Gateau au yaourt
Yogurt cake is the first cake
French kids learn how to make usually in the last year of Kindergarten
or the first year of elementary school. It is very easy to make and the
measurements for the cakes are simplified by the use of the yogurt
container as a measure. This lets even young children able to help
measure, pour, mix and bake the cake.
The French school system is
actually quite different than its US counterpart. In France, children
go to Kindergarten for three year, starting at 3 years old. This is
called "maternelle" and is usually broken down between "petite
maternelle" (little kindergarten), "maternelle moyen" (medium
kindergarten) and "maternelle grand" (big kindergarten). Kindergarten is
optional but 95% of all French 3 year old and 98% of the 4 and 5 year
old attend it.
is mandatory starting at 6 years old. After Kindergarten, elementary
school begins at 6 years old with Cours preparatoir, shortened to CP.
Then children attend "Cours elementaire 1" or CE1 followed by "Cours
elementaire 2" or CE2. The last two years of elementary school are spent
in "Cours Moyen 1" and "Cours Moyen 2" (CM1 and CM2 respectively). By
the time kids reach this level, they know how to read, write, count and
have been exposed to some history, geography, civics as well as art and
music. Some schools also offer early language classes such as English or
regional languages classes such as Breton or Basque.
this age, kids attend school all day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and
Fridays. Growing up, we also had Saturday morning classes from 8 am to
noon but this practice was canceled in 2008. I suspect the French government
gave in to the parent's pressure to end Saturday classes as it
significantly cuts down on the weekend time. At
11 years old, children move up to college, which would be the
equivalent of middle school in the US. At this level, grades are
referred to by numbers: 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd. Notice that unlike in the
US, the grade levels go from largest to smallest. This is just to add to
the confusion (since it was in ascending order in elementary school).
college, the children attend high shcool, le lycee. Classes are then
2nd, 1st and Terminale (which means final class). At the end of the
Terminale, students take the Baccalaureat examen which is the equivalent
of the US high school diploma but is based on 2 weeks of finals at the
end of the year instead of based on the whole year's work like in the
US. The classes are also more demanding than in the US. For example,
everyone is expected to take philosophy classes and it is part of the
mandatory subjects in the baccalaureat. The
baccalaureat is the only requirement to attending university classes in
France, as most of the higher education universities are public and
free to attend.
But back to the yogurt cake.
As I mentioned before, it is very simple to make. You start with a
yogurt, hence the name. When the yogurt container is emptied, you use it
as your standard measure for the rest of the ingredients. No
complicated weighing and no need for the standard measuring cups.
1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 yogurt (can use plain or flavored - if using greek, use two cups as those containers tend to be smaller)
1/2 yogurt container of oil
2 yogurt containers of sugar
3 yogurt containers of flour
1 lemon zest (optional)
Put the ingredients in the order listed in a large mixing bowl.
Combine until you get a dough.
Place in a buttered pan
used a spring form pan as it was the closest I had to a cake mold. You
could use a brownie pan, a tart pan or even two pie pans if you want to
make a two layer cake (spread some jam in the middle - yum!). You can
add some cut up fruit or some chocolate chip in the dough for something
Bake in a 360 degrees oven for about 30 minutes. The cake is done when the tip of a knife inserted in the cake comes out clean.
can serve this cake as is with a cup of tea or with some
homemade jam on the side. We chose to use some of the homemade blueberry
compote we made last summer. It's a versatile cake so enjoy it any way