The light fluffy texture of this fantastic flourless yogurt cake is almost soufflé-like and the flavour is tangy and cheesecake-like. It’s a decadent treat you can eat without feeling guilty – a lightened up cheesecake made without heavy cream cheese. Serve it just plain, sprinkled with a dusting of powdered sugar, or dress it up for company with billows of softly whipped cream and a pile of fresh berries. (Skip to recipe.)
Well, the calendar says ‘Spring’ but the view out of my window still says ‘Winter’, so I need to bring a feeling of spring to my kitchen. This bright and light yogurt cake is just the way to do it. One bite and I can feel the sunshine warming my face and hear the birds chirping. The texture of the cake is light as a cloud and the flavour has the irresistible tang of a delicate cheesecake. Absolutely yummy!
In truth, we’ve been hearing the honking of the returning Canada geese flying overhead and seen them out and about in pairs in the neighbourhood ponds. It snowed all day yesterday. The world was white and roads were terrible. Then today the sun on the snow is so bright it’s blinding, and water is gurgling and running down the eavestroughs as the snow melts off the roof. I guess that’s our springtime here in Alberta – here one day, in hiding the next. So it’s time to celebrate with cake.
Easy Flourless Yogurt Cake
This easy yogurt cake only has a few ingredients. You do need to separate the eggs and beat the whites and yolks separately, but if you have a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, the task’s a breeze. (Even if you’re whisking it by hand, the job can feel oddly therapeutic and rewarding.)
Fold in some sugar (I like to use organic evaporated cane sugar), a good heap of Greek yogurt, and a few spoonfuls of cornstarch (again, I use organic so I know it’s not genetically modified) or potato starch, and pile it all into a parchment paper lined baking pan. The cake is naturally gluten free, so you can serve it with confidence to guests with this food allergy.
The size of pan you use does make a difference here. A small pan (7-inches/18cm in diameter) will give you the highest lift and a more fluffy soufflé-like texture. The 7-inch size is not a common size (though I like to have it on hand, now that I’m often making a cake for just two of us), so you can use an 8-inch/20cm round cake pan. Keep in mind your yogurt cake will be flatter and more cake-like than if you use the smaller pan. Still tastes just as amazing, though.
Use a big enough piece of parchment paper so that it forms a raised wall to contain the batter as it rises. The cake will puff up gloriously in the oven, and then fall somewhat as it cools, forming the perfect indent to fill with whipped cream, or just a dusting of powdered sugar.
Once the cake has cooled, peel off the parchment paper. The wrinkles and folds add a rustic textural element to this luscious cake.
How to Serve a Yogurt Cake
You can just dust the top with powdered sugar for a simple presentation.
Or top the cake with a pillow of softly whipped cream (see how to stablilize whipped cream here, so it stays fresh and fluffy for days), and then pile on a mound of fresh berries or fruit, and dust it with some more powdered sugar ‘snow’ (the only kind of snow I want to be seeing around here).
How Else to Eat this Luscious Yogurt Cake?
This cake seems to just disappear off the counter in a couple days in our house – I think we have a serious problem with cake-elves, but I can never catch those little tricksters in the act! I can attest to the fact that a slab of this gloriously tangy and fluffy cake eaten out of hand is truly a treat. It satisfies any cheesecake cravings you may have, without any of the heavy cheesecake calories that usually go along with it. It’s that delicious Greek yogurt – it provides the cheesecake flavour notes, and the beaten eggs provide the fluffiness. (Together they actually contribute a good amount of protein to this cake.)
Try the yogurt cake:
- plain, with a dusting of powdered sugar
- topped with whipped cream and fresh berries or fruit
- topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce
- served with a big dollop of rhubarb curd – spring on a plate!
- alongside a bowl of baked rhubarb compote
- topped with a dollop of jam and a spoonful of lightly sweetened yogurt – double yogurt delight!
- with berry sauce and ice cream or whipped cream
- with praline cream
- alongside a fresh fruit salad
- as part of a dessert platter with this Strawberry Flip Dip
However you choose to serve it, this simple Yogurt Cake can be the dessert star at your next gathering (it would make a lovely Easter finale) or it can be the everyday cake everyone looks for on the countertop when they’re feeling ‘snackish’. It fills that role admirably well at our house. In fact, a cup of tea and a slab of this cake make a mighty fine breakfast when I’m feeling like a light bite in the morning.
Light, bright, and not too sweet – this yogurt cake’s one of those unsung heroes in the cake world.
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Notes: If I just have cornstarch, that works great – it is the starch I use most often when I make this cake. But if you happen to have either some potato starch or arrowroot starch and substitute it for some of the cornstarch (even using 2 tablespoons each of all three starches), I find the texture of the cake seems to be even a bit more silky. I discovered this one day when I had only a bit of cornstarch left in the jar.
*I always use organic cornstarch, to ensure it is not made from genetically modified corn.
Flourless Yogurt Cake
- 4 large eggs, separated
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup (100gms) sugar
- 1¼ cups (325gms) Greek yogurt, 2% fat content or higher
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons (50gms) cornstarch, potato starch, arrowroot starch, or any combination of these
optional, to serve:
- a sprinkle of icing sugar/powdered sugar
- lightly sweetened whipped cream
- fresh fruit or berries
Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C). Tear off a large piece of parchment paper and push it down into a 7-inch (18 cm) round springform pan or cake pan so that the paper sticks up at least an inch (2.5cm) all the way around. Flatten the creases in the paper as best you can. To get the best rise and fluffiest cake, it’s important to use this small size of pan. If you use a larger pan (no bigger than 8-inch/20cm) the yogurt cake will be flatter and not quite as fluffy, but still taste as good.
Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt until they are stiff. Remove them to a separate bowl.
Add the egg yolks to the mixing bowl along with the sugar. Beat them together until they are pale yellow and fluffy. This will take 3 to 4 minutes on high speed. Beat in the yogurt and vanilla. Then add the starch and continue beating until it is mixed in.
Fold the beaten egg whites into the yolk/yogurt mixture 1/3 at a time. Gently fold in until only pea-sized pockets of beaten whites remain. Don’t over-fold. Pour the batter into the parchment-lined baking pan. Bang it on the counter a few times to get any air bubbles to rise.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the center no longer feels liquid when gently pressed with your finger, and the edges are nicely browned.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan, then lift it out using the paper and gently peel off the parchment paper from the cake. Dust with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit.
Serves 6 to 8.
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