There are days when there’s a certain feeling in the air that reminds me of France. Perhaps it’s the brisk air outside, the neighbours wood burning fireplace that’s going or the fact that Amelie has been playing in the background all morning. Whatever it is, there’s a little joie de vivre happening today which has lead me to crave something baked right out of the oven and a little bit French.
Since packing up and boarding a plane aren’t viable options today, I settled instead on baking a traditional French yoghurt cake whilst playing some Carla Bruni to keep me in tune.
Let it be noted that I am not a baker; nine times out of ten I somehow fumble through a recipe and chalk the outcome to “experience” rather than a gastronomic treat. I keep returning to baking because there’s something about the basic process that soothes me.
I do not own a blender, a processor, fancy knives or dishware, so every recipe I own must be basic and simple. The ingredient lists always come from the local grocer rather than an exotic food mart and the names of the recipes themselves are always pronounceable. I’ll never be a fantastic baker but that doesn’t matter. There’s something so sweet to me to have the sun shining, the wind ruffling the curtains, music playing in the background and a little black cat at my feet that makes all the measuring, folding and cleanup worthwhile.
French Yoghurt Cake
Recipe serves about 8 normal people are two very piggy ones
– 1 1/2 cups/200G all-purpose flour
– 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
– pinch of fine sea salt
– 3 large (and fresh) eggs
– 1 cup/200g sugar
– 1/2 cup/125ml plain, full-fat yogurt
– 1 teaspoon vanilla
– 8 tablespoons/125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
– 3 ounces/90g bitter chocolate, preferably Lindt 64%, melted in a double boiler, then cool
– Confectioner’s sugar, optional
1. Butter and flour one 9 1/2-inch/24cm round cake pan. Preheat the over to 375F/190C
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and the sugar until they are light and pale yellow. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the eggs and sugar, whisking to incorporate them. Fold in the yogurt and vanilla, then the melted butter.
4. Pour half the batter into the prepared cake pan. Fold the melted chocolate into the remaining batter until it is thoroughly combined. Pour the chocolate batter on top of the plan batter that is already in the cake pan and run a knife through the batter several times to make a marble pattern.
5. Bake the cake in the centre of the oven until it is slightly mounded and your finger leaves a very slight impression when you touch the top of it, about 25min.
6. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 15minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack. Serve when it is fully cool. If you like, dust the top with confectioner’s Sugar.