French Yogurt Cake (Gâteau au Yaourt) is one of the first cakes children learn to bake in France. Traditionally, bakers measure out ingredients with a small glass yogurt cup. Recipes call for a jar of this and 2 jars of that, using the yogurt jar that has just been emptied into the mixing bowl. Adorable! Sadly, the allure of plastic has not escaped French supermarkets, but I still prefer the glass yogurt jars. They make cute little bud vases when empty!
Of course, in the U.S., you usually can’t find these glass yogurt cups. What’s more, yogurt comes in many different sizes. Luckily, the French glass yogurt cup is just about a perfect 1/2 cup size, so it’s an easy translation to U.S. cup measurements. Not nearly as cute, but much less room for error.
What is French Yogurt Cake?
Traditional French yogurt cake recipes feature just regular flour, sugar, baking powder, yogurt, eggs, and oil—the combination of yogurt and oil makes for a moist cake not quite as dense as a pound cake. And, the basic recipe is a delicious starting point for many other flavors. The addition of lemon zest and juice to the batter, and a glaze of lemon juice and powdered sugar, makes a superior lemon cake.
My favorite is this almond version, featuring almond flour and a sprinkle of almonds on top. Baking this cake sends a sweet nutty smell wafting out of the oven. You won’t want to wait to unmold your cake and take a bite. It needs nothing more than a sprinkle of powdered sugar to serve, though a handful of raspberries is a nice touch. Perfect for brunch or afternoon snack with a cup of tea.
Why Should You Use Yogurt in a Cake?
Yogurt is made from milk that has been heated to a certain temperature and then cooled slightly. A yogurt culture is added (or a dollop of already made yogurt), and the milk is then kept at a constant warm temperature for 6-12 hours, where it firms up into yogurt. Adding yogurt to cake batter adds liquid and fat, which will help make your cake moist. And, it can bring a very mild tang that balances some of the sugary flavor.
Is French Yogurt Cake Healthy?
As far as cakes go, French yogurt cake is not particularly UNhealthy. My recipe, which uses olive oil and yogurt, is healthier and lower calorie than most cakes made with butter. And, the almonds are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients. But, I can’t claim healthy for anything that includes 3/4 cup of sugar. So, healthy-ish? ????
How to Bake French Yogurt Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, almond flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and whisk gently. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract, and olive oil until the oil is fully incorporated.
Then add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until the batter comes together. Pour batter in pan, and sprinkle the nuts on the top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown, and a toothpick comes out cleanly.
Remove cake from oven and place onto a cake rack to cool. After 15 minutes, when cake is still warm, invert cake pan onto a plate to unmold. Then remove parchment paper, and flip right-side up again. Sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve, adding fresh berries if desired.
Here in France, blanched sliced almonds are much more easy to find than regular sliced almond. Luckily, either are fine to use. The beauty of this cake is that the almonds toast on top of the cake as the cake bakes. No need to toast them in advance! For yogurt, use plain, full-fat yogurt, the thicker the better. One difference between French yogurt and American yogurt is that French yogurt is traditionally thicker. If you’d like to get closer to a French yogurt, line a large measuring cup with some cheesecloth. Then pour in your yogurt and let drain for a couple of hours before using. You can also replace with greek yogurt, which is typically thicker. Using greek yogurt will add a little more tanginess to your cake, however.
Can I Make French Yogurt Cake in Advance?
Yes! This yogurt cake is delicious the day you make it, and maybe even more delicious the next day. To store, wrap in plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature. Yogurt cake will last up to 3-5 days wrapped at room temperature. You can also freeze yogurt cake, either whole or cut into individual slices and wrapped in plastic wrap. When you’re ready for it, thaw the cake in the fridge overnight. Take it out of the fridge an hour before serving to bring it to room temperature.
Other Delicious Dessert Ideas
If you’re curious about baking with almond flour, I have several other recipes that you might be interested in, some of which are completely gluten-free!
- butter, for greasing pan
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c. almond flour
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/4 t. kosher salt
- 1/2 c. plain, full-fat yogurt
- 3 eggs
- 1 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- 1/3 cup sliced or blanched almonds
- powdered sugar and berries, to serve, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt, and whisk gently.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, vanilla extract, and olive oil until the oil is fully incorporated.
- Then add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir just until the batter comes together.
- Pour the batter into the pan, and sprinkle the sliced almonds on the top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until top is golden brown, and a toothpick comes out cleanly.
- Remove cake from oven and put onto a cake rack to cool.
- After 15 minutes, when cake is still warm, invert cake pan onto a plate to unmold, remove parchment paper, and then flip right-side up again.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve, adding fresh berries if desired.
Yogurt cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for 3 days. Cake can also be wrapped in plastic and frozen. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, and let sit at room temperature an hour before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 497Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 316mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 4gSugar: 37gProtein: 10g
Nutrition information is provided as a general reference for users courtesy of the online nutrition calculator Nutritionix.