Cooking with Toddlers: Yogurt Cake
A few weeks ago, I mentioned that one of my lingering takeaways from Bringing Up Bebe had been how French families bake with their children from a very early age and how capable even the youngest toddlers were of preparing a batter. It’s not so much the baking that struck me per se but the idea that my son, not quite three, might be capable of more than I often give him credit for. I think that I too often fall into the mode of thinking that my son is too young to be able to do XYZ and therefore delay pursuing it.
As a result of reading the book, I decided to start baking with my son as often as possible in order to attempt to instill patience, an understanding of cooking and an appreciation for food. I really like to cook. The first career I ever wanted was to be a singer (??? Ok, I was 5 years old), but my second career (at the advanced age of 8) was to be an artist (never mind the fact I have no artistic ability) AND a chef. I’m not at all the caliber of a restaurant chef, but I’ve always enjoyed cooking and watched my mother cook amazing homemade meals. Since Jimmy and I have started making many of our meals and sauces from scratch, I’m really excited that I might be able to pass along an appreciation of cooking and food to Daniel at such an early age.
The first recipe we made was yogurt cake, inspired from Bringing Up Bebe. I didn’t use the recipe that Druckerman included but thanks to the awesome power of Google, I used Chocolate & Zucchini’s recipe with a few minor variations. Due to limitations such as Jimmy buying a ginormous container of yogurt, we couldn’t use the yogurt container as the measuring cup. Details, schmetails!
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek yogurt and was a bit liberal with it)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tbsp rum
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Line bottom of round pan with parchment paper and grease sides (I confess I did not do a good job with this part, so my cake looked a little misshapen)
- Combine yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil, rum, and lemon extract
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in another bowl
- Combine dry and wet ingredients until just combined
- Pour batter into prepared pan
- Bake for 30-35 minutes (we found 32-33 to be perfect)
I loved making this recipe with Daniel. He was able to participate throughout the entire process and had a good time. The cake was amazing. It was lighter than a pound cake but denser than the basic yellow cake, and I think the addition of lemon extract really helped.
The cake cooked quickly. That first night, Daniel had a small bit and then refused to eat any more (grumble). I had a few pieces over the next few days before declaring myself done. I took the leftover cake to work, and my coworkers happily demolished it.
I would definitely make the cake again. The yogurt cuts the sweetness but adds a depth to the cake that is rather unusual and very nice. In my Googling, I saw several variations on the recipe that included more exotic ingredients such as fruit and nutella, so it looks like it is a very versatile recipe.