Apple and Maple Yogurt Cake Recipe

A year ago today, my sister gave birth to a healthy baby boy; the next morning, Maxence and I were on a train to visit them at the hospital. He was the freshest newborn I’d ever held, and for weeks afterward, the most mundane display of emotion I witnessed — in a film, in a book, on the street — could make me weep. I was an aunt, and not just one in a dozen, either: that baby’s one and only aunt.

This unique position comes with great responsibility. Obviously I plan to be the really cool aunt, not the one with the prickly chin and the funny smell, and my strategy includes volunteering as the official birthday cake baker. And when we celebrated my nephew’s first birthday a little early — you can’t get hung up on exact dates when you live a Channel apart — this is what I baked.

The cake was moist, moderately sweet, and nicely aromatic — exactly what I was hoping to achieve.

Paul is too little to care much about a cake shaped like a train or Tintin’s rocket (though my father would certainly enjoy the latter), so I thought I would instead bake a simple one that might please a baby’s palate.

I followed Maxence’s not uncharacteristic suggestion of a gâteau au yaourt — a child-friendly cake if there ever was one — with two modifications: I sweetened it with maple sugar from a package of samples I recently received, and crowned it with thin slices of apple. This produced a moist, moderately sweet, and nicely aromatic cake — exactly what I was hoping to achieve.

Mini Cookbook of French Tarts

And what did the birthday boy think? Well, the birthday boy chose to fall asleep before dessert. And since waking a baby from his nap to feed him cake is not something young parents are wont to do, the grownups partook of the cake in his honor. But my sister did feed him a sliver later that day, and she tells me he kept asking for more, so it seems it was a success — as were the gifts we’d chosen for him, a toy xylophone and a squeaky caterpillar.

Joyeux anniversaire Paul !

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Apple and Maple Yogurt Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves 8.

Apple and Maple Yogurt Cake Recipe


  • 240 ml (1 cup) plain yogurt (I used fromage blanc this time)
  • 180 grams (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) finely ground maple sugar, divided (see note)
  • 2 eggs
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil (I use grapeseed oil)
  • 220 grams (2 cups minus 2 tablespoons) flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • a good pinch salt
  • one large apple of a variety that holds its shape when cooked (I used a Charden, which is a cross between the Clochard and the Golden, as the name implies)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (360° F) and line a 25-cm (10-inch) cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Set aside 1 rounded tablespoon of the maple sugar for topping.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, the remaining maple sugar, eggs, and oil. In another mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Peel the apple, then core, quarter, and slice it thinly. Add the flour mixture to the yogurt mixture and whisk it in quickly, until just combined. Don't worry about lumps and do not overmix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, arrange the apple slices on top, starting from the outside, and sprinkle with the reserved maple sugar.
  5. Put into the oven to bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. If you feel the apple slices might be browning too quickly, cover with a piece of parchment paper.
  6. Lift the cake cautiously out of the pan and transfer to a rack to cool. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


If maple sugar is unavailable, substitute 180 ml (3/4 cup) maple syrup and use just 180 ml (3/4 cup) yogurt to make up for the extra moisture.
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  • Adele

    What perfect timing! I just made my first batch of homemade yogurt since the ’80s, and picked up some first of the season maple syrup from a sugar hut a few miles from our house. Can’t wait to try this cake, and I’m sure my coworkers would be willing to aid and abet in devouring it.

    (P.S. you’ve got the be coolest auntie ever)

  • Congratulations from me, too!

    I’m aunt to a eight month old baby boy and I’m loving it. Can’t help but wonder whether having a baby of my own would be even better…

  • How sweet! I, too, recently became an aunt, and was overwhelmed by how harsh the world felt outside of the baby’s quiet nursery…

  • Oooh Clothilde, I love the sound of this. I have two little monkeys who just LOVE yoghurt cake. Sounds delish. Happy Birthday to your little nephew Paul.

  • Oooooohh Clotilde, I LOVE the sound of this. I have two little monkeys who just LOVE yoghurt cake. Sounds delish. Happy Birthday to your little nephew Paul.

  • What a lovely cake – and perfect for a little kiddie. I think I get to see my nephew-in-law (just without the marriage, lol) in a few weeks – I shall have to perfect this in advance!

  • Mrs Redboots

    I don’t know if it’s my oven or what (and this is the only sponge cake recipe I’ve ever found that rises in my oven), but it has taken very nearly an hour to cook, not the 40 minutes you state. I HOPE it’s cooked now – the last one I made wasn’t, and went all sadly in the middle! But it’s lovely.

    The one I’m making is a mandarin one, with limoncello to replace the rum in the original recipe.

  • Ooh, thank you for this. I am a new aunt as well (Olivia is about to turn 6 months old), and while I am not the only aunt, I’ve decided I want to be the cool one (which probably will happen, as I am the only CHILDLESS aunt; so I’m assuming the other aunts will be less likely to spoil her with impractical gifts and toys, so I can get all the really loud obnoxious toys that drive her parents mad).

    I might have to compete with my brother (her father) and both of my parents for the role as official birthday cake baker — we are a family of foodies, and they all live near each other while I’m somewhat comparatively far-off in New York.

  • What better way to celebrate maple sugaring season!

  • Congrats. I’ve got two small nieces, but I’m an uncle not an aunt. And I’m certainly the one with the prickly chin. Will have a go at the gateau but fear I’ll end up having to buy their love instead…

  • Mrs Redboots – What modifications did you make to the recipe to make it mandarin-flavored? If you added juice, then the batter would be moister, and would therefore take longer to bake.

  • what a fabulous combination! and joyous occasion!



  • How sweet! And I’m glad he liked it (even if he fell asleep). :)

  • Nieces (and nephews) are the sweetest – I have 4 total. Some too young to know me and the older ones are just getting to understand how far away I live. I used to be admonished for skipping their birthdays. “You didn’t come to my party” (the rudest thing ever to a 4-year-old).

    I don’t like most cakes (as a kid I feigned an allergy – to cake!!!) but this one has me intrigued. Thanks Clotilde.

  • Yum! I’ve been looking for new things to do with the apples I keep getting in my panier bio, and this looks like a winner!

  • Sounds divine. Can I dye it green and call it a St. Patrick’s day cake?

    Also, you mentioned you used fromage blanc. Isn’t that usually thicker than yogurt?

    Can you use them interchangeably?

  • Yummy! That sounds delicious. I noticed some buds on my apple tree today and was just thinking that it’s time to use up the frozen slices I’ve hoarded away. Can’t wait to try the recipe

    And what a wonderful thing to do for your nephew. I’m a one-and-only aunt too, and it does feel like a great, but wonderful, responsibility, doesn’t it?

  • An apple cake is a good thing. The addition of maple is nice too.

  • Yogurt cake, yogurt cake, everywhere I turn there’s yogurt cake! It’s as if the cooking gods are frustrated with me for being so dense, so they HIT me over the head with apples and maple sugar so I would finally get it.

    Alright, alright, I’ll make a yogurt cake.

    (Do you like the way I pretend to sound reluctant to make this divine recipe?)

  • Happy birthday, Paul! And what a lovely (and sensible) cake you made for him, Clotilde. Much more sensible than the buttercream-encrusted duck cake that I made for Lucas’s first birthday!

    BTW, try adding some of your maple sugar to breakfast pancakes. As you’d expect… it is divine.

  • Rachel

    I’m sure it won’t be long before your nephew realises how lucky he is to have you as his aunt!

    Having another variant on gateau au yaourt is always nice, too. (especially this one, as the weather here doesn’t seem able to decide if it’s spring or winter.)

  • This is such a sweet post. I am also an aunt to four nieces, no nephews. I can’t believe it, but the two oldest are both in college! It goes by fast. My goal is to also be the cool aunt; water guns are very helpful in this respect.

  • maria

    being an auntie is great – I am an auntie to five great young adults ranging from 17 – 27….yikes! i love to cook for them and am the “official” birthday cake baker (or buyer). Wait until you teach them stuff like driving, downloading music, filling out job applications – it gets better…ENJOY

  • Marie-Sophie

    Clotilde, this is just PERFECT timing!! My boyfriend’s godson’s first birthday is today and I have been thinking about what to bake as a cake …something special but not too sweet or heavy (and a little bit healthy) so he can actually enjoy a little himself!! so this comes just in time to save me!! :-)
    Thanks so much, it sounds delicious …
    chocolaty hugs from Germany,

  • This looks so tasty! Another delicious (and healthy!) take on yogurt cake is this Opulent White Chocolate and Yogurt Cake. It’s served cooled like a cheese cake and adorned with pomegranate seeds. Enjoy!

  • I can imagine how cute he is. I’ll be an aunt by this June. My brother’s wife is pregnant now. Maybe I’ll do the same, a voluntary baker for my niece. This dessert looks absolutely scrumptious, I can make it in her first birthday party too.

  • kim

    It’s my birthday tomorrow, and even though I’m 25 years older than your darling nephew I also like yoghurt cakes – I’ll be treating my family to your coconut & white chocolate version this weekend.

  • I love the idea of sprinkling maple sugar on the top. What a wonderful taste that would bring.


  • What a perfect cake for my own nephew who will be turning the rip old age of 1 year next month.

    It looks delicious! I love this cake already. Thank you!

  • I guess it’s for everybody’s palate, not just the baby. I’m already hungry, this make me want to indulge right away.

  • Thanks for this great recipe. Looks and sounds just awesome. Cheers for sharing.

  • enui

    I second the perfect timing :)
    I have apples that I’m not eating, so I need to find a use for them, I have maple syrup bought in a whim, and I have some leftover yogurt from baking your gâteau au yaourt, about 3/4 of a cup. On Sunday I’m going to bake this cake and I’ll bring it in the office on Monday morning :)

  • What a touching and lovely way of expressing yourself you are having. It really moves me. And happy belated birthday to little Paul

  • What a wonderful cake! You are definitely a cool aunt. :)

  • msue

    I had a baby nephew just like that once, but now he is 23 years old. By some miracle he moved to my town :), so I get to cook for him at last!

    Even though they grow up, a specially cooked meal is always appreciated.

    p.s. The maple-inspired yogurt cake is baking in the oven right now. MMMM, the house smells good!

  • Little Paul is one lucky baby!

  • meera

    clotilde, reading your post reminded me of my little one’s first birthday 3 years ago. you might be pleased to know i baked him THREE of your recipes (couldn’t decide as they all sounded delicious) – the chocolate zucchini one made it to birthday cake status but the flourless orange and other chocolate cake (don’t remember what it was called now) were a big hit as well.
    your cake recipes are always fantastic, thanks so much for sharing them.

  • This looks good..we love making cake recipes…we have to give it a try.

  • I love apple and maple cakes, i made one recently, apple and olive oil cake with maple icing. So i will look forward to trying this one.

  • ettagirl

    your apple and maple yogurt cake is delicious! so wonderfully light and subtly flavoured. and so simple to make.

    i made mine with these minor variations:
    i used a buttered and lightly dusted springform tube pan at the same baking time of 40 minutes; maple syrup instead of maple sugar, adjusting the amount of yogurt as you noted; and granny smith slices lighted sprinkled with demerera sugar.

    given the price of maple syrup – even here in canada where the stuff flows out of the trees – the cake won’t be a staple of my limited repertoire but the recipe is definitely a keeper for special occasions.

    ta so much.

  • Lindy Leech

    Thanks so much for the recipe. I made it this weekend, though didn’t have an apple, so mixed cranberries in the batter and put pecans and raw sugar on top. It was really lovely.

  • My father will drop hints from time to time about giving him grandchildren. My sister would like that- she wants to be an aunt so badly. The cake sounds delicious. I must try and track down some maple sugar. I think it would make a great addition to the pantry. You said that you received yours as a sample. Do you think that you would purchase it for yourself now that you’ve used it?

  • amy

    i made this yesterday for company and it was so easy and simple! im a veteran cookie-maker but this just sounded so yummy i was intrigued!

    i used greek yogurt (Fage Total), maple syrup, a fuji apple and sugar-in-the-raw (unbleached, organic sugar) for the topping. at 40 minutes it still wasnt done, but at 48 minutes the cake tester was clean. the bottom was a bit too brown, perhaps i’ll try 45 minutes next time.

    the maple sugar added sweetness, but not too sweet and an amazing aroma.

    next time, i think i’ll not only thinly slice the apples but dice them as well so it’s easier to cut slices… or maybe just use a sharper knife.

    just one issue: my cake was puffed up (rounded) on top, not flat like the picture above, any idea why?

  • je comprends bien la joie d’etre tante (meme si je partage l’honneur avec ma soeur..), et je suis sure que le petit neveux, une fois grandit, sera très contente d’avoir eu un si delicieux gateau de premier anniversaire :)

    Je vais inventer une occasion pour le faire, meme si mon deuxieme neveus a déjà feté son premier ans! :)

  • Elisheva

    I just made this last night with maple syrup instead of maple sugar – I brushed the apple slices with maple syrup before baking, and drizzled the last of my syrup over the cake right out of the oven. I had a piece this morning for breakfast and it’s totally lovely.

  • Angry Brit – I’ve really enjoyed using that maple sugar — not just in baking, but also on yogurt and muesli. Whether I would buy more is very much a question of price: I’ve seen it sold in tiny tins for the price of gold dust around here, but if I can find some at around the same price as the unrefined cane sugar I buy (~3.80€/kg) I will get more when my supply runs out.

    Amy – Thanks for reporting back! I’m glad you liked the cake. Re: the domed shape, the Joy of Baking troubleshooting page suggests that the batter may have been overmixed, or that there was too much flour (did you measure by weight or volume?), or that your oven runs a little hot.

  • I made the recipe using your maple syrup alternative and granulated sugar on top (I just can’t find maple sugar here in Finland!) and it was *delicious*! The baking time and other particulars worked out perfectly. Thanks so much for sharing. I also used apple slices that froze last autumn, and that worked just fine. Yummy.

  • amy

    thank you, clotilde for responding!

    i admit, i was rushing before company arrived. i didn’t precisely measure the volume of the flour and when i first combined the wet and dry ingredients after a few stirs there were patches of flour that didnt integrate. i wasnt sure about what you meant by “until just combined”. i expected lumps based on your instructions but this was totally un-integrated flour.

    yes, it is entirely possible that my oven runs hot. ive noticed when braising meats i have to cook at a much lower temperature (as much as 75 degrees F!) than the recipe suggests.

    thanks for the link, most helpful.

    i’ll definitely be trying this recipe again as it was a huge success and we always have apples in the house. if i wanted to save some money, could i substitute organic sugar (instead of maple sugar/syrup). how could i adjust the recipe?

    thanks again–love your site!

  • Merci pour la recette, il est cuit et on va se régaler à midi ;)

  • Amy – Absolutely: I normally use unrefined organic cane sugar in yogurt cake (this was just a variation on my basic recipe), which you can substitute for the maple sugar one for one.

  • Nel

    I couldn’t find maple sugar or syrup on any of the groceries I went to, but I know I just had to make this today. So I substituted it with pancake syrup that has 2%maple content. Before putting the pan in the oven I drizzled the apples with the syrup and again when serving it. Judging by how my family demolished the cake for breakfast, it is a winner. For sure on my next grocery trip, I will hoard a stock of maple sugar/syrup.

  • Marnie

    Tip: From the coolest Aunt ever in Canada

    I have no qualms about sharing with yo u my tip for being the coolest Aunt ever as you’re a continent away and no competition for my Canadian title.

    For the child’s birthday, from the age of 5 and on, give them lots of money – I, personally, started at $50 Cdn and progressed up to $100 as they aged. Take them shopping – anywhere they want to go. Let them buy anything they want with their money – and here’s the best part – even something their parents have said “No way, absolutely not” to. Hey! It’s their money, right. Include lots of ritual traditions – like going to your favourite creamery for ice cream, or visiting a special store and running around and sitting on all the chairs to see which is the most comfortable. Feel the love. Fun day for you, and great for them. Also teaches them the value of money. I have one nephew who asks the price of everything and then asks me if that’s cheap. He’s the miser of the family, of course. But he’ll always have money in the bank.

    Have fun!

  • Sian

    I am SO happy to have found your lovely site! I have just popped this wonderful cake into the oven here in Tokyo and I will take it into work tomorrow to share (well, if there’s any left after my “tasting” tonight!). I am really looking forward to making many more of your recipes. Merci beaucoup/domo arigato Clotilde! xx

  • congratulations on your nephew being happy and healthy. I just now found your blog and am so happy to know you..
    i LOVE yogurt cake- MY sicilian aunt is the first one who baked a yogurt cake for me, then taught me how to do it. I think your nephew will grow up to love yours, too :-)

  • Michelle

    I loved this cake, as did my friends. I used half plain flour and half buckwheat flour. The nutty buckwheat flour complemented the apple topping quite nicely.

  • Uma

    Clotilde, thanks for this recipe! I made this for my daughter’s first birthday and it was great. I didn’t have maple sugar, so just used regular granulated sugar and added vanilla for a bit of flavour. I served it with chilled whipped cream. My daughter enjoyed digging into it the next day. Of course, we adults loved it. Thanks again :)

  • Amy

    Thank you! This is exactly what I’m looking for! My little guy turns one today and I’m getting set to bake this cake for him RIGHT NOW. We went apple-picking earlier in the week because I just knew the recipe for the perfect apple cake would be out there, somewhere.

    • Happy to hear it, Amy, my best birthday wishes to your son!

  • Anne & Frank Kerrigon

    A delicious cake! I made it this afternoon and it arrived from the oven so beautifully. We had it for dessert tonight and it was wonderful. I don’t bake cakes too often and what a treat this was for my husband. I think it would be wonderful as a breakfast treat also. My husband has asked me to make it for his Italian class! The ultimate compliment I believe. Thank you Clotilde for a wonderful recipe and so easy too.

    • So glad to hear it, Anne, thanks for telling me!

  • This is the perfect cake to serve for dessert following days of sweets over Christmas!

    I brought it to a dinner party last night and everyone was grateful for a light fluffy cake, with a hint of sweetness from the apple and maple syrup. Thanks for sharing this recipe :)

    • I’m pleased to hear it, Zibi, thank you for reporting back!

  • MsD

    Great recipe – I tried it and it was delicious – I will reference on my blog so folks know I found it here.

  • Kiri

    An absolute hit with our church friends. They’re asking for more. Thank you so much for sharing your delightful recipes, Clotilde!

    • Wonderful to hear — thanks for reporting back!

  • I baked this today. I used maple syrup and googled that 3/4 cup of maple syrup has various results in ml. In the end, I decided to use 175ml maple syrup. I used Greek yogurt (plain) and added zest of 1/2 lemon and 1/2 orange. The cake itself is subtly sweet, with the apple slices enhance the sweetness. I like the level of sweetness from 175 ml maple syrup, but I think others will prefer it sweeter. Overall, I like the cake as it is fairly healthy for everyday sweet snack (and a good way to use up leftover yogurt), easy to make and perfect for cold days when having it warm :) I have a question though, prior cooling the cake on the rack, do we remove the cake from the baking pan or do we cool the cake together with the pan?

    • Thank you for reporting back, Jessica! It is definitely a moderately sweet cake, especially suited to a young child. I like my sweets not very sweet, but more maple syrup can always be drizzled on after the fact. :)

      I recommend lifting the cake out of the pan before cooling — I’ll clarify that in the recipe.

      • Thanks for the clarification. I am baking strawberry yogurt cake now by modifying your recipe. Finger crossed it will turn well. Really love this recipe!

        • This is one of the most versatile cake recipes you’ll ever come across, so feel free to tweak it to your heart’s content! A strawberry version sounds wonderful.

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