So there’s this French Yoghurt cake, known affectionately as Gateaux de Mamie or Granny’s cake. It’s one of the first recipes a grandmother passes on to her grandchildren because not only is it delightful to eat, it is also delightfully easy to make. This recipe calls for no scales or weighing of ingredients but instead relies on a jar of Yoghurt to measure out the ingredients.
A jar of Yoghurt may sound a little odd to someone who is used to buying the stuff in the little plastic pots you find in British supermarkets, but on the continent Yoghurt has been sold like this for ever. If you’ve ever spent any time perusing the aisles of a French supermarket, I’m sure you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
The original recipe for this cake is as follows:
- 1 jar of Yoghurt
- 2 jars of flour
- 1 jar of sugar
- 1/2 a jar of oil
- 3 eggs
Mix it together and bake. How simple is that?
Despite its seemingly perfect simplicity, I’ve played with this recipe a lot over the years for a couple of reasons, the first one being that I can’t always find lovely jars of French Yoghurt in this country. Secondly I cannot bare measuring ingredients by volume (sorry cups users!). The secret to good baking with consistent results is accurately measured ingredients. I weigh all of my ingredients precisely with digital scales. When you fill a cup with flour the chances are you could be under or over your target weight depending on how firmly you’ve packed it in there.
Traditionally this cake is left very plain, sometimes with the addition of vanilla or lemon zest. It’s lovely just as it is but I’ve added fresh blueberries to mine. You can use frozen if fresh ones aren’t in season. I’ve also topped my cake with sliced peaches because it is June at the moment and the peaches from our local greengrocer are wonderful. You can omit the peaches, or even substitute them for another soft fruit. I’ve baked my cake in a round tin but it a loaf tin yields an equally lovely cake.
- 150g plain, natural yoghurt
- 150g self raising flour + 1 tbsp
- 85g sugar
- 50g oil
- 3 large, free range eggs
- 150g blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 peach, cut into neat slices
- Preheat your oven to 160°c or gas mark 3. Grease and line a cake tin.
- Roll 2/3 of your blueberries in the tablespoon of flour an set aside.
- Whisk together the Yoghurt, sugar, eggs and oil. Then add the flour. Once the batter is combined, fold in the floury blueberries. You will need to work quite quickly at this point, as the acidity of the Yoghurt will activate the leavening agents in the self raising flour.
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake tin and arrange your reserved blueberries on top, along with the peach slices.
- Bake the cake on the middle shelf of your oven for approximately 45 minutes. The cake will be golden brown and slightly springy when baked. Use a skewer to check if you’re not sure.
- Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes before carefully removing from the tin.
- The cake will stay moist in an air tight container for at least three days, but it’s best enjoyed whilst still a little warm from the oven. Perhaps with a dollop of ice cream and some more fruit.