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).

AND ANOTHER UPDATE – Many people are talking about the size of the pan. After some research I realize the book does say loaf or 9″ round cake pan, she even talks about turning them into muffins for the morning. Try a 9″ or 10″ cake pan OR A large (9×5) loaf pan… many people have a smaller loaf pan which would cause it be underbaked. You can also break it into 2 smaller sized pans if that works for you, just watch the temperature. If you make this, please leave a comment about the size pan(s) you decided to use!

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


  • 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)


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F
  2. Coat a LARGE 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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45 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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. 😉

  7. 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!

  8. 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! 🙂

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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 🙂

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. I love that your son hand picked a race car for each of you to set the table with for tea.

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 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.

  19. 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!

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

  21. 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.

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. 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!

  25. 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!

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

  27. 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?!

  28. 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.

  29. Awesome! I made this cake when I was reading the book, it was delicious but it didn’t rise much… I have to try again! The book is wonderful, I absolutely loved it! I’m Brazilian and we do the same kind education for kids, specially about food, there’s no snacking! I do the same for my son, he is 18 months and it works very well, he eats all kinds of veggies, fruits, salad and drink lots of water all day long, we don’t do “kids food” here. I never understood why american kids eat all day long. On the weekends I’m more flexible with him when around friends or parties but most of the times there’s no snack and believe me, they eat a whole meal because they are actually hungry, that’s for anyone 🙂

  30. Thanks for stopping by Katie, It’s been a while since my kids made this cake too… will have to make it this weekend.

  31. So happy to find your beautiful blog. I, too, read and enjoyed Bringing Up Bebe, & was especially inspired to try this recipe with my then three year old. I did wax between inspired and depressed, a bit anxious about all I was off about regarding bedtimes, meals,…maybe I’ll revisit the book again. For now, there is some yogurt in the fridge that is calling our names. Many thanks.

  32. Have any of you halved this recipe? We made it yesterday and used two smaller pans. Made way too much. My 17 month old did great and loves it. Next time I would like to do half as much though. I would love to hear if that works.

  33. Hi Tabi, Thanks for sharing your experience. I filled 1 large bread loaf pan when we made this cake, I don’t think I would half the recipe because the amount was just fine for us, but yes of course you can do that. Use 1 yogurt container and try to eyeball the other ingredients to half full, or maybe you can find a baby sized yogurts that are about 3 oz instead of the 6 oz container? If you do it that way, please let us know how it works out for you!

  34. I had the same problem, gooey in the center, baked it much longer than the called for time, and I DID use the 9″ round cake pan. I see in your pics you used a loaf pan yet you wrote 9″ round in your recipe…can you tell me which is best?

  35. I had been looking for this recipe after reading La Billon’s book and was happy to find it on your site. Same problem here as mentioned above several times. Made the recipe in a loaf pan and even after 60 minutes it was very wet in the center and getting burnt on the outside. I use an oven thermometer to monitor my oven temp and measured it myself (my kiddo is 15 months). Not sure it’s going to be edible at this point. I wish I had read through the comments before jumping in. With several loaf pan failures mentioned in the comments you might want to recommend a 9″ round as the “no fail” way of cooking it. I believe that is the recommendation in the original recipe.

  36. Hi Lisa, I haven’t made this cake in awhile… the recent questions will bring my attention back into the kitchen. I’ll update soon!

  37. Thanks for posting the recipe! As for feeling depressed, keep in mind these moms formula feed their babies. Breast fed babies can’t sleep through the night until 1 year or 18-20 pounds. Their pancreas has to have food more often until they have some weight on them. Their blood sugar drops which wakes them up. Formula is metabolized differently so that those babies don’t wake up as hungry. But we all know the benefits of breastmilk, tho breastfeeding is a personal choice!

  38. Hi, I’m sitting here waiting for the cake to bake… I’ve baked it twice as long because of the gooey problem. I did notice that you left the oil out of the instructions (I know it was too late when I realized that andI added it). It might make all the difference

  39. Hi Kirstey, I checked and the oil in in the instructions (step #2). Im sorry you missed it! I hope your cake came out ok?

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