A Simple and Versatile Yogurt Cake

(Yogurt cake above is with lemon, lemon zest and poppy seeds) 

This is my “go to” cake for all occasions. I make it almost every Shabbat. I bring it to friends after they give birth. I bring it to various events at people’s homes. It is always a favorite and because it has a base of plain yogurt, it can have endless variations.

This cake is adopted from Pamela Druckerman’s book “Bringing up Bebe”  which she calls “Gâteau au Yaourt”.  From a young age, children help their parents with pouring in the ingredients for this easy “weekend cake”.  She says “It’s a light, not-to-sweet cake to which berries, chocolate chips, lemon or a tablespoon of rum can be added. It’s pretty hard to screw up.”

And that is exactly what it is.  With the yogurt base it is always very moist on the inside, crispy on the top, and you can change it around each time. My favorites are adding chocolate chips, the juice of a lemon and poppy seeds, or the juice of an orange with walnuts on the top.

In my altered version, I have cut her recipe in half and use a long, rectangular loaf pan (as you see in my photos). I have been making this cake for at least 3 years now and as Pamela says…“It is pretty hard to screw up!”

What you need:

  • 1 cup of plain yogurt (I wouldn’t use less then 1.5% fat. I use 2.8% fat.)
  • 1 egg
  • A little less than a cup of sugar (Light brown or white sugar. Or half/half)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • A little less than a half a cup of vegetable/canola oil
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp baking power
  • Optional: Filling of your choice. Some of my favorites are:
    • Chocolate Chips (inside the cake or just on the top)
    • The juice of one lemon, the zest of the lemon, and poppy seeds
    • The juice of one orange, the zest of the orange, and walnuts on the top of the cake
    • Sprinkling brown sugar on the top of the cake
    • With no filling, this cake is also delicious.
    • Feel free to experiment!

Preparation:

  1. Mix together the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla and oil.  (If using a lemon or an orange, add in the juice and zest at this stage.)
  2. Add in the flour and baking powder and mix gently until ingredients are combined (Don’t over mix).
  3. Add in any additions such as chocolate chips, poppy seeds, or nuts.
  4. Grease your loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes at 200°C.
  5. After 35 minutes check the cake with a knife or toothpick to see if it is ready. It might need another 5 minutes. The cake should be crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
IMG_1779.JPG
Chocolate Chips inside the cake and sesame seeds on top.

Notes:

  • If you are using a toaster oven for dairy like I do, you might need to cover the top of the cake after about 20 minutes so the top won’t burn. Then a few minutes before the cake is done, I uncover the cake to crisp it up a bit.
  • This cake is really fun to make with kids. My son Ovadia has been making this cake with me since he turned 3.
  • After about 4 days, the cake will start to get less moist, like any fresh cake. At this point, if there is any leftover, I cut a piece (or two) and put it in the panini toaster for a minute or so. It is delicious this way! (You can also spread honey on the cake after you toast it).
  • I feel that dairy cakes are much healthier than pareve cakes, which can rely a lot on oil or margarine. So I feel really comfortable that my children love this cake. We eat this cake right before Shabbat with coffee or tea, and on Shabbat mornings.  I always have Moroccan Halva Cookies in the freezer to take out on Shabbat afternoon if we want something sweet and Pareve.

Enjoy and Shabbat Shalom!

 

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