The simple elegance of French yogurt cake is endearing. I can whip one up using the most common ingredients in the kitchen and the result is almost foolproof. I can dress it up or keep it plain depending on my mood. I can flavour it with chocolate or citrus or vanilla or nuts or spices for a complete flavour facelift. I can stud it with berries or apples or bananas or chocolate when I feel decadent. The French yogurt cake is the little black dress of my sweet kitchen. It makes me feel fabulous every time I pull one out of the oven, any hour of the day.
Yogurt cake is similar to muffin and other classic quickbread recipes in terms of ingredients. Yet, as if by magic, the cake has a much finer crumb and a more delicate texture perhaps due to the slightly different technique. I would not mistake a yogurt cake for muffin even if I bake it into cupcake shape. Over at Chocolate & Zucchini, Clotilde has a good collection of yogurt cake recipes. At my home, there are some secret ingredients to make my yogurt cake extra special.
Did you notice the deep golden hue of the cake in the photos? Those photos have not been retouched. This colour gives you a hint of the richness of the cake and here is the reason why:
Duck eggs! The one on the left is a duck egg and I placed it next to an extra large chicken egg for the purpose of comparison. I love baking cakes using duck eggs for their incomparable taste. The richness they impart is quite astounding even in a head-to-head taste test with farm-fresh chicken eggs. It’s too bad that I don’t have a steady supply otherwise I would love to use them exclusively for baking. When I adapt recipes for duck eggs, I usually go by weight measurement to maintain balance of the original proportion. Just keep in mind that a typical large egg weighs 50-55g.
My yogurt cake also veers from the classic in other aspects. Instead of plain yogurt, I love to use huslanka, a full-fat buttermilk. The fat content is identical to whole milk yogurt with very similar moisture percentage. It has a more pronounced tanginess that I prefer. Melted butter is my choice of fat over neutral tasting vegetable oil for obvious reason. I also love to replace a portion of flour with ground almond because of their lovely taste and especially the more tender result. After all, almond does not develop gluten the way flour would. If you plan to pair the cake with cherries, accentuating the almond taste is a wonderful alternative to lemon. Putting it all together, here is a rendition of my yogurt cake to take advantage of summer berries abundant this time of year. This Almond Berry Yogurt Cake is a delicious addition to any breakfast, brunch, tea time, or picnic.
Almond Berry Yogurt Cake
- 130g all purpose flour
- 50g ground almond
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 200g granulated sugar
- 2 duck eggs
- 125mL huslanka or whole milk plain yogurt
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 112g unsalted butter, melted
- 25 cherries, pitted
- 25 blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 inch square cake pan with parchment paper.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, almond, baking powder, and salt until well-blended. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, duck eggs, huslanka, and almond extract until homogenous. Pour flour mixture into large bowl while you keep whisking. Stop as soon as all the flour is incorporated.
- Using a large spatula, gently fold in the melted butter to the batter until glossy.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and level the batter. Scatter berries evenly on the surface.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until cake is golden and toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
- Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes and then lift the cake out of the pan using the parchment paper liner. Serve when the cake is cool enough to handle. Cake keeps well in airtight container for up to three days.