The famed yoghurt cake

French signpost closeupI took this magazine clipping the other day, which shows a ‘Gâteau au yaourt simplissme’, or in English, a simple yoghurt cake. If you’ve ever been a chalet host or stayed in a British-run chalet, you have probably experienced the yoghurt cake. It comes in all shapes and flavours: add anything you like to the mix, or top it with anything you like: the recipe is merely the framework of a bland cake if nothing else is added. So, why this recipe? Apart from being flexible on flavours (allowing a chalet host to make the same easy mix each day and then chuck in a banana or some cocoa powder or really anything else to add some flavour), no additional measuring utensils are required, and this is a cake that is said to withstand baking at altitude, which has the reputation —right or wrong — for being difficult when it comes to anything rising in the oven. The yoghurt cake recipe is said to avoid this problem by the use of the yoghurt itself. Perhaps this is true at extremely high altitudes, but I’ve never had a problem cooking a standard cake at 1,100 metres above sea level.

I found this recipe in a supermarket living-style freebie magazine. I was surprised to see it because I always presumed the recipe was purely the domain of the British-run chalet, like some sort of secret that only other chalet hosts knew about. Perhaps, it was the French who came up with the idea in the first place, and the Brits have merely cashed in on such an effective, flexible, no-fail recipe. Or, perhaps it’s the other way around: the author of this recipe section may have learnt from the Brits and adapted the recipe for French bakers — in this case, kids. The title translates to ‘Three recipes for the littles  and the bigs’.

Either way, the recipe is a winner, and I’ve translated this one below in case you’re interested.


1 pot of natural yoghurt (keep the pot to measure other ingredients)
3 pots of plain flour
2 pots of sugar
1 pot of oil (vegetable works well)
3 eggs
2 teaspoons of baking powder (or, if in France, a sachet of ‘levure chimique’)
2 teaspons of vanilla sugar/a few drops of vanilla essence (or, if in France, a sachet of vanilla sugar)


1. Place all the ingredients in a big bowl and mix together well
2. Preheat the oven to 180° Celcius
3. Grease a cake tin, then pour the cake mix into it and bake for thirty minutes. When the yoghurt cake is cooked, leave it to cool.

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I'm a technical author, journalist and writer from Australia who has been living in Europe since 2000 and exploring the world from there. My passions are writing, snow sports and travel.

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4 comments on “The famed yoghurt cake
  1. Isabelle says:

    The gâteau au yaourt has been around for ever, and is well known in every French family for being a quick and easy cake, and good tasting, even plain.

  2. Pete says:

    210oC? Balls to that, it’ll burn! Yoghurt cake lives in the oven at 170oC.

  3. Theo says:

    Does this recipe work at sea level? I have done it before at 1,800 metres and it worked a treat!

  4. Wendy says:

    Theo, I don’t see why it wouldn’t. It works at 900 metres no problems. And yes, Pete, 210° does seem a bit hot for yogurt cake. I’d agree with 180 – will update the recipe.

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About me

Wendy Hollands writer in Annecy, France

I'm an experienced technical writer based in the French Alps. I enjoy learning French language nuances, winter sports and travel. Drop by, my other site.

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