One recipe that caught my attention was gâteau au yaourt, not so much for its subject but for the method of measurement - a pot de yaourt! And to top it all off, I had some yogurt in the fridge that needed to be used up.
|pots de yaourt measurements|
After further research I learned that this is a very familiar and popular childhood French cake often served for le gouter (afternoon snack time) or for breakfast. It's also one of the first cakes French kids learn to make - so easy!
So I asked myself - "how much is actually in a pot de yaourt?" Off I went to the trusty internet and found that the majority of pots de yaourt sold in France hold 125 grams. I also found a couple of sources that gave me some of the comparable weights and measures for one of these pots: liquid volume 125 ml; sugar 125 gm; flour 85 gm; rice 125 gm just to name a few.
It took me back to baking books from days of yore in which a recipe might instruct using a "juice glass" or a "coffee cup" as standard measures. And so it is with the French - perhaps un verre of something or a noisette de beurre is called for; or a c.à.s. (cuillère à soupe) or c.à.c. (cuillère à café), both standard size spoons (akin to our tablespoon and teaspoon) that are typically found in the average kitchen.
But before moving on to making the gâteau au yaourt I had to do a little testing of my own using a 5.3 oz/150gm container of cherry yogurt. I played around, separately weighing liquid, sugar and flour in the clean and dry container, then did a little math to compare what similar weights would be in a 125 gm yogurt container. They came out pretty darn close to the figures I had discovered on line (don't worry - I won't bore you with the details).
Now let's make gâteau au yaourt! Since I don't have all my baking pans with me in Michigan yet, I rummaged around in Mom's cabinets and found the two different sized loaf pans she's used for many years, from meat loaf to banana bread. I knew my batter would weigh about 780 gm, so I checked the pan volumes by weighing water in them. That confirmed for me that the larger of the two pans (see photo below) was just the ticket - the batter would have overflown the smaller pan. The pan I ended up using is not typical of the standard loaf pans one finds these days. It's longer, narrower and straight-sided - very nice in fact.
|Mom's longer, narrower loaf pan|
The gâteau couldn't be simpler. Butter and flour a medium loaf pan and heat the oven to 350º.
In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients: 2 pots de yaourt of sugar (equal to 250 gm, although I decreased it to 225 gm, similar to my standard cup of sugar); 3 pots de yaourt of flour (equal to 255 gm which I rounded up to 260 gm or 2 cups); 2 teaspoons baking powder; 1/2 tsp kosher salt.
In another medium bowl whisk together the wet ingredients: one pot de yaourt (125 gm, although I used the full 150 gm of my cherry yogurt - figured the extra bit would add moisture to the cake); 2 large eggs; un demi-pot de yaourt (63 gm or 1/4 cup) of vegetable oil and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pour the liquid mixture in and gently incorporate all with a spatula.
|wet on dry|
Fill the prepared loaf pan . . .
|ready for the oven|
|just out of the oven|
Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes then turn out onto the cooling rack to cool completely.
The end result had a nice crispy exterior and the cake had a good heft to it.
Upon slicing it's easy to appreciate the dense crumb.
The flavor was very pleasant, having the nuance of the cherries from the yogurt; the texture was definitely that of a pound cake.
Steve, Mom and I enjoyed it with some Talenti vanilla bean gelato - not a bad way to wind out a hot and muggy Saturday night.
It's summer after all!