French Yogurt Cake

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According to Dorie Greenspan (and confirmed by a French friend of mine), the French all know how to bake yogurt cake.  In fact, my friend tells me that because it’s so easy to make, little kids will learn the recipe and bring it to school and birthday parties.  In taste and texture, it’s very similar to American pound cake, which means it’s delicious, and when you add a layer of raspberry preserves and whipped cream frosting, it’s addictive!

Baking note:

  • Instead of making a filled and frosted cake, you can bake the cake in a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan for 50-55 minutes.

 

French Yogurt Cake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

Yield: 9-inch cake

For the cake:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon OR 1-2 cuties/clementines
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds OR all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flavorless oil (such as canola or safflower)

For the filling:

  • 1/4-1/3 cup raspberry preserves

For the whipped cream topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

 

  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Generously grease a 9-inch round cake pan.  Place pan on a baking sheet.
  2. Put the sugar and zest in a mixing bowl.  Use your clean fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is aromatic and moist.  (This step is fun, almost like playing in a sandbox!)
  3. Add yogurt, eggs, and vanilla into the zest and sugar.  Whisk until mixture is very well blended.
  4. Whisk in baking powder and salt.
  5. Add flour (and ground almonds, if using), whisking less vigorously than before.
  6. Once there’s no trace of dry ingredients, switch to a flexible spatula and stir in the oil; do that in a few additions. You should have a smooth, shiny batter.
  7. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top.
  8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.  A tester inserted deep into the center of the cake should come out clean.
  9. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then invert it to dislodge it from the pan. Turn the cake right side up on the rack; cool to room temperature.
  10. When the cake is cool, use a serrated knife to cut it horizontally into two layers.
  11. Place the bottom cake layer on a serving plate and spread with raspberry preserves.  Top with the top cake layer.
  12. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or in a mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat together heavy cream and powdered sugar on medium speed until you get stiff peaks.
  13. Frost the cake.
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