A Delectable French Yogurt Cake (Gâteau au Yaourt)

Say bonjour to the French yogurt cake!

Vertical image of a whole baked loaf on a cooling rack, with text on the top and bottom.

French breakfasts, often simple and sweet, are a wonderful way to start the day. There’s nothing quite like a small slice of gâteau au yaourt – or homemade yogurt cake – with a steaming hot café au lait.

A far more approachable option to bake compared to time-consuming croissants and other pastries bought in a professional pâtisserie, this perfect little loaf cake is an easy treat to master in the home kitchen.

It is a foolproof recipe to make with children – just a few kitchen utensils and equipment are required, and the batter can be mixed entirely by hand.

It’s also incredibly versatile, and can be enjoyed for breakfast, dessert, or as a goûter – a snack!

Better yet… it tastes amazing! This humble loaf is lightly sweet and tangy, perfectly fluffy, and very tender.

Vertical image of slices of cake off of a loaf.

Traditionally, bakers in many French homes would use an unfussy prep technique for this recipe by measuring some of the ingredients with an empty 4-ounce glass yogurt jar, typically following a ratio of 1 part yogurt to 1 part oil, 2 parts sugar, and 3 parts flour.

This convenient method for measuring is a common household trick in France, where French-style yogurt is often made with a pot-set technique.

This means the base is cultured and set directly in individual containers, often reusable glass or ceramic jars, rather than cultured first in large vat batches before being transferred to individual disposable containers.

While you can certainly play with this ratio and the measuring vessels, especially if pot-set yogurt is readily available for you or if you make your own as you would in the pressure cooker, our version of the recipe utilizes the standard U.S. system of measurement.

Vertical image of slices of a loaf cake on white plates next to strawberries.

To provide you with just a few serving suggestions, you are more than welcome to serve your baked treat with homemade jam, jelly, or preserves or a medley of fresh berries for breakfast.

To create a more decadent dessert, you can also dust the top with powdered sugar, or spread it with a spiced glaze, dark chocolate ganache, or buttercream frosting.

Unadorned or served in style, your mom’s pound cake recipe will soon have some serious competition with the gâteau au yaourt!

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Horizontal image of slices of a homemade baked yellow cake on parchment paper.

French Yogurt Cake (Gâteau au Yaourt)

  • Author: Nikki Cervone
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 loaf (8 servings) 1x


French yogurt cake, gâteau au yaourt, is a simple recipe to bake at home. Enjoy this light and sweet treat for breakfast, dessert, or as a snack.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, positioning a rack in the center of the oven. Lightly grease a standard 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line with a sheet of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides of the pan, and lightly grease the paper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt until evenly incorporated.
  3. In a large bowl, briefly beat the eggs with a whisk. Add the sugar, yogurt, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and whisk until a smooth, light yellow liquid forms.
  4. Slowly and gradually whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Continue whisking just until a runny batter forms, with a few small lumps remaining. Do not overmix.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to scrape all of the batter from the bowl into the pan. Gently tap the pan on the countertop to release any air bubbles.
  6. Immediately transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out mostly clean with a few crumbs sticking to it.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven. Allow the cake to cool slightly in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a cooling rack.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: French, yogurt, cake

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep

Before you do anything else, first measure the yogurt and prep the eggs. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, checking and removing any shell fragments.

Horizontal image of ingredients in various bowls.

Let these two ingredients warm to room temperature – they both will mix more easily and will create a more homogenous batter when combined at room temperature with the other ingredients rather than incorporating them cold straight from the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. For the most even baking, position a rack in the center of the oven.

Lightly grease a standard 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray, line it with a sheet of parchment paper, and lightly grease the paper. Be sure to leave an overhang on two sides of the pan, for easy lifting once the cake is baked.

Measure out the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, vegetable or canola oil, and vanilla extract.

Step 2 – Whisk Together the Flour, Baking Powder, and Salt

Horizontal image of dry ingredients in a bowl.

Place the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl. Whisk everything together until completely combined.

Step 3 – Whisk Together the Wet Ingredients and Sugar

Briefly beat the eggs with your whisk in order to break the yolks and incorporate them with the whites.

Horizontal image of a yellow liquid in a bowl with a whisk.

Add the sugar, yogurt, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract into the bowl. Whisk until a smooth, light yellow liquid forms.

Step 4 – Combine

Gradually sprinkle the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, whisking to combine. Continue whisking until a runny batter forms. There should still be a few small lumps remaining throughout the batter.

Horizontal image of a yellow batter in a large white bowl.

Don’t try to mix the batter until it is completely smooth, as this will lead to overmixing! Overmixing will create a dry, crumbly, and tough cake.

Step 5 – Pour into Pan and Bake

Switch to a rubber spatula and pour all of the batter into the prepared pan. Use the spatula to scrape out any remaining batter left in the bowl.

Horizontal image of yellow batter in a rectangular pan.

Gently tap the pan on the countertop a couple times. This simple trick will help to release any air bubbles that formed when mixing the batter, improving the cake’s final texture and appearance.

Immediately transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the cake is fluffy and a light golden-brown color.

Horizontal image of a baked dessert in a rectangular metal pan lined with parchment paper.

It should not jiggle when you gently shake the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake should come out fairly clean, with a few crumbs sticking to it.

Uh-oh… did your loaf not rise properly? Is it as flat as a rectangular pancake? Mistakes happen, but if it still tastes alright, here are seven sweet sensations make as tasty alternatives.

Step 6 – Cool and Serve

Immediately remove the pan from the oven. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan and placing the cake on a cooling rack.

Horizontal image of slices of a homemade baked yellow cake on parchment paper.

Cool the cake completely before serving.

Can I Use Greek Yogurt?

If you need to get rid of the last bit of Greek yogurt in your fridge before purchasing a new container, you have my baker’s blessing to use the rest for this recipe.

Horizontal top-down image of a whole baked loaf on a cooling rack, next to fresh strawberries.

I have personally tested both plain Greek yogurt and plain full-fat yogurt in this recipe – both were popular successes among my family and friends, with very subtle differences in texture that may even go undetected.

Because Greek yogurt has a reduced water content, it will yield a thicker batter that will bake into a slightly drier cake with a tangier flavor compared to a batter made with plain whole milk version.

While you can substitute an equal amount, I suggest making one quick change:

If you want to use the Greek style in this recipe, measure it in your 1/2-cup measuring cup, but only fill it about 3/4 of the way full. Fill the remaining space with cold water.

This will help to loosen its texture so it’s not as thick, and it will help to slightly reduce its powerful tanginess.

Will you try using a Greek-style product? What do you think of this easy recipe for your next sweet breakfast or simple dessert? Leave a message below with your thoughts and opinions!

For other delectable goodies that rely upon yogurt’s lovely tang and creamy texture, you’ll fall in love with these recipes:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on April 7, 2015. Last updated on July 25, 2023.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

22 thoughts on “A Delectable French Yogurt Cake (Gâteau au Yaourt)”

  1. Wow you weren’t kidding about how easy it is to make this. When I was in Paris I used to eat this cake all the time, but only the sweet version, and with some coffee of course. I’ll definitely have to make the savory version sometime, sounds yummy.

  2. How interesting. I just had to make around fifty cupcakes & I decided to use yogurt so they wouldn’t dry up cooking that amount in the time allotted. Absolutely going to opt for a cake next time. This is a great recipe I can easily double or triple.

  3. I’ve never seen yogurt being used in a cake before now but I can imagine the kind of texture it would give – rich and moist. I love the way you can use the yogurt pot to measure the rest of the ingredients. Super easy!

  4. Well, that’s just cool measuring everything with the yogurt container. This would be a great recipe for letting the grandkids get involved. One of them loves yogurt, so she’ll probably be trying to taste test as we go.

    This looks really good. I enjoy breads and muffins (even though I shouldn’t really eat them often). This would be a good “baking with grandma” recipe, and then they can take the remainder home with them. Well, they can leave me a slice or two, lol.

    • I know I would enjoy cooking this with my grandma. It seems easy enough, easily modifiable and probably quick to make too. I’m not much of a baker so I prefer the easy recipes since I am not too good yet. I need to try this recipe.

  5. This looks like a very fine cake. I’ve never tried french yogurt cake before, it looks like I might finally get the chance. I assume it’s going to be soft and airy with a similar consistency to a common banana cake. I can’t wait to try it.

  6. I definitely fancy giving this a try but I am wondering how well it would work with soya yoghurt? Guess there is only one way of finding out. Looks really easy to do as well and I have some frozen blackberries left over from last year’s wild harvest which would go in there very nicely.

    • Oooh, wild blackberries sound like a great idea. I’m glad you mentioned it.

      I bet there are a lot of other options for making this as well, but I do enjoy strawberries too. I think the little ones might prefer the strawberries as well. My daughter and I would definitely like the blackberry version. That just makes me want blackberries right now.

  7. Am already envisioning this cake melting in my mouth…sounds like a good idea over a hot cup of sweet coffee or mocha latte…amazing that milk is not a requirement ingredient in this particular cake…makes me all the more curious and eager in wanting to bake…noted down in my baking schedule then and page bookmarked 🙂

  8. It’s crazy how easy this recipe is! When I first saw it I thought “Oh boy this is going to be really expensive and really time-consuming…”, but did you prove me wrong. I love yogurt, and while I’ve never used it in any baking I have heard that it makes your baked goods super moist and sweet (without any of the extra sugar). With the summer berry season coming up, I bet this would go great with all sorts of berries! I can’t wait to make a bunch of these and freeze it for personal eatery or for gifting. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. This is definitely something new and it looks very tasty looking at the picture and ingredients!
    I might try this recipe in the future since it’s very easy and doesn’t require a lot of ustensils. My kids will love if I try and make this since they love sweet stuff so much!

  10. How did you know that I absolutely love French desserts?! I’ve never tried adding yogurt to any of my cakes, but I know I’m going to try it soon on this recipe. This recipe looks absolutely delectable! I’m just going to try some store-brought yogurt, maybe with some fruit pieces in it. I’m guessing that the yogurt will make the cake much softer, moister, and creamier, and I always have a problem with my bread being too hard. Yum! And my family loves fresh fruit (who doesn’t?) so I’ll be sure to add in some fresh strawberry pieces, and I might even throw in some chopped almonds. I will certainly try this with my kids this weekend! The savory variation looks great, too, but I personally would rather try sweet. I don’t eat a lot of bread for my main meals. Thanks for the sweet recipe.

  11. I think to measure with the yogurt pot you’ve gotten the yogurt from is great. No need to convert grams with mililiters, no need to whip out the measuring cup — just count on proportions and mix it quick together!

    My favorite sort of yogurt cake — in September, after we go apple picking, we’ll peel and cut the apples in slices and then spread them out on the top of the yogurt cake before putting in the oven. I love the mix of cake and baked apples!

    • I remember eating what you’ve just described in your last sentence at my grandma, in Romania. She told me that’s a traditional cake there, I don’t think they used any yogurt though…

  12. My mouth is watering! Mhmmm….

    After looking at all of these photos I just want to drop everything and travel to a French populated area. I want to try this so badly!

  13. By the sounds of it, the hardest part of this recipe is reading about it and not having it in front of me. It looks so moist. I’m definitely looking forward to trying this. Thank you for the recipe!!

  14. This is a great recipe. In the picture, the texture of it looks just perfect and the crust is perfectly baked which I love. My 7 year old neighbor and I love to bake together. This recipe would be great for us to make together.

  15. Yogurt cake for breakfast? Sign me up. I have never heard of a recipe like this where you use “containers” as the measurement. Are there any more recipes like this? I would like to add dried cranberries to this. If a recipe is easy enough to master, I’m more than willing to try it atleast once. Besides, this might be a good thing to have to vary my breakfast meals.

  16. This is a great idea for a cake, sometimes it can be kind of boring to always cook and eat as well the same type of bread/cake, and this one seems to be the perfect way to get ourselves out of our comfort zone.
    I was amazed to se how many variations you can do with the exact same recipe, it’s simpler as just putting some fruits and other compliments to it and voila, we have cake variations for days.
    Thanks for sharing!

  17. I really want to make this cake, but I’m confused about the amount of sugar. It says 2 containers of sugar, but then next to it about 4 grams? 2 containers is much more than that so I’m not sure what to do now. Sorry if this is a really stupid question… Thanks or your help!

    • Thanks for your message, Mary. These are not stupid questions at all! If you read the intro, this recipe was originally adapted from an old French cookbook that didn’t use standard measurements in cups like we use commonly today. The writer uses a 6-ounce individual serving container of yogurt as her measuring vessel. But you are correct that this must also be a misprint – 2 yogurt cup containers of sugar would be closer to 400 grams. We’ll flag this recipe for testing and an update, to clarify the measurements ASAP.


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