I’ve found myself overstocked with yoghurt after three weeks of freebies that the people from Yoplait gave out at the end of the Manawatu Striders 7km run/walk series.
I came across an interesting recipe for a French Yoghurt Cake on various blogs and websites and thought I would try it for myself. I was particularly attracted to the fact it was described as an excellent breakfast cake and that requires no frosting. Apparently it is one of the first things young French girls learn to bake. There’s no difficult measuring involved because you use your empty yoghurt pot for everything other than the baking powder. As I frequently do, I surfed for recipes and then created my own by picking out the most common measurement across the various recipes. In this case the widest variation was in the amount of oil. You can check the other recipes out yourself if you wish:
Chocolate and Zucchini
Let’s Cook French
from the BBC
My Treasure…My Pleasure
French Yoghurt Cake
1 pot (mine was 150g) yoghurt – any flavour
2 pots sugar
½ - 1 pot oil (use a mild one such as canola or grapeseed – I used Alfa One rice bran oil)
3 pots all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
Flavouring as desired eg vanilla, cinnamon
Diced fruit, chocolate chips etc
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl but do not overmix
Pour into a greased and lined cake pan and bake at 180 C/350 F til done.
My comments and observations:
The first time around I used 1 cup of oil and accidentally (I didn’t realise this til later) used a lite/diet yoghurt.
To enhance the raspberry yoghurt I added some chopped dried strawberries, a handful of fresh blueberries that were rolling about in the bottom of my fridge and a handful of frozen raspberries.
The cake browned quite quickly but there was a definite wet spot in the middle so I had to cover it with foil until it was done. I used an 8” x 8” pan and figure it took 20-30 minutes. I tend to test my cakes when I start to smell them baking and I always set my timer for about 10 minutes less than any recipe suggests.
The cake turned out moist and tender and the raspberries were a delightful tangy surprise. If anything I thought the cake could have been a little less sweet.
Second time around I used a rich, sweet, lemon yoghurt and because it was a creamier style I cut the oil back to ½ a pot
I cut the sugar back by 1 tablespoon per pot
To enhance the lemon flavour I added ¼ cup fresh lemon juice and some lemon zest
Lastly I added a couple of pots of frozen blueberries
I had the same sticky middle and unfortunately ended up overcooking the cake by the time the middle was done. Next time I’ll use a ring tin as I think the texture could stand it.
I don’t know if it was the reaction of the lemon juice with the baking powder but my second cake turned out much taller than the first one.
Overall I think the cake has vast potential and the mixture seems to be forgiving. I very much like the no brainer method of dumping everything in together and of course that I don't have to mess around with icing. I’ll give it a couple more tries before deciding whether it will be a permanent addition to my baking repertoire.
Imagine the variations....
Blueberry yoghurt with berries, almond extract and ground almonds
Plain yoghurt with chocolate chips and vanilla essence and perhaps a mashed banana or two
Apricot yoghurt with chopped dried apricots
Peach yoghurt with sliced peaches and cinnamon
Berry yoghurt with raspberries and white chocolate