This is a classic and simple way of making a cake that turns up with minor variations in quite a few different countries. I first came across it in France where it often seems to be the first cake that children are taught to make because it’s easy, very forgiving and there’s no weighing needed.
For this month’s Random Recipe challenge Dom of Belleau Kitchen has asked us to select from our cuttings, clippings and old hand-written recipes. I'm very happy to do that – in fact, I should do it more often. Reaching into the magic cupboard containing my ‘library’ I came up with a notebook containing a mixture of hand-written and torn-out recipes dating from the 1990s. From that I randomly selected this yogurt cake, or I should really say ‘gateau au yaourt’ since it’s taken from a French magazine (although I'm not sure which one).
Lemon or lime is more commonly used to flavour this cake, but grapefruit is actually a very pleasant change. I have to confess to making two minor changes to the recipe. I added the grapefruit liqueur because I just love the stuff – it’s entirely optional. I also reduced the amount of sugar a little. Classically, the ratio used for the cake is one pot of yogurt, two pots of sugar and three pots of flour but, although that’s easy to remember, I think it’s a bit too sweet.
I used a plain, full-fat yogurt for this cake, but flavoured yogurts will work well. It’s also possible to use low-fat yogurt, provided that it’s not too thin – you will lose a little richness in the finished cake, though. Although I didn't add one this time, it’s quite common to make a syrup to drizzle over the cake, especially if you’re using it as a dessert.
1 pot plain yogurt, 150 g (see note above)
1½ yogurt pots of caster sugar
3 yogurt pots of plain flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
½ yogurt pot of sunflower (or other neutral oil)
Zest of 1 small grapefruit
1 tbsp grapefruit liqueur
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter and line a cake tin. I followed the French instructions and used a 22 cm cake tin, which produces a relatively thin cake. If you’d prefer a taller, more British cake, then use a smaller tin – around 20 cm should be fine.
Place the yogurt in a bowl. Wash out and dry the yogurt pot to use as a measure for the other ingredients. Whisk the eggs into the yogurt one at a time.
Once the eggs are combined, whisk in the sugar followed by the flour. It’s best to add the flour gradually to ensure that you don’t get any lumps in the mixture. It’s important to combine everything well but don’t overdo the whisking at this stage.
Gradually pour in the oil while continuing to whisk gently. Finally, stir in the grapefruit zest and liqueur.
Pour the finished mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for around 35 minutes or until a knife-point inserted into the centre comes out clean.
You have to admit, that's a pretty easy cake. En effet, c'est du gâteau.