French Yogurt Cake (Gâteau Au Yaourt)
This irresistible French yogurt cake is a must-try recipe! The fluffy moist texture and tangy yogurt taste is a treat for your tastebuds. A little lemon glaze adds a delicious citrus flavor too. It’s a quick and easy cake that can be served for breakfast, dessert or simply a snack.
Nothing says comfort food quite like cake. It reminds us of special occasions, visits with family or baking with mom in the kitchen. This French yogurt cake has that appeal. It’s a traditional recipe that is easy to make with simple ingredients. Plus, it pairs well with various flavors, making it the perfect breakfast cake, afternoon snack or delicious dessert.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Super easy recipe. All you need are a few basic ingredients and a baking pan. It’s seriously simple.
- No electric mixer required. Just use your mixing bowls and whisk!
- Great use for leftover yogurt. If you have a lot of yogurt in the refrigerator, this is a great way to use some of it in a delicious recipe.
- Perfect dessert for Mother’s Day! Many French grandmothers are known for making this cake. What better way to celebrate mom (or grandma) than by baking this beloved dessert?
- Versatile recipe. You can adjust the flavors and add mix-ins as you see fit.
“Yogurt cake” in French is “gâteau au yaourt.” In the original recipe, the ingredients were measured using the glass jars yogurt was sold in. For example, 1 jar yogurt, 2 jars sugar, etc. The 120 ml yogurt pot equates to 1/2 cup, which makes it easy to convert the recipe into proper measurements.
- Yogurt: Use whole fat, plain yogurt in this recipe. It will add the most flavor and make the best texture! If you can find French yogurt, even better. I like La Fermière, but Oui by Yoplait is easier to find.
- Lemon juice: Use fresh lemon juice to make the glaze. I do not recommend bottled (it doesn’t have nearly as much flavor).
- Lemon zest: To bring depth of flavor to the cake, add some fresh lemon zest.
- Vegetable oil: Moisture is added from vegetable oil. It also helps make a tender, soft crumb.
- Confectioners’ sugar: Also known as powdered sugar, this is used to make the lemon glaze. Sift it in a fine mesh strainer to remove any large clumps.
Use orange zest and orange juice instead of lemon for a different kind of citrus flavor. You can also omit the citrus and use milk to make the glaze.
Add almond extract (1/2 teaspoon) to complement the lemon flavor. I use this flavor combination in my lemon ricotta cake and people love it!
Try some mix ins. Add 3/4 cup fresh blueberries, raspberries or chopped strawberries for a fruit flavor. Other options include chocolate chips or chopped nuts, such as almonds or pecans.
Get creative with toppings. I like to serve yogurt cake with a simple dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries. However, you can also top it with a simple buttercream frosting, cream cheese frosting, a fruit compote or lemon curd.
Make a bundt cake. Double the recipe and pour the batter into a 10 or 12-cup bundt pan. Baking time will be 50 to 60 minutes.
How to make yogurt cake
- Whisk the dry ingredients—flour, baking powder and salt.
- Mix the wet ingredients—sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined.
- Fold in the oil. Stir until incorporated.
- Transfer batter to an 8-inch round cake pan. Bake at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan because inverted onto a wire rack.
- Make the lemon glaze. Whisk together the lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar. Use a pastry brush to brush over warm cake. Let it sit until cooled before dusting with confectioners’ sugar and serving.
Use room temperature ingredients. It makes the batter a lot easier to mix, which is important since there is no electric mixer required for this recipe. It also makes a smoother, more consistent batter, which results in a better textured cake.
Use full-fat whole milk yogurt. Believe me, it makes all the difference in flavor! It’s also important to use fresh lemon juice (not bottled) to make the glaze. Again, it has significantly more flavor.
Don’t over mix the batter. Once you add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, you only want to mix just until combined. If over mixed in this step, gluten will form and the cake will become chewy and dense.
Add the glaze while the cake is still warm. This glaze is a lot thinner than most and will soak into the cake as it cools. The cake will be super moist and have a delicious sweet lemon flavor!
Frequently Asked Questions
No. They are best when kept in an airtight container at room temperature for about 3 days.
Yes, after the cake has cooled completely, wrap it in a double layer of plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Store in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature and serving.
Either the batter was over mixed or the ingredients weren’t measured properly. Use a kitchen scale for accurate measurements. It’s also possible that the baking powder was expired.
Plain whole fat yogurt is recommended for the best flavor and texture. However, low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt may be used in a pinch. Do not use flavored yogurt since there is added sugar.
Serve it alongside coffee or tea. It also pairs well with fresh fruit, ice cream or whipped cream.
Here are some more French recipes you will surely love!
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Get the Recipe: French Yogurt Cake (Gâteau Au Yaourt)
- 1 ½ cups (187 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest, from 2 lemons
- ½ cup (113 g) whole-fat plain yogurt, room temperature
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable or canola oil
- ¾ cup (90 g) confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting
- 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour an 8-inch round baking pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the sugar, lemon zest, yogurt, eggs and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in the oil until incorporated. The batter may separate, but keep stirring until smooth and shiny.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake at 350° F for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with little to no crumbs. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack.
- For the glaze, whisk together confectioners' sugar and fresh lemon juice (it will be thin). Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze over the warm cake. Allow the cake to absorb and soak up the glaze, then let it cool completely.
- Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired. Slice and serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream and fresh fruit.