French Yogurt Cake (Gateau au Yaourt)

May 6th, 2012

One of the first cakes that French children learn to make is this yogurt cake.  As a matter of fact variations of this cake are one of the few desserts that are made in home kitchens in France.  With the availability of patisseries in every village it is much easier to buy a luscious dessert than to make one.

It is simple to make.  There is no special equipment required.  It is just a matter of mixing the ingredients together.  The only unusual step in making it is how the lemon zest is treated.  The lemon zest is added to the sugar and then rubbed into it.  This releases the lemon oils and moistens the sugar

It is also a versatile cake.  Bake it in a round pan or a bread pan.  Glaze it with marmalade or jam.  Split it and fill it with strawberries and top with whipped cream.  Or eat it plain with a cafe au lait.  I think I will try it many ways this summer.  This recipe is courtesy of Bon Appetit.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup whole-milk Greek yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat a standard (8 1/2 x 4 1/4″) loaf pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray.  Dust with flour; tap out excess.

Whisk 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp. baking powder and the kosher salt in a medium bowl.

 Using your fingers, rub 1 cup sugar with the lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist.  Add the yogurt, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla;   whisk to blend.  Fold in dry ingredients just to blend. 

Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top.  Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes.  Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Invert onto rack; let cool completely.

Printable recipe

14 responses to “French Yogurt Cake (Gateau au Yaourt)”

  1. Rita says:

    This looks so so good;sometimes simple is best. The French have way with food. I will surely stay with you to enjoy your French recipes. You must be counting how many more “dodos” before you leave.

  2. How pretty. It definitely sings of summertime. Love anything with lemons. I’m not much of a sweets eater, but this has my name on it.

  3. Susan says:

    Isn’t that beautiful? My cup of coffee is just calling for a slice of this.

  4. Jann says:

    Perfect for today~it really looks moist!

  5. Hello Penny! When I see the ingredient ‘yogurt’, I go on alert! Living here in Turkey, yogurt is one of our big ones!! This sounds like a really nice recipe: I agree with you, in France, they don’t make many desserts apart from fruit tarts and something like this. All that fab cheese ….

  6. Pondside says:

    This looks like a perfect little cake – just right for Sunday afternoon coffee. I remember that when we lived in Germany, few of my neighbours baked, apart from at Christmas time. Why would they, with all the wonderful Bakerei and Conditorei?

  7. Though “yaourt” is my least favorite word in the French language, that cake looks tremendously tasty. Something I would place in my lap and sliver to death on a Sunday afternoon watching Turner Classic Movies!

  8. This looks and sounds wonderful…I have to feed my lemon cravings on a regular basis!

  9. Lynda says:

    This looks fantastic-I’ve really been enjoying lemon baked goods lately. Can’t wait to try this bread!

  10. Martha says:

    This is one of my favorite cakes to make! I simply adore them. And they are so easy — yours looks delicious!

  11. Barbara says:

    Beautiful, Penny. (And you have the perfect platter to serve it, too!) Any cake with yogurt or sour cream results in perfect crumb. This looks delicious. Love anything with lemon, too. 🙂

  12. oh yum..looks so delicious and moist!! I am going to try this recipe..I like cooking and baking with yogurt. thanks!
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Love the way you photographed it! Next I make it I’m ‘stealing’ your lemon slice decoration!

  14. This looks fabulous!! I can’t wait to try it!!

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