french yogurt cake image

French Yogurt Cake Recipe

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This French yogurt cake recipe is the perfect option when you’re looking for something sweet, simple, and homemade to enjoy. Whether it’s topped with some orange marmalade or a simple scoop of crème fraîche and fresh berries, you’re going to love this delicious cake.

History of French Yogurt Cake

It may seem strange, but the French actually don’t bake very much at home.

This is especially true for Parisians, and when you think about all the amazing bakeries and pastries shops nearby, it makes sense.

They can have high-quality, fresh baked goods within moments.

That leads one to wonder, why spend a few hours making a mille-feuille or macarons when you can just walk down the street and pick up a delectable one made by an artisanal baker?

But the French have a deep appreciation and love for home cooking and traditional recipes, which is why you will find them baking something delightful from time-to-time, right at home in their own kitchen.

This French yogurt cake is a staple for French home cooks.

This French yogurt cake recipe can be whipped up to celebrate a birthday, special dinner, or just a family gathering at the home.

Its versatility and ease make this cake one to add to your baking arsenal.

French Yogurt Cake recipe on a plate image

What does yogurt do to a cake?

Yogurt is often used in cakes in the same way sour cream is, as a moistening agent that helps the recipe yield a tender and fluffy crumb.

Not only that, but the tub in which it’s sold in in France is often the perfect size for measuring out the rest of the cake ingredients, making yogurt multi-purposeful.

In France, you’ll often find yogurt sold in 1/2 cup or 4 oz containers. So a cake recipe like this might list 1 tub of yogurt and 3 tubs of flour (i.e. 1 1/2 cups of flour).

Because it is less common to find plain yogurt in tub sizes like this, I’ve simply listed out the standard American measures in the recipe card below.

french yogurt cake in loaf pan image

How to Make French Yogurt Cake

This French yogurt cake recipe doesn’t require any fancy equipment and is as foolproof as cakes get.

No need to worry about the cake sinking in the middle or having to decorate it once it’s done.

In fact, if you made it the traditional French way, you wouldn’t even really need more than a bowl and a whisk to create the batter because the French like to use the container from the yogurt that’s used in the batter to measure out all their ingredients! 

One of the tricks I like to do to make this simple cake really shine is to rub the sugar and lemon zest together before I whisk everything together in the bowl.

This small step helps impart extra fresh, vibrant flavor from the lemon to the cake.

Once I’ve done that, I simply combine the rest of the ingredients and pour the batter into a greased loaf pan.

Does yogurt cake need to be refrigerated?

No, you don’t need to refrigerate the cake.

I’ve left the cake wrapped up in plastic wrap on the counter for a few days and it’s been just fine!

slice of french yogurt cake with jam

Topping Your Cake

You can top your yogurt cake with anything you’d like, including fresh fruit or a fruit jam.

Other favorite toppings include crème fraîche and ice cream.

When I eat a slice for breakfast, I often add nothing and simply enjoy its lovely texture and aroma on its own with a cup of coffee.

The cake has a tender, moist, and fluffy texture, with a crumb that melts in your mouth, flooding your senses with the warm taste of vanilla and sugar.

In a way, this French yogurt cake recipe can be thought of as a lighter and fluffier version of the American pound cake.

I highly recommend giving this cake a try the next time you’re in the mood to bake something perfectly sweet and easy!

Gluten-free yogurt cake

Because I’ve gotten questions asking how to make this cake gluten-free, I want to tell you that you can reduce the eggs to 2 eggs, and simply swap in a gluten-free flour blend 1:1 for the all-purpose flour in this recipe.

Just note that you’ll want to make sure the gluten-free flour blend has xantham gum in it.

I like to use the Good & Gather Gluten-Free Flour Blend from Target.

Dairy-Free Yogurt Cake

Another question I’ve gotten is how to make this cake dairy-free. You’ll need to substitute the plain yogurt with plain coconut milk yogurt.

A 1:1 swap will work nicely. You can also swap out the vegetable oil for coconut oil to enhance a bit of the coconut flavor.

It tastes great and has gotten rave reviews from my dairy-free taste-testers!

french yogurt cake image

French Yogurt Cake Recipe

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A moist and fluffy French cake made with yogurt and staple baking ingredients.


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flavorless oil (canola, grapeseed)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest together, using your fingers to rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs and whisk until pale yellow and light.
  2. Add the yogurt and vanilla extract and whisk until combined. Now add the flour, baking powder, and salt; whisk just until batter is smooth.
  3. Use a rubber spatula to fold the oil into the batter; the cake batter will look glossy once you’re done.
  4. Pour the batter into a greased 1 lb. loaf pan and bake the cake for approximately 40 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Flip the cake out onto a wire cooling rack and allow it to cool before serving.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 8 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 173mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 5g

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  1. I made this a few months ago and loved! I would like to make it for Christmas gifts in a smaller mini loaf size. Any ideas on adjusting baking time for mini loaves? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lisa! I would check on the loaves at 25 min then every 5 minutes after that since every oven is different!

  2. I love this recipe. It is so adaptable
    I use this recipe with almond flour and without sugar, to create a keto cake I prefer making it savoury with cheese or other savoury ingredients
    but it’s possible to use a sugar substitute and berries
    its possibilities are endless!

    1. Hi Julia! Thanks for your comment! This truly is a great “base” recipe to work with to try all the variations and twists that you like! 🙂

    1. Hi Mirza! Yes, you can. It will be a tad less moist than it would have if you used oil, but nothing too noticeable. I would just say, in general, you can very easily get away with substituting butter for oil in quick bread recipes like banana bread or pumpkin bread, which have bananas or pumpkin to help with the moistness factor. In this case, like I said, the texture will be a tiny bit different but nothing too noticeable or different. 🙂

      1. Hi Beeta

        Can I use all semolina flour in place of APF with a 1:1 substitution by volume? Will it affect the cake texture? Is there any adjustment needed like adding milk / liquid since semolina soaks up more liquid.

        I’m also keen to try out this cake with a mix of semolina flour, coconut flour, and almond flour. Thanks!

      2. Hi Shipra! I’ve never tried this with semolina flour so I can’t tell you accurately what would need to be changed. I’ve only done GF and Dairy-Free substitutes, which you can find under the two headings within the blog post. King Arthur Flour has an article on using semolina flour in recipes which may be helpful! 🙂

      1. I just made this and it’s absolutely beautiful! I sprinkled the top with a dusting of icing sugar(Powdered Sugar) perfect with a espresso. Thankyou!

      2. Thank you for coming back to leave a comment, Patricia! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe. 🙂

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