Sift together the flour, the baking powder and the salt onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they are light and pale yellow. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the eggs and sugar, whisking to incorporate them as you do. Fold in the yogurt and vanilla, then the melted butter.

4.  Pour half the batter into the prepared cake pan. Fold the melted chocolate into the remaining batter until it is thoroughly combined. Pour the chocolate batter on top of the plain batter that is already in the cake pan and run a rubber scraper through the batter several times to swirl the two batters together.

5.  Bake the cake in the center of the oven until it is slightly mounded and your finger leaves a very slight impression when you touch the top of it, about 25 minutes.

6.  Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire cooling rack. Serve when it is fully cool, or the following day. If you like, you may dust the top with powdered sugar.

About 8 servings





Tagged with →  
Share →

16 Responses to Yogurt Cake Mise-en-Place

  1. Paula Savage says:

    Looks like a delicious recipe! That looks like a models hand sifting the flour! Looking forward to visiting Paris next month. Hello from Middleton MA, USA!

  2. This is such an important step before starting any recipe. I’ve gotten “caught” a few times, and if I had prepared my ingredients in advance, would have avoided a couple kitchen disasters, like…burnt apple compote!

  3. Isabel says:

    I have made this yogurt cake many many times and is a firm favourite of our family and friends in Sydney.

  4. […] stumbled upon this recipe and it sounded so lovely and it got me daydreaming about Paris. I decided to use this recipe […]

  5. Holly Boyle says:

    This looks Devine. Simple and Devine.

  6. Linda Karpowich says:

    Susan when you spoke at Warwick’s in La Jolla recently, you mentioned the best yougurt cake recipe that you got from a school cake sale. Is this the cake?? or is there a different recipe.

  7. Katie says:

    Trying this recipe today as all the others using oil I am just not too sure of! I feel sure that the mamie’s of old would have used butter and not oil. I am a non-French mamie so it is a must I get this gouger favourite fixed in my repertoire 🙂 Big thanks.

    • Susan says:

      Katie, I’ve never seen oil in this recipe, but I haven’t looked for it either When a cake or sweet bread recipe calls for oil (zucchini bread, for example) I always use melted butter instead. Tastes better, isn’t oily. This recipe may have originated with oil, but…good luck. It’s a simple great one.

  8. Katie says:

    Naughty spell text . . . Meant gouter!

Leave a Reply