OK, I went a little crazy. Ever since I read about Clothilde's Gateau au Yaourt on Chocolate and Zucchini, I have been wanting to make this cake. Maybe because it is reportedly the first cake a French child learns to bake, and that appealed to me, the Rookie Cook. I was also attracted to the simplicity of the recipe, and the variable ways of dressing it up, or leaving it plain. I also like the fact that it is a one layer cake, and could be made when company is coming and you don't want a lot of left over cake. (Humor me. It could theoretically happen.) Here is what I did.
First: although it looks like a lot of cake in the photograph, in fact I baked only two 9 inch rounds of cake, then in some cases I sliced a round in half and stacked one layer on top of another to make layers. Clothilde's recipe is for one single layer of cake, and since I wanted to test a few variations, I went ahead and doubled the recipe. However, for one layer I substituted Stevia for the sugar, making a cake my diabetic relatives could (and did!) enjoy.
FRENCH YOGURT CAKE RECIPE VERSION WITH SUGAR
This is straight from Clothilde's web site and makes one 9 inch round of cake:
1 cup whole, plain unsweetened yogurt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon light rum
NOTE: I didn't have any light rum, so I used brandy. It seemed fine to my uneducated (spirits-in-cooking- wise) palatte.
ANOTHER NOTE: Clothilde gives the instruction that one can use the yogurt tubs as a measuring device, substituting one tub for one half cup measure, if you are using 4 oz. tubs, for example. Check her site for the explanation.
YET ANOTHER NOTE: The sugarless version of this cake is exactly as above, but substitute Stevia for the sugar. Make sure it is a form of Stevia that measures equivalently for sugar. The brand I bought at Trader Joe's is mixed with Lactose, a milk sugar, and works fine if no one eating the cake is lactose intolerant. In my mind this is far superior to artifical, chemical sugars such as Splenda or Nutrisweet, which I will not use due to toxicity concerns.
Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you exhibit A:
This was my favorite. The cake, dusted with confectioner's sugar. Simple, not cloyingly sweet, a lovely little treat.
In the first picture, there it is, side by side with Exhibit B: which is dusted with Chocolate Cocoa Powder. This was OK, but not great, because while I used good quality cocoa, it was also a bit too bitter for the cake. A semi-sweet or sweet cocoa would have been better, methinks.
Exhibit C is the layered version, with spreadable fruit preserve (in this case, home made persimmon jam) as the glaze and filling. This was yummy too.
Exhibit D was essentially the same as C, except that this was the cake made with Stevia, and the persimmon jam was a home-made version also sweetened with Stevia (recipes forthcoming).
CAUTION: If you look at the first picture of cakes, you'll see that the Stevia cake in the upper right corner looks a tad soggy in the middle. Because it cooks differently, I think it could have used a bit more time in the oven. However my home critics were appreciative of the cake anyway and called it a success. Next time I hope it's better.
So there you have it, friends and neighbors. With all these choices (and plenty more you can dream up besides,) you'll find that you can have your cake, and eat it too! "Merci" to Clothilde for a keeper of a recipe.