French Yogurt Cake

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As many of you know. Ryan and I went to Paris, France last summer. We ate and drank our way through the city, and I’m so grateful we had the opportunity to visit Europe not once, but twice, before having our first child. That being said, I found Paris to be a very child-friendly city. Everywhere we went, we saw well-groomed children in tow behind well-groomed parents. Supremely well-behaved, these french little ones were accustomed to museum visits and four-course dinners by the age of five.

Oh America, we have so much to learn.

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Ryan and I have talked about taking Lucy to Paris sometime this fall (oh Ryan and Monet, you have so much to learn!) And we might be able to pull off a trip come November or December. But if I’m learning anything as I prepare for the birth of our first daughter, it’s that parenthood is an entirely new adventure and will be far different than even the most diligent parents can plan for.

So as of now, we’ll put Paris aside until we have a few months of newborn care under our belt. Instead, we’ll visit our favorite bakery in Colorado Springs for an almond croissant, and I’ll make a batch of this French Yogurt Cake every few weeks. Most Parisians don’t have an oven in their kitchen (no need with ample bakeries and no space with those tiny studio apartments). But if they do, this french yogurt cake is a recipe every boy and girl, man and woman knows how to pull off.

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“Leave the fancy desserts for the professionals, and give us something satisfying and simple to make for an unexpected house guest or a last-minute dinner party.”

This french yogurt cake is most similar to an American pound cake. Thankfully, this recipe is far lighter than it’s American counterpart (surprise, surprise). Instead of four sticks of butter, this calls for whole-fat greek yogurt and vegetable oil. And while must standard pound cake recipes require at least two cups of sugar, this french yogurt cake asks for only one. And finally, ground almonds and almond extract add a lovely layer of texture and flavor. I brought this to my sister on Friday afternoon, and she texted me the next morning: I HAVE GOT TO HAVE THAT RECIPE. YOU COULD MAKE A FORTUNE.

Little did she know this cake is easy enough for a seven-year old to make.

On the baby front: thank you for all your insightful messages and conversations about hospitals versus birth centers versus home births. I learned so much from each of the stories shared. I’ll be writing a longer post about our own thought process on Thursday. So join back then!

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French Yogurt Cake with Strawberry Maple Sauce

*Adapted from a recipe from the New York Times

Cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds (or, if you’d prefer, omit the almonds and use another 1/2 cup all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup flavorless oil, such as canola or safflower

Strawberry Sauce:
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 small lemon

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter an 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-inch loaf pan or a small bundt pan Set aside.  Whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

Place the sugar and zest in a medium bowl and, working with your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar untilmoist and aromatic. Add the yogurt, eggs and vanilla to the bowl and whisk vigorously. Still whisking, stir in the dry ingredients, use a large rubber spatula and fold in  oil. You’ll have a thick, smooth batter. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes for the round cake or 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan; it will be golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack, cool for 5 minutes, then run a blunt knife between the cake and the sides of the pan. Unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up.

Storing: Wrapped well, you can keep the cake at room temperature for at least 4 days and, like many pound cakes, it will be better one day later than it was the day it was made. If you do not glaze the cake, you can wrap it airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months; glazed it’s best not to freeze the cake.

To Make Strawberry Sauce: In a medium saucepan, bring strawberries and syrup to a simmer over medium high heat. When warm, mash strawberries with a fork or potato masher. Squeeze cut lemon over mixture and heat till warm.

 Monet

Anecdotes and Apple Cores

45 thoughts on “French Yogurt Cake

  1. Lisa

    Wow, this looks so nice and refreshing! I’ve been craving something light and spring-like, even though we still have a couple months of winter left. Can’t wait to try it!

  2. Jeannie

    That is one very lovely and healthy cake Monet, something that I should bake instead of the rich butter cakes that I love lol! Wish I have a chance to visit Paris again, it is a very beautiful place!

  3. Mich Piece of Cake

    This is the type of cake I like to bake, love the youghurt and almonds in the cake. Travelling with kids can be really challenging in the early years. I have only been to near by places with my children…

  4. Orchidea

    This is my kind of cake… We have yoghurt cake in Italy too and I love it! So simple to make and light… perfect for breakfast with tea and coffee (ok Italian breakfask!).
    Ciao.
    Orchidea

  5. Annie

    Sigh, Paris. I hope that trip happens. Having Ryan and Lucy with you in such an amazing place would be parfait. I’m so in love with French cuisine and this yogurt cake is very likely to be made this week at my house. I have some leftover yogurt from another recent recipe and I have everything else. I’ve been a fan of strawberries with maple syrup since I tried Heidi Swanson’s roasted strawberries. http://www.designsponge.com/2011/04/in-the-kitchen-with-heidi-swansons-roasted-strawberries.html Yum! Have a great week, Monet!

  6. Jessie

    I love the idea of a lighter pound cake, and I’ll bet the yogurt makes it so moist! I’m looking forward to trying this recipe :)

    Ah, Paris! Someday, I would love to visit and sample everything edible (and I mean everything ;) ). I hope you and Ryan will be able to make a trip with little Lucy before too long. Have a wonderful week!

  7. Eileen

    Yogurt and almond meal cakes are the best! When I make them, I tend to fill them to bursting with whatever fruit is most bountiful–usually plums for some reason. Strawberry maple sauce sounds pretty perfect as well! :)

    1. Monet Post author

      Hi Eileen! I love the idea of adding fresh fruit. I can’t wait until summer. Blueberries or raspberries would be so good!

  8. Michelle

    Monet have you heard of the book Bringing Up Bebe? Gives some insight into French child-rearing. Some of it is just good old common sense but its an easy read, I’m three quarters of the way done now and I really like it!
    And I can’t wait to make this cake so I can really like that, too. :)

    1. Monet Post author

      I have heard of the book Michelle, and I need to go pick up a copy. Thank you for the recommendation. I’ll let you know what I think when I finish it :)

  9. Lisa

    You should go to Paris with your daughter in the Fall! What we have learned from having two daughters (5.5, 7) is that when they are infants it is a great time to travel! Once they start crawling and walking, they will not want to sit still anywhere!

    I was very nervous traveling with my first daughter when she was only a month old to visit my family for Thanksgiving. It was the easiest trip as she was peacefully sleeping in my arms or my husband’s for the whole trip only waking to nurse. If you get the window seat and have a nursing cover up it’s very private. Good luck!

  10. Raina

    I went to Paris many years ago and loved it. Your post brings back great memories. This cake looks wonderful:) Your sweet little one will be lucky to have such delicious treats.

  11. foodwanderings

    oh yogurt makes the cakes so moist with a slight of tanginess. Love it and wish I had a slice of this for b’fast today. Your trip to Paris sounds incredible!

  12. RavieNomNoms

    On the contrary my dear…some Americans are brought up that way. My parents always made sure that my siblings and I were accustomed to eating a nice restaurants, going to shows (operas, ballets, etc) and museums. Which honestly is why I think that we all turned out the way we are. We were much more mature at earlier ages because of it and I certainly would do the same with my children if I ever have them :-)

    This yogurt cake looks so fantastic Monet! Maple strawberry sauce?! Be still my heart

  13. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    This looks incredibly yummy!! We hope to visit France, someday. Meantime, I’ll enjoy a cappuccino and chocolate croissant here in the States just as a way to recreate the “french” experience :D

  14. Terra

    I love that your niece made that gorgeous cake, she ROCKS!!! Since I adore baking with yogurt, I love this recipe! I am always looking for recipes that are healthier, and really anything is healthier then a pound cake, LOL! Your cake sounds and looks wonderful:-) Hugs, Terra

  15. Sophia

    I’ve made this cake several times before~ Just not with the strawberry maple sauce! It’s so lovely with honey…

  16. john@kitchenriffs

    Paris is such a great place to eat! All of France, of course, but Paris is such a magical city anyway. Great looking cake – the recipe looks quite good. I’ve never tried using maple syrup in strawberry sauce, but I like the idea – definitely something I’ll try. Thanks so much.

  17. Gina

    It’s actually much easier to travel with infants than toddlers, so maybe a trip would be a good thing. I like the addition of the almond, next time I make pound cake I’ll try this one. Hope the pregnancy is going well.
    -Gina-

  18. elisabeth@foodandthrift

    Hi my sweet friend, Monet! It’s been ages since I have visited your blog; totally different…like coming to a brand ‘new blog’ which actually is. I love the clean crisp look, and the large photos, so sharp and clear.

    I have recently found out the good news about you’re expecting a baby…a GIRL! Couldn’t be happier for you and Ryan…congratulations!

    Your cake is beautiful, simple, yet absolutely perfect with the yogurt, and the bundt cake form is the perfect choice. Will browse more through your lovely blog, and thank you so much for your sweet comment on my blog. Will stay connected from now on…don’t want to be left out on any great news and more awesome posts. Hugs,

  19. Patty

    Hi Monet! I’m always dreaming about a trip to Paris;-) Your french inspired yogurt cake with strawberries is just the thing to satisfy my desire for any and all things baked and french!!
    I love that the recipe is simple and can’t wait for the strawberries to be plentiful and ripe in the markets. I think in a few months, although I did buy a basket of sweet strawberries a few weeks ago! You’ll have plenty of time to travel back to France- so good to have things to look forward to do as a family;-) Thanks for sharing xxooxx

  20. Nami | Just One Cookbook

    What a beautiful and delicious cake Monet! I will definitely save this recipe and give it a try (won’t waste the chance to have a great recipe!). Oh Paris! I missed my chance to visit before having kids. That’s the only regret I have that I wish I could have done a EU trip. After kids are 2 year old, we have to pay the full-price tickets for the kids, and going back home (just flight alone to Japan for example) costs us $8000 every year…I cannot imagine how much EU trip would cost. Indeed, you were lucky to visit Paris! ;)

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  22. Jen L | Tartine and Apron Strings

    Monet, I love yoghurt cake…they are so moist and the crumb, tender. My favourite! it doesn’t hurt that it’s “French”, too. wink, wink.

    As for Paris…I love that city to bits! We took our first child to Paris at 8 months. And I had a broken foot at that time as well! Feel your child out first, before putting off your plans. You’ll be surprised! If you have an easy child (although no infant is *that* easy all the time, granted), I’m sure there will be no problem bringing baby. Paris is indeed a very child-friendly city. We have 3 kids (ages 6, 3, and 1) and we’ve brought them all to Paris for subsequent visits already!

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