French Yogurt Cake with a Tropical Twist

French Yogurt Cake with a Tropical Twist

The first time I saw the recipe for “French Yogurt Cake” in last May’s (2012) Bon Appetit, I knew it would be a classic in my repertoire.   It looked like pound cake, but with a lighter crumb, and the fact that it contained Greek yogurt as well as many other ingredients common to my pantry, made it immediately attractive.

Ingredients 2

I made the recipe last spring and it met my high expectations.  No heavy mixers were dragged out of cabinets, it could be made in minutes, and it froze well.  This latter point being critical since, as a two person household, we rarely are able to eat a whole cake or bread loaf before it becomes stale.  The cake’s versatility as a sweet breakfast, an afternoon snack, or even dessert was just another point in its favor.

Lime Zest

Lime Zest and Sugar2 large eggsThe recipe also seemed to lend itself to adaptation a point that Brit (of the Kitchen Bee) and I set to prove last summer.  Brit, about to go on vacation in the tropics, and me, staying behind in steamy North Carolina, both felt the need for a dessert that carried us off to a beach with white sands, turquoise water, and cool breezes.   We fooled around with the Bon Appetit recipe, replacing vanilla extract for coconut extract, lime zest in place of lemon zest, and adding shredded coconut into the mix.   The coconut extract and lime zest made the batter smell like a heady mix of Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen and Pina Colada and before we knew it, we were dumping a tablespoon of Meyers Dark Rum into the batter.   Swept up in the moment, I think we would have added a paper umbrella if we thought it would taste good.


Dry and Liquid Ingredients

Adding dry ingredients to wet ingredientsFrench Yogurt Cake Batter

Ready for the OvenThis week, as colder temperatures continue to hang around, I found myself in need of something that at least tasted like warmer days.  I pulled out our notes from this summer and whipped up a batch of this cake.  Requiring just 10 minutes of prep, the smell of coconut and lime wafting out of my oven was reason enough to go to the trouble.  A slice of the cake (or possibly two) blew all my winter blues away.

French Yogurt Cake with a Tropical Twist Sliced

French Yogurt Cake with a Tropical Twist – Printer Friendly Recipe
Inspired by the “French Yogurt Cake” recipe in the May 2012 issue of Bon Appetit 
Serves 8

While the original recipe calls for whole-milk Greek yogurt, I have used non-fat Greek yogurt and gotten equally good results.  I would use whatever you have on hand as a trip to the grocery store would cancel out this recipe’s simplicity.  Feel free to get creative with the recipe below.  The next time I make this cake I plan to use orange zest.

1 ½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ cup flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated lime zest (about 1 ½ small limes)
¾ cup whole milk Greek yogurt
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon coconut extract
1 tablespoon Meyers Dark Rum

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf (8 ½ x 4 ¼-inch) pan with cooking spray or a little vegetable oil and dust with flour.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk to combine and then stir in the flaked coconut.  Set the dry ingredients aside.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lime zest and whisk to combine.  Stir in the whole-milk Greek yogurt, the vegetable oil, eggs, coconut extract and Meyers Dark Rum.  Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before turning the cake out on the rack.   Let cool before serving.   Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


  1. Looks delicious! I have everything on hand, besides the coconut extract, so I may have to try it tonight! Can you sub in vanilla? Hope all is well!


  2. Nikki!

    I totally made this last night and we loved it!!! I went with your recommendations, work with what you have on hand, and it was lovely! No limes, so I used lemon zest. I only had coconut oil and that tasted delicious! Thanks for an easy, on hand dessert! 😉 My waistline might not agree, but my taste buds did! It was work to stay away after slice one!! Oh, I also added a little whip cream on the side – yum.


  3. What a great comment to receive. I’m so glad that you all made this and thought that it was yummy. I am also thrilled that you used coconut oil. Did you simply warm it before using? YUM and extra coconut flavor which is a very good thing. And I wouldn’t feel too bad about your waistline, it does have yogurt in it! That’s good, right?!? Thanks so much for sending an update. Hope you guys are doing well.


  4. Yes, I just warmed the coconut oil for a couple of minutes on the stove! It was perfect – and just used the same amount (1/2 cup)! Between that and yogurt, it’s definitely a “healthier” dessert! 🙂 Hope you guys are well too! Miss y’all!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s