Just like Crêpes or the Apple Tarte Tatin, this Orange Yogurt Cake is a must-have in your baking repertoire if you are French. It is one of the most popular cakes to bake (and eat) in the country, as it is a perfect heirloom recipe: it is simple, but it just works so well.
A “Gâteau au Yaourt” is actually the first cake I ever baked. One day in primary school, our teacher brought a pack of yogurt cups and we all gathered around a table to make the simplest yogurt cakes, using the individual yogurt cups as a measuring tool for all the ingredients. It was so much fun for us kids, and I recall how proud we were of these moist, delicious golden loaves.
You’ll likely hear many French people telling the same story of baking a yogurt cake at school. It makes it one of the most cherished family cakes in France, with kids and kids-at-heart sharing a special bond with it.
This more adult-version of the yogurt cake isn’t made with yogurt cups but with common measurements (imperial/metric) to make it accessible to anyone. Like most, I also prefer to add orange zest and juice to it to give it a little tang and make it a little more interesting. It has a soft, plush crumb with a golden exterior that I like to brush with some orange juice and honey, when right out of the oven (this step is optional, or you can do the same with jam).
This is a great, simple, basic cake recipe that you’ll want to come back to over and over again. It is timeless and suited to any occasion and any season.
You can enjoy it on its own, with a cup of tea or coffee. You can adorn it with fresh fruits (ie. slices of oranges, as pictured) or a sweet topping (ie.whipped cream or chocolate ganache). And it makes a perfect base cake for any layered cake creation (just like you would use with a genoise cake).
- Use 2%m.f. Plain Yogurt. I have tried this recipe with different types of yogurt: 2%m.f; Greek yogurt and Skyr. Surprisingly, the yogurt that produces the best cake texture and taste is the 2%m.f (I thought Greek Yogurt or Skyr would be better, but no!). You want a cake that is dense enough but also airy and bouncy and the 2%m.f. yogurt cake version is exactly it. Avoid flavored yogurt, only use plain.
- Use Organic Oranges and Lemons. Because we are using zest from the peels, make sure you are using organic citrus, which are pesticide free.
- This cake recipe can also be made in a rectangular loaf pan – same baking time. The crumb might be slightly denser (which some people might prefer).
- Instead of brushing the cake with warm honey and orange juice, you can opt for any jam of your choosing or leave it as is.
1 cup (200g) sugar
½ orange, zest and juice
½ cup (120g) Plain 2% m.f yogurt
3 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup (187g) all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp (10g) baking powder
½ cup (110g) canola oil
¼ cup (85ml) honey
Pre-heat your oven to 350F(180C) with a rack in the middle. Grease a circular 8” cake pan (or loaf pan) with some butter and set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar with the orange zest and rub with your fingers so the zest releases moisture and the sugar is moist and lumpy. Whisk in the yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk in the wet ingredients until just incorporated. Switch to a spatula and fold in the oil, until just incorporated. The batter should look smooth and glossy.
Transfer the batter to the pan and bake for 50 minutes, until golden and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a cooling rack.
Warm up the honey in a small saucepan and stir in the orange juice.
When the cake pan is cool enough to handle, remove the cake from the pan and transfer onto a plate. Brush the warm honey all over.
Enjoy warm or cool.
If you try this Yogurt Orange Cake recipe let me know! Leave a comment or share a photo using #pardonyourfrench on Instagram. Bon Appétit!