[Raspberry Yogurt Cake]
Gâteau au Yaourt is a staple in French home baking : it is very easy to make and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it. Its particularity is to call for a pot de yaourt (a tub of yogurt), and to use the empty pot to measure out the rest of the ingredients. This no-scale recipe is a notable exception to the French usage, in which quantities are measured by weight rather than volume.
It is very popular with kids, who love a simple, moist and fluffy cake. But what they particularly enjoy is that they can make it almost entirely on their own, perched on a kitchen stool. There is no complicated step, no scale to manipulate, and with the intensive sandbox training they have, they are usually experts at the emptying and filling of small-sized containers.
The basic gâteau au yaourt recipe (there are actually different versions, one of them is the one below, minus the ground almonds and raspberries) lends itself to a lot of great variations. You can add citrus juice, zest, or peel for a delicious lemon or orange cake, you can add chocolate chips or nuts to the batter, you can slice the baked cake in two and spread a layer of jam in the middle, you can frost the cake with a chocolate frosting — whatever strikes your fancy.
When I offered to bring the dessert for dinner at our friends Anne and Olivier’s place the other night, I decided to make a spring-inspired version of this cake, adding some almond powder and layering raspberries into the batter.
Everything went well, but I had a little trouble unmolding it. Patience is not my forte, and although I knew I should let it sit for a few minutes first, I just had to try and unmold it right away, all the while murmuring to myself “you know you shouldn’t you know you shouldn’t”. All this got me was the top half of the cake upside down on a plate, and the bottom half still stubbornly stuck to the pan. Unfazed and armed with The Mighty Spatula, I had to scrape off the cake pieces from the pan, and patch up the cake as best I could, before flipping it onto a cooling rack. Who knows, maybe some day I will learn.
Despite this little incident, I was very pleased with the result : the cake develops a slight crust while the inside is moussy and aerated, and the berries bring a very pleasant moistness and a delightful tart flavor. Since it is such a subtly sweet cake, it would be perfect for breakfast or brunch.
Gâteau au Yaourt à la Framboise
- 2 tubs of plain yogurt (one tub is 125 ml, the French standard, which amounts to 4 oz, or half a cup)
Use one of the empty tubs to measure out :
- 2 tubs of brown sugar
- 1/2 tub of oil
- 3 tubs of sifted flour
- 1/2 tub ground almonds
You will also need :
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tbsp (one packet) baking powder
- a good pinch of salt
- 300 g raspberries (fresh or frozen — no need to thaw them if they’re frozen)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F). Copiously grease and flour a 9-inch (22 cm) round cake pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, the oil and the sugar with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. In a medium bowl combine the flour, the baking powder, the salt, and the almonds. Add the flour mixture to the batter in three or four additions, and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.
Alternatively, use your food processor to mix the batter, adding the ingredients in the same order as indicated above.
Pour half the batter into the cake pan. Cover evenly with half of the raspberries. Pour the other half of the batter, and arrange the other half of the raspberries on top.
Put into the oven to bake, for 50 to 60, until the top is springy and a cake tester comes out clean. If it looks like the top of the cake is browning too quickly, cover with foil for the rest of the baking time. Let rest on the counter for ten minutes — I repeat : let rest on the counter for then minutes — then run a knife around the cake to loosen it, remove from the pan, and transfer to a rack to cool completely.