Discover more from Fine Kettle Of Fish
Just Like Maman
Yogurt cake couldn't be easier
Growing up in Canada in the 1980s we watched some weird stuff on TV.
One such gem was Just Like Mom, a cheesy mad thing from a local TV station in Toronto. It pitted Moms (and occasionally Dads) against each other about how well they knew their kids. There were plenty of silly questions (and embarrassing answers) and a Walt Disney World grand prize, but by far the best segment was baking. Kids had to mix up a recipe with a wildly obnoxious collection of ingredients including ketchup. Then the Moms had a blind taste test to guess which monstrosity their child created. Pure theatre with some weird and occasionally creepy undertones. But that was the 80s, eh?
Even as a child watching these spectacles I did wonder, did none of these kids ever bake at home?
I mean, I suppose if I had had the opportunity to fling ingredients with wild abandon in the service of good TV, a trip to Disney and the bonus of grossing out my Mom I probably would have indulged myself. But I actually enjoyed baking from pretty young age and even learned a thing or two early on.
For those of us who love to cook and bake learning as a child was a right of passage. We learned most often from the female relatives like Mom and Grandma and most of it was rather basic. Start with a small number of steps and an easy success and the kids will want to do it again (and again… and again…)
Of course we idealize folks like the French. Our idealized notion is that they have been teaching their children to eat Brie and tie a silk scarf since they were in diapers, a romantic (and mostly BS) idea to be sure, but has sold an awful lot of books about the French paradox, French style, and bringing up bébé.
However, the French do have a pretty good basic baking recipe and I’m told many kids learn it pretty early. Yogurt cake, c'est délicieux.
It’s a recipe that starts with one of my favourite things: a ratio. The ratio is premised on the size of a individual serving cup of yogurt (around 1/2 cup or 125ml). Additional ingredients are added, most in proportion (and in the portion size) of the yogurt cup. How easy would that be?
Do you think I can find a 125ml yogurt these days? Heck no - everything is about 100ml, which is a little small to make the recipe worthwhile, ratio or not. Shrinkflation perhaps? Whatever the case we have a workaround - just measure!
If you can do a cake mix, you can do this. Easy as
Two mixing bowls
Loaf or single layer cake pan (see below)
Measuring spoons and cups/scale
1/2 cup (125ml) full fat plain yogurt (1 yogurt cup)
3 large eggs
1/4 cup (62 ml) mild olive oil/vegetable oil of choice (1/2 emptied yogurt cup)
1/2 cup (100 grams) white sugar (1 emptied yogurt cup)
Splash of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 cup all purpose flour (120 grams, or 2 emptied yogurt cups, level)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (about 7 grams)
Cooking spray or butter for pan
Preheat your oven to 350F/180C.
Spray or grease your loaf or cake pan.
Combine and whisk flour and baking powder in one bowl.
Combine and whisk yogurt, eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, and salt in another bowl.
Combine both bowls and mix until no major lumps or dry spots.
Pour batter into pan.
Bake until set (a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). This will probably be 30-35 minutes for a 9 inch cake pan, a bit more (35-40 minutes) for a small loaf pan. The deeper/wider the pan the longer the bake, so adjust by a few minutes, but always check a few minutes BEFORE you think it will be done.
Allow cake to cool for around 5 minutes in the pan, then remove to cool completely.
Dust with powdered sugar, frost, glaze, or eat straight up.
Got some chopped fruit to use up? Mix it in. The end of a bag of chocolate chips? Stir them in. A spoonful of jam will glaze a warm cake, a bit of pandan or almond extract easily subs for the vanilla, and there is no reason at all you can’t add a little of your favourite spices or a bit of citrus juice and zest or an herb like thyme or lavender. Drop the amount of sugar if you prefer your cake a little less sweet. Or leave it be and have a lovely simple cake.
This is the kind of cake that you can make bare bones basic with a toddler-sized helper, can dress up with leftovers this and that for no-fuss coffee date with friends, or fancy up for a quick dinner party dessert. Make it a few times and it will become second nature, just like so many things we learned from maman.
Thanks for reading Fine Kettle Of Fish! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.