Fans of Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini are already very family with the concept of the yogurt cake. She has posted a few variations on this French classic recipe. So I hesitated about adding my own version to the many existing ones. In the end, I was motivated by three things:
1. My recipe is slightly different and, well, very, very chocolate. That's got to be worth something to our readers.
2. Although she mentions that this recipe is particularly good for introducing children to cake baking, she does not actually have a cute kid who can demonstrate this fact. Big brother is an enthusiastic cook already, though most of his "help" so far has been limited to grating cheese (which he promptly eats) and stirring the bowl occasionally. He had a lot of fun with this recipe and I took a lot of photos.
3. The Critic is in Singapore for two weeks and needs to see photos of the boys he's missing. So I can keep him informed on what we are doing at the same time.
Obviously, I needed to post the recipe and photos. Read on for my take on the most child-friendly recipe on the planet. It really is a lovely, flexible cake: light and yet not too crumbly, perfect for little fingers to pull apart and eat without leaving a carpet of crumbs on the floor. I'm going to be making it again in just over a month for Little Brother's first birthday!
Chocolate Yogurt Cake (Makes one layer cake in an 8" pan, though I used some of the batter for cupcakes as you can see in the photos)
The reason this recipe is so child friendly - aside from the fact that it is after all a cake and chocolate to boot - is that nearly all the measurements are made using the yogurt pot once you have emptied it of yogurt. Little hands that have played in the sandbox at the park are very good at filling cups and dumping them; it's a concept they understand completely. (By the way, do have them wash those sandy little hands before you begin, right?)
1 pot of natural yoghurt (125 ml)
1 yogurt pot of vegetable oil
2 yogurt pots of sugar
3 yogurt pots of flour
200 grams of semi-sweet chocolate (I used two bars of Nestle's Noir Extra Fondant)
4 tsp baking powder (in France, use 1 sachet of levure chimique which can be found in the baking section of any French grocery store)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Assemble ingredients and wash your hands. Make sure the counters are (for once) clean.
2) Park Little Brother in a safe place with some plastic clips for playing. Have unsweetened Cheerios on hand for when the clips are no longer interesting enough.
3) Break up the chocolate and place in a double boiler over a medium flame to melt it. (Photo is of Big Brother licking the spatula after it has been used to add the chocolate to the batter.)
4) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
5) Spoon the yogurt into a large bowl.
6) Add the oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar and begin mixing.
7) Add the flour and baking powder and mix well. Stir in the by now melted chocolate.
8) Pour the batter into lined cupcake tins (fill 2/3 of the cup) or into a greased and floured cake pan.
9) For cupcakes, bake 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For cake, bake for 15 minutes at 180C, then reduce to 150 and bake a further 20-25 minutes. Again, check for done-ness by inserting a clean toothpick.
10) While Mom or other kitchen slave puts away ingredients and cleans the counter, continue sampling the batter on various kitchen implements.
11) Cool cupcakes or cake on a rack and consume with enthusiasm once cooled. (See first photo for the latter.)