Moist-crumbed and heady with exotic yuzu, you will want to slice into this good-natured French yogurt cake as soon as it is pulled from the oven. Resist the temptation, my friends, because it tastes even better the next day. And the next. Serve with the freshest summer berries.
Besides polenta cakes (fill your boots here), yogurt cakes are my favourite cakes to bake. And truthfully, they are my favourite to eat. It is not just that they are so flipping easy. I adore the slightly open yet moist (a most hated word to some, but unavoidable here) texture. And the fact it gets better with age and offers up a beautiful, lactic-meets-barely-sweet taste. These French yogurt cakes are just heavenly.
I had my first such cake at the home of one of Rachel’s nursery school chums, a French, ringlet-haired sweetheart with the biggest brown eyes I’ve ever seen. The family lived in a minuscule flat in an exceedingly quaint whitewashed 18th-century building, overlooking the River Almond. Although the walls were subsiding a bit and there was the constant threat of damp, the girl’s mum managed to not only work from home as a translator, Céline was also the most incredible baker.
This was back in the days when I really didn’t know much about baking. I didn’t grow up in a cakey house so was intrigued and delighted by the procession of cakes, breads and other bakes that would emerge from Céline’s tiny, seen-better-days oven. To her, it was really no big deal: fougasse, eclairs, cheesy bacon-flecked bread, fairy cakes and, best of all, yogurt cake.
Every day she baked. I was really quite in awe of her. Neat as a pin flat, two children under the age of five, self-employed in what she trained for, AND an enviable baker. One day I plucked up the courage to ask for some recipes. After a quizzical look (I think because they were such easy recipes; why didn’t I know them already) she duly pulled out a pad from her tidy desk and wrote out not only her basic bread recipe but also the secret to my favourite, her yogurt cake. From vague recollection, this was literally one of those recipes that stipulated a yogurt pot of this and a yogurt pot of that. I made it a few times, successfully, but managed to lose her recipes – in her beautiful, curly French hand, – in the great cull of 2001.
We lost touch when they moved back to France so I was never able to ask again for those recipes. She, whose name I had to sieve through my mind just now to recall, introduced me to good, straightforward baking.
I can’t say that I bake a lot for us. In fact, my poor Rachel would say, when she used to see me baking, “that’s for Maggie’s, isn’t it?” Yes, I bake for my nutrition groups, mainly uber healthy, often vegan. But sometimes we treat ourselves to cakes such as this. And I wish I could thank charming, very French Céline for sharing her cake, wisdom and cool Gallic vibe with me.
Of course, it did not rub off.
Oh, while I’m here, my recipe subs some of the flour with homemade oat flour. I share this tip and a number of other healthy baking tips over on McCarthy & Stone for their campaign supporting Royal Voluntary Service’s annual GrandFest event. Tips on crafts of all kinds will be on this link, too. Go have a look. 🙂
Are you a devotee of the French yogurt cake? Do you have a French pal who simultaneously makes you feel both cool and hopelessly inadequate? Probs not the latter…
Yuzu French Yogurt Cake
Moist-crumbed and heady with exotic yuzu, you will want to slice into this good-natured French yogurt cake as soon as it is pulled from the oven. Resist the temptation, my friends, because it tastes even better the next day. And the next. Serve with the freshest summer berries. xx
150g (1 cup) plain/AP flour
50g (1/2 cup) oat flour, made by blending the oats in a blender/food processor (or use all flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine salt
45ml (1/4 cup) oil of choice (I use a fruity mild olive oil)
65g (1/2 cup) unrefined caster sugar/superfine sugar
3 large organic eggs
165g (3/4 cup) plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
130g (scant 1/2 cup) yuzu marmalade (often called yuzu honey tea) – I get mine cheaply from my local Chinese supermarket + extra for glazing. You could use grapefruit marmalade although yuzu is quite different (better!)
1. Preheat the oven to 160C fan/180C/350F. Oil and base-line a 1 lb loaf tin.
2. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt; stir in the oat flour.
3. Use electric beaters to whisk together the oil, sugar and eggs; whisk in the yogurt and vanilla. Tip in the dry ingredients and beat just until mixed. Fold in the yuzu marmalade by hand.
4. Pour the ridiculously tempting batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes – up to one hour if at all wobbly in the middle or if an inserted skewer or sharp knife comes out anything but clean.
5. Completely cool on a wire rack before cutting into slices and serving with freshly whipped cream or yogurt, and fresh fruit.
Ripe for Pinning
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