A simple French, and it need be noted, classic French cake is the Yogurt Cake, or should I say Gâteau au Yaourt.
With the simple addition of lemon zest and juice, this cake becomes Gâteau au Yaourt Citron, and it was in the pages of Aleksandra Crapanzano’s new cookbook that I found one of the simplest, versatile recipes and will be using it for many years to come.
Having already made this cake two times in a matter of a week, this is the cake you want to save in your memory (the ingredients are few and the steps simple), to make at the drop of a hat, whether for guests or yourself after a long day and you just want something satiating, comforting and simple.
~Gâteau au Yaourt Citron was a Petit Plaisir for episode #342 of The Simple Sophisticate podcast, 10 Items I Am Wearing This Fall for Timeless Style (and to stay warm and cozy)
~Shop E.Dehillerin’s non-stick straight side cake pans (many lengths)
The cookbook from where this recipe was adapted. Shop Aleksandra Crapanzano’s Gâteau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes (copyright September 2022)
Gâteau au Yaourt-Citron
- 1/2 cup (or 125 grams) whole plain yogurt
- 1 cup (or 200 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 cup (or 180 grams) of cake flour
- 1 zest of one lemon freshly grated zest of a lemon
- 1/2 cup neutral oil (grapeseed, sunflower or canola)
- 1-2 lemons for juicing
- 1 Tbsp limoncello (lemon liqueur) optional
- 1/4-1/2 cup (or 30-60 grams) powdered sugar (confectioners' sugar)
- lemon thyme leaves for decoration optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or 180 Celsius. Use fan or convection oven if possible.
- Prepare the cake tin. I used a non-stick rectangular narrow cake pan from E.Dehillerin (@25cm/10" in length). Even if it's non-stick you may want to cut out parchment paper to line the tin. This also enables a swift and safe removal of the cake.(Note: Crapanzano suggests using a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. The size of your cake pan or loaf tin will change the amount of time the cake bakes in the oven, so check throughout the latter half of the baking period for doneness.)
- In a medium mixing bowl, place the yogurt, add the eggs and combine the two ingredients. Then add the sugar. Combine well with a whisk. Add the flour and baking powder. Add the zest of the lemon. Whisk well. Then add the oil and whisk until all ingredients are combined.
- Pour into your prepared cake/loaf tin and bake for 35-45 minutes (in my oven and in the pan I used, the full 45 minutes was needed and it came out beautifully cooked through. To check, I tested the cake at 35 minutes using a knife. If after placing the knife into the middle of the cake, the knife comes out clean, the cake is done.
- Let the cake rest for 5-10 minutes before removing it from the cake tin, but no longer as you want to begin adding the glaze.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the juice of one lemon and limoncello with the confectioners' sugar. Whisk until a syrupy thickness is attained. I begin with the 1/4 cup powdered sugar, then gradually add the combined liquids until the consistency I prefer is reached. You want to have a glaze that you can pour with ease, but also that doesn't run like water.
- You will add the glaze after the cake is baked. Upon removing the cake from the cake tin, place the cake on a baking rake situated on top of wax or parchment paper to catch the drips. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake and let it sink into the warm cake.
- Enjoy immediately, or after the cake has entirely cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and keep in your cake stand. Crapanzano advises not to place your cake in the refrigerator as it loses some of its flavor and is meant to be enjoyed at room temperature at the very least. I have kept mine in my covered pastry stand (wrapped in plastic wrap) for a couple of days and the flavor is wonderful each time I have enjoyed a slice.