Yogurt Cake Revisited
Marbled Yogurt Cake

Yogurt Cake Revisited

chocolate and orange
Yogurt Cake with Orange Marmalade

I have a dinner coming up, and I want to make a delicious but simple cake for dessert.  I considered plenty of options and settled on an old favorite, Yogurt Cake.  This, as those of you who have read On Rue Tatin, is a cake I discovered one day at my son’s school during a birthday party for a girl named Audrey.  I’d been to lots of school birthdays and tried lots of cakes, homemade and otherwise. This one made my taste buds sit up and take notice because it was lightly, perfectly vanilla scented, marbled with flavorful chocolate, rich with eggs, not too sugary. In short, the perfect cake, for me and every other person in the classroom.

It turns out that it’s the most banal cake in the French repertoire, made by school children since the 1950’s when some brilliant soul – I suspect someone who worked at Danone, but I haven’t been able to prove that – came up with the idea of having all the ingredients measured in an empty yogurt pot.  So, it was perfect for kids who loved mixing together 1 pot of yogurt, three pots of butter, four pots of flour, two pots of sugar and one pot of eggs and getting a cake to eat out of the whole exercise, for their afternoon snack, or goûter.

The reason I suspect Danone may be responsible for this cake is because thanks to an enterprising Spaniard named Isaac Carosso, yogurt was first made industrially in Barcelona through a system he invented.  His son Daniel brought yogurt to France in the form of a pill, called a “Vygardine,” which had little success. So, in 1929, Mr. Carosso junior launched a yogurt company called: “Société Parisienne du Yaourt Danone,” and the rest is history, in terms of French – and western European –  yogurt.  And, this is why I think someone at Danone invented the ever popular yogurt cake.

gateau marbre
Marbled Yogurt Cake

The cake endures not because kids love to make it by measuring the ingredients in little yogurt pots, though moms I know tend to find this pretty fun and easy too.  It’s because it tastes so good.  After all, I live in a country where gorgeous pastry shops are on every street corner offering delicate, shattery pastries that send you to heaven.  Yet yogurt cake is eternally in vogue and always popular.  It not only appeals to the French palate, but it appeals to the French home cook who can whip it up – with or without the children – in minutes and present its tender loveliness moments later.  It was a frequent offering for the afternoon snack, or goûter, at my house because it’s so quick and easy. You can  also fold into the batter everything from chocolate to apples to fresh cherries to raisins to…well, you see that the possibilities are manifold.

For my dinner, then, I choose to make the chocolate swirl version, which I will present with a small, sparkly amount of bitter orange marmalade, issue from my kitchen.  There will be accolades, I know, because I’ve done this before.  And while there would also have been accolades for the patissier’s wonderful pastries, they wouldn’t have been the same. Because everyone, no matter who they are or where they come from, loves a home-made cake.

The recipe is below. Note that I’ve translated the quantity of ingredients from the yogurt pot, to a more universal measure!

 

Print Recipe
YOGURT CAKE – GATEAU AU YAOURT
This simple cake goes together in minutes. I melt the butter and the chocolate over the pilot lights on my stove. Do that before you measure out anything else, then by the time you’re ready for them, they’ll be cool enough (even if they’re lukewarm) to use. I love to serve home-made orange marmalade, just a small mound, alongside this cake. Normally, you melt chocolate in a double boiler, but if this feels like a complication, and you have a burner on your stove to go very, very low, just melt the chocolate here, stirring it often so it doesn’t stick. I normally don’t recommend microwaves (ask me later), but if you’ve got one of course you know, they do make good chocolate melters.
YOGURT CAKE – GATEAU AU YAOURT
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Prep Time 15 minutes max
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons (½ cup; 4ounces;125g) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces (60g) bitter chocolate preferably Lindt 70%,
  • 1-1/2 cups (200g) all-purpose, bleached flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • PInch fine sea saltPinch
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (200g) vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) plain full-fat yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons best-quality vanilla extract
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Prep Time 15 minutes max
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 8 tablespoons (½ cup; 4ounces;125g) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces (60g) bitter chocolate preferably Lindt 70%,
  • 1-1/2 cups (200g) all-purpose, bleached flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • PInch fine sea saltPinch
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (200g) vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) plain full-fat yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons best-quality vanilla extract
YOGURT CAKE – GATEAU AU YAOURT
Instructions
  1. Butter and flour one 9-1/2 inch (24cm) round cake pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190C; gas 5).
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat, remove the heat and cool. Melt the chocolate in a small pan over very low heat, checking and stirring it often. Remove from the heat to cool.
  3. Sift together the flour, the baking powder and the salt onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.
    Sift together the flour, the baking powder and the salt onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they are light , fluffy, 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.
    In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they are light , fluffy, 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.
  5. Pour two-thirds of the batter into the prepared cake pan. Fold the melted chocolate into the remaining one-third of the 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
    Pour two-thirds of the batter into the prepared cake pan. Fold the melted chocolate into the remaining one-third of the 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
  6. 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 30 minutes.
    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 30 minutes.
  7. 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.
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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Cathy

    What a fun concept with the yogurt pots! The cake looks gorgeous and inviting. I can’t wait to try it.

    1. Susan

      It’s fun, takes up time (!) which, when you’re teaching kids you know how valuable THAT is! And it turns out to be delicious…

  2. Liesbeth

    Is 200 g vanille sugar not to much. We buy it in 5 gram sachets.

    1. Susan

      Hello Liesbeth,

      I’m not talking about that in sachets. You can make vanilla sugar – put a vanilla bean in your sugar, wait one week and voila! You have vanilla sugar. If you want to use sachets, use 2 – measure them, and remove that much from the sugar amount. Sound good?

  3. Michelle

    I have been making this cake for years, since your book came out. It is by far one of my favorite recipes. Absolutely delicious. 👍🏻😀

    1. Susan

      MIchelle! Thank you so much. I made it for a fancy Parisian birthday party. Split it in half and filled with orange marmalade, then “frosted” it with ganache. It was THE hit of the party!

  4. Suzanne

    It looks lovely! Is there an ingredient that can be a substitute for the eggs?

    1. Susan

      Hello Suzanne, I don’t have experience with egg substitution, but you can try chia seeds, pureed apple, or pureed banana, or aquafaba (the water from chickpeas). There may, of course, be flavor changes. Let me know what you try, ok?

      1. Suzanne

        Thank you. I will let you know.

        1. Susan

          Good! Look forward to hearing!

  5. Susan Lampley

    Since I have a new grand-daughter and am looking forward to a future of spending lots of time with her in the kitchen baking (and learning), could you post the recipe using the yogurt pots (or do I use the one stated above?) and what size yogurt pots — the glass ones like they have in France? I know this is a lot of “fuss” but it really would be fun to do with kids….

    1. Susan

      Susan – yes, it’s the glass containers you find in France. They hold about 1/2 cup each! Have fun!

  6. marina dykhtan

    Hi Susan, thank you for your recipes. I have read your book with pleasure! I have a question. This cake, I made it three times already. The question i have is this: every time i make it, it’s quite dense, and doesn’t rise much, not like in your photo. What could be the culprit? overmix possibly? in that case, how would you suggest to mix flour with eggs? it does become quite dense then already.

    1. Susan

      Hello, Marina –

      The most probable culprit is your baking powder, which . may be too old, so exchange it for more recent baking powder. The other thing may be that you’re not quite beating the eggs and sugar enough – they should be light and lemon colored. Try it again!!! It is not, though, a light cake like genoise. It has some muscle.

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