This short yogurt cake with fresh chunks of pear and dark chocolate is inspired by my celebrity crush, Cyril Lignac. If you’re familiar with The Great British Baking Show, you may be aware that the French have the same show but with a French cast, contestants, and a lot of patisserie. It’s the exact same style and the same white tent — just in France! Le Meilleur Pâtissier, (the show’s name and literally translated to “The Best Baker”, features chef-judge, Cyril Lignac. He’s a professional chef from Marseille and beloved by the French community. And me! He’s charismatic, funny, and has a love for baking. A prime crush-candidate, right? (Now it we’re talking movie stars, here are my two favorite’s: Matt Bomer & Henry Cavill — they look like twins. I clearly have a type).
Back to cake. Cyril, (<– I guess we’re not entirely back to cake yet), is active on his Instagram account and sometimes makes quick videos (in French) of various recipes he’s cooking from his home. A couple weeks ago he was making today’s pear and dark chocolate cake: an incredibly moist yogurt cake with fresh pear and chunks of dark chocolate folded in. While texturally dense, it’s actually light as can be. It has no eggs and no butter. So it remains quite light and you can actually slice a larger piece because of it. So whether you eat it as a breakfast cake, with tea, or after dinner, it’ll add the perfect amount of sweet to your day.
Better even? Besides that it’s inspired from Cyril, obviously, is that it’s actually really easy to make. Without butter, there is no need for an electric mixer. A simple whisk and bowl will do. It’s just a matter of combining the ingredients and letting is bake. You’re left with a delicious fresh rustic cake that really transports you to France. So many French cakes use fresh fruit to provide flavor. And so many American cakes use frosting to do so. This very different approach (always exceptions of course), really does offer a different dessert experience. So if you’d like a dessert that tastes amazing, uses seasonal ingredients, and doesn’t leave you glued to the couch for hours afterward, consider this one. From my crush to yours. 😉
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Pear & Dark Chocolate Cake
Fresh pieces of pear and rich dark chocolate dot this delicious yogurt cake. It's a moist cake and quite light without eggs or butter. It's great for breakfast, teatime or after dinner. And it's super quick and easy to make, requiring only a whisk!
- 3/4 cup Yogurt, plain (whole or greek; sour cream works too)
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- Zest Of one lemon
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
- 1/2 cup Vegetable oil (grapeseed, sunflower, or any neutral cooking oil)
- 1 1/2 cups Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder
- Pinch Salt
- 2 Pears, peeled and chopped into cubes (any kind)
- 2/3 cup Dark chocolate chunks (or dark chocolate chips)
Preheat the oven to 350F degree. Grease an 8 or 9-inch round baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the oil, lemon zest, and vanilla.
With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Fold in the chunks of pear and dark chocolate. Transfer the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. (It will depend on the juiciness of your pears, and can take up to 60 minutes in some cases too).
Invert onto a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, sprinkle with powered sugar. Slice and serve.
Adapted from Cyril Lignac’s gateau poire chocolat.