Yogurt Cake and Bringing up Bébé

I am one proud mama, my 3 year old made this cake!

Tea for Three with Yogurt Cake
I am currently enjoying a new book, Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman. Its unlike other parenting books I have read; an easy read about her very interesting life as an American mommy in France. She compares her American parenting style to that of the French in a humorous and insightful way. I wish I had this book when my boys were infants, they may have better sleeping habits now.

UPDATE – Got a little farther on this book, I’m quite depressed by it all.. I feel like I’m doing everything wrong! Are the French really such wonderful parents? Do all their babies sleep through the night? Sigh.

ANOTHER UPDATE – My thoughts on a similar book with another great French baking recipe (Spice Bread).

In the book she talks about a French friend’s 3 year old daughter who bakes a yogurt cake (gâteau au yaourt) all by herself. This is the first cake recipe that most French children are taught due to the easy directions that include using the empty yogurt container to measure out the other ingredients. Druckerman explains that French children bake nearly every weekend, and its a lesson in patience as they typically bake in the morning and enjoy it with tea for their afternoon snack.


Measuring out Oil

I have heard about this cake once before, so it was a happy surprise to discover it once again in this book, it felt like fate giving me a gentle reminder that I need to let my 3 year old try this cake. So I did, I talked him through the process but insisted he do everything, even when the flour was not leveled off (not even close) did I take over.. I just let him do his best and enjoy the “lesson”. I stepped in when it was time to put the cake in the oven. I also held the bowl so he could scoop the batter into the loaf pan.

Measuring flour from the empty yogurt container

Although his measurements were uneven, this recipe is very forgiving and the cake was delicious. We had a tea party with grandma, who travelled cross country to visit us for a week. After an afternoon of pretty intense bowling fun, and race car races, and train play… grandma took a short cat nap. When she woke up, we had some fresh brewed jasmine honey tea, yogurt cake, and a little tea party table set up complete with flowers and a special hand picked race car for each of us.

Tea Party with Race Cars

Recipe: Yogurt Cake (gâteau au yaourt)

Summary: adapted from Bringing Up Bébé

Ingredients

  • 2 (6oz) containers of plain yogurt (keep containers for measuring the other ingredients)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 containers sugar (my son’s scoops were about 3/4 full)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • just under 1 container of vegetable oil (my son filled his)
  • 4 containers flour (my sons were all different)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 container mini chocolate chips or 2 containers of frozen berries (optional)
  • Crème fraîche (optional)
  • powdered sugar (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
  2. Coat a loaf pan or 9″ round cake pan with cooking spray or oil.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and oil.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.
  5. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, stir until just combined. You can now add the chocolate chips or berries if using them.
  6. Scopp it all into your baking pan, bake for 35-45 minutes or until golden and the cake springs up when touched (or when a toothpick inserted is pulled out clean). Let it cool on a rack.
  7. Dust with powdered sugar (optional) and serve with the Crème fraîche (optional).

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

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33 thoughts on “Yogurt Cake and Bringing up Bébé

  1. I’m so glad you wrote this recipe here. I just finished that book and returned it to the library. I completely forgot to write it down. Thanks!

    • What did you think of the book? I’m trying to get my 1 year old on a structured feeding schedule now… not working so well!

  2. I did the feeding schedule too (with my 2 year old) and it took about a week. I did make it a morning snack instead of an afternoon snack though.

    I liked the book overall. I got the same feeling that I just couldn’t believe all french kids were that good, but I think she tried to combat that a bit later on. I definitely learned some new tricks (I now say you have no right to hit), but I also think the French could learn a few things from American parenting.

    I’m sorry this comment was late. I just saw it today.

  3. Ha ha, another Sarah weighing in. I tried the cake and it didn’t work out :( it just never totally cooked, got all gooey. Wah :( maybe I should have done it in the 9 in pan….btw, loved the book, more for perspective than parenting advice.

    • Oh no, so sorry Sarah B., I think the change in cake pan size, or an adjustment to your oven temp. would do the trick. My oven in the new house is so mich different than my old house, I have had to adjust old recipes. You may need to drop the temperature. Or… maybe you just need to have a 3 year old make it! I think you are right, most the book is perspective. I have watched myself on a few things like letting them play independently in the evening etc. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. Just like another reviewer, I returned the book to the library without writing the recipe down – so happy you did, and shared it with all! I loved the book, though it made me wish for a different life with my kid (ha), but it did make me think… now when something is so very frustrating for me I think – gah, why don’t I take steps to change this?? It’s not written in stone and I’m in charge. ;)

    • Have fun with the recipe Dawn, it is back on our to do list again this week… my son is going to make a cake for Father’s Day and this is the one. I’m working on my assertive No voice now, so far its confusing my 1 year old but I think its sort of working with my 4 year old. He is also starting to understand that adult time starts after his bedtime. Thanks for leaving a comment!

  5. Thank you for posting this recipe. I am in the middle of listening to the audio version (This American mom of 2 has no time to read) so I listen to and from work. I like many of the ideas, let’s call them. I like the “hello” and “goodbye” added to the list of important greetings such as “thank you” and “please”. I started this almost the moment I read… I mean listened to it. It makes complete sense to me. Our children are simply little humans and they need to know they are counted and important. This means being accountable for entering a room and leaving a room politely. I am planning on baking the cake tomorrow morning with my 3y/o while my 6mo daughter watches in the wings. I plan on washing the floor while he naps! :-)

    • I also love that bit of advice, we now remind him to say his hellos and goodbyes too. Good luck with the cake, have fun with your kids!

  6. Okay, the cake was so easy to bake… Not sure how it’s tastes… We used chopped strawberries and I put it into a bunt pan (I did not want to get the loaf pan out of the basement) for some reason, as it cooled.the cake shrunk. It’s petty heavy. But….. We had fun and we will see tomorrow night how it came out. I used whole milk yogurt…. Hmmmm could that have done it? I also used only 1cup sugar.

    • Nina, hope it was delicious, strawberries sound yummy! I use whole milk yogurt too, we have young kids so thats usually the best and thats what I have available. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story with me!

  7. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been making fresh yogurt this week (a friend gave me 10 gallons of fresh milk), and this was a SUPER tasty way to use it :)

    • Ohhh my you are adventurous, Rhea! Home made yogurt sounds delicious! You should try the biscuits I posted recently, these use yogurt too and so good for breakfast. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. I’m so happy to see both the recipe and the great reviews. I’d recommend “French Kids Eat Everything” regarding food matters. CHANGED OUR LIVES, no exaggeration. My 19-mo-old and I now eat those 4 times a day, always have chocolate at snack, eat veggies first and at least twice a day…and talk about variety!
    So thank you for posting this. I admire the whole idea of giving children real, caring experience and control in their lives. Druckerman’s book was brilliant and very well-balanced. Your writing is the same!

    • Thank you for the recommendation Jennifer, I am going to read that book! After reading Bringing up BeBe, I wanted to change some of our eating habits but I found I didn’t have much guidance as to how exactly. This is exactly what I need. Thanks again, I may have to blog about that book too.

    • Hi Tina, I don’t have the recipe written down, but I remember that there was nothing special about the actual recipe ingredients… however the technique was genius. I remember trying to figure out why she made it that way and realized its to allow quick serving. She made a highly concentrated chocolate syrup on the stove top, then prepared the mugs by filling half with cold milk. When she added the steaming hot chocolate from the saucepan to the cold milk waiting in the mugs, the result was a warm and perfectly ready to serve beverage so the kids don’t burn their mouth. I know its so hard for my 4 year old to be patient when he gets his mug of hot chocolate, so this is how I make it now. I don’t measure, I eyeball the amounts and just heat some milk, sugar and cocoa powder until steaming hot and fairly thick. Hope that helps?! Thanks for visiting cake student!

  9. Children’s afternoon chocolat drink (From “French Children Don’t Throw Food” by Pamela Druckerman – I am a Granny and I am applying the French methods to my grandchildren. I have given my daughters a book each to read. It’s wonderful

    Chocolat chaud a la Helene

    1 litre half fat milk
    1-tsp cocoa powder
    Sugar to taste

    In a saucepan, mix one heaped teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder with a small splash of cold or room temperature milk. Mash the milk and powder together until they form a thick paste. Add the rest of the milk and mix. (The chocolate should spread evenly into the milk.) Cook on medium heat until the milk begins to boil. Allow the hot chocolate to cool, skim off any skin that has formed, then pour it into mugs with spoons inside. Let kids add their own sugar at the table (if allowed).

    Quick breakfast version

    In a large mug, make a paste with 1 teaspoon cocoa powder and a small splash of milk. Fill the mug with milk and mix. Heat the mug in the microwave for two minutes, or until very hot. Mix in a teaspoon of sugar. Pour a bit of this hot cocoa concentrate into several mugs. Add cold or room temperature milk to each mug. Serve with a crusty baguette, or any toasted bread.

  10. We used your modified recipe (and shared it with our friends back in the states) to make gateau au yaourt yesterday! Thank you for sharing, and good luck with the transition from the traditional American food schedule to the traditional French food schedule — now that we’re in France, where the kids eat a big, healthy, 4-course lunch at school each day, it’s a bit easier, but we’re still struggling to limit snacking in the afternoon!

    • Thank you Lesley, we will need it. Eliminating the snacking habit is so difficult. Best wishes to you in France!

  11. I am a grandma and have just read “French Children Don’t Throw Food”. I immediately tried the cake, using frozen raspberries. Yum!! I am flying interstate to mind two of my grandbabies this weekend, and have my daughter’s permission to make the cake with the 3year old and 18month old. I will also give my daughter the book, but when discussing it with her, she reminded me that several of the behavior techniques had been used by me as she and her siblings were growing up. We are Australian and my children were not paragons of virtue, however they were reasonably well behaved and I am delighted that, as adults, they are now my friends.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Penelope, raspberries sound amazing in this cake. I hope you enjoy making it again with your grandbabies this weekend!

  12. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! We made the cake today with the 4oz Trader Joe’s yogurt (it was actually peach). I just used the 4oz cup for all the other measurements that used the yogurt container and it turned out great! I also baked it in a loaf pan and added lemon zest but now chips or fruit (didn’t have any…). You couldn’t really taste the peach yogurt–I was surprised! My kids loved helping (2.5 + 6). About the book: really interesting and fun to hear different perspective on parenting. I’ve added the greetings and “wait” and veggies as a first course. I think it inspired me to own my role a little more as mother –that little dance between flexibility and firmness. Thanks for your response—I’ve loved hearing the comments about the book!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Shandy! I agree, the greetings and veggies for first course are good advice from the book. The peach with lemon zest sounds like a great combination!

  13. I happened to see that book lying around my neighbors house while I was watering her plants while she was away and I immediately became entranced. I am only thirteen and I helped a 3 year old I babysit make it. When her mom came home she was amazed that I had managed to let a 3 year old bake without it tasting horrible. Thanks for the recipe!

    • That is so great, Erin! Thanks for sharing your story, sounds like you are a wonderful babysitter!

  14. The cake did not turn out:( it settled into a very gelatinous like cake in the centre, baked ling enough and everything. My daughters 4 and 6 made it and well, let’s just say it needed whipping cream to disguise the flour like taste, yuck. What did we do wrong?!

    • Oh no Monica, so sorry to hear it! I really couldn’t tell you as it has always worked for us and recipe comes from the book. Seems like a tried and true recipe, so I’m baffled. Maybe didn’t get stirred well enough or the baking temp was off for some reason? Make sure to test the cake is done baking with the toothpick test or touching the top and watch it bounce back up. Wish I could offer more insight.

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