In France, there is a cake so simple, so universal and so loved, it often is the first recipe children are taught. But most intriguing: The star ingredient’s container is as important as the ingredient itself.
Gâteau au yaourt, or yogurt cake, has been around for at least several generations. But it really took hold when yogurt was commercialized in the first half of the 20th century and started being sold in tiny jars that doubled as the measuring unit for the cake’s other ingredients, too.
Simply spoon the yogurt into the mixing bowl, then use the empty jar to measure one container of oil, two of sugar and three of flour. Mix the wet and dry ingredients separately then combine. Pour the loose batter into a pan and bake. The result is a light, tender cake that is remarkably moist thanks to the use of oil instead of butter, with the yogurt’s slight tang balancing the sugar.
Simply delicious, but still easy enough for a child to make.
At Milk Street, much as we loved the notion of using the container to measure our ingredients, we sadly had to standardize since yogurt cups in the U.S. come in numerous sizes.
In France, variations on flavors and glazes are endless. We opted for a combination of orange zest and toasted coriander, which adds a citrusy aroma that complements the orange and adds complexity.
To further lighten the cake, we whipped the eggs with the sugar to incorporate air into the batter. Another sprinkle of sugar on top before baking added a bit of crispy texture so there was no need for a glaze. Simply delicious, but still easy enough for a child to make.