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Let them Eat (Yogurt) Cake

May 4, 2012
Yogurt Cake

The last two slices of cinnamon yogurt cake

I’ve started to make the rounds at local preschools, since we plan to have O start part-time when she turns two.  Two still  seems like a ways off – her birthday isn’t until November – but I should’ve started this process even earlier if I didn’t want to end up on wait lists instead of being guaranteed a spot. Touring potential preschools is both fun and a little bit awful. Stepping into a preschool, if you haven’t been in one for, oh, I don’t know, 33 years or so, is like entering a strange and wonderful universe where all the furniture is miniature and the all the colors are bright and everyone is ridiculously positive and enthusiastic. I love the tiny chairs and bright colors and handmade artwork on the wall. I love the sound of high-pitched little voices singing off-key and squealing on the playground.

What I don’t love is how being in a herd of parents also interested in the same preschool starts making me feel anxious and sweaty. It’s not so much that I feel competitive about the process, I’m just not sure how one chooses exactly the right preschool when so far, they all seem pretty decent. I try to read the expressions of the other parents during the tour. Do they like this school? Should I like this school too? When the director says that they don’t allow any sugar to be packed in lunches from home, am I the only parent annoyed by this? Does this make me a bad parent? Am I a slacker parent because schools that require year-round fundraising events are immediately crossed off my list? Should I be asking questions about Play-Based Learning vs Montessori vs the Reggio Emilia approach? Why does everyone keep talking about the Reggio Emilia approach but no one can actually explain what it is?

Here’s the thing. I suppose it’s great that this city has a hundred different preschools I could apply to, but I’m not someone who needs endless choices. For example, I actually resent the fact that places like paint stores offer so many choices. I don’t need 30 shades of blue! Especially when twenty of them are so similar that you find yourself in a loop debating between ocean, ocean breeze and ocean mist as if all your life’s happiness depends on choosing exactly the right shade. Not that choosing a school for O is the same as deciding what color to paint her bedroom (we ended up with “liquid blue”) but it’s just preschool. I want her to be safe, I want her to have fun, I want her to feel excited about meeting new people and learning new things. That pretty much covers my expectations for preschool.

Oh, and I also want to pack homemade, sweet goodies for little O to enjoy during lunch. Not every day, and not Snicker bars or those Pixie sticks full of pure sugar that we all inhaled when we were kids (or remember that white stick made of sugar that you dipped into a pouch of colored sugar and sucked on?). But I do want to pack cookies and little slices of cake now and then without being made to feel like I’m ruining my child’s life. But apparently, sugar does ruin a child’s life. I’ve learned that most preschools ask (or in some cases, strictly require) that you don’t pack sugar in your kid’s lunch. I know this is mostly a good thing and it teaches good eating habits  bla bla bla, but I hate being micro-managed as a parent. I hate that everything has to be so extreme. I mean, how great is it to open up a lunch sack, especially if you’re a little 2 year old away from mama, and find that mama has packed you a special  cookie? Pretty great.  So while I promise to pack very healthy lunches, I also intend to smuggle contraband sweet treats into her lunch now and then. Maybe she’ll be an obedient student who will hand the cookie over to her teacher, but based on the behavior I’ve seen from O recently, I doubt it. I think she’ll smile and enjoy every bite.

This month’s Bon Appetit had a recipe for French Yogurt Cake that seems like just thing to pack in a kid’s lunch now and then. It’s cake, but not horribly sugary cake, and if you add cinnamon it actually looks a little bit like wheat bread when sliced, so no one will be the wiser (hee hee). The yogurt gives the cake a tanginess and there is just enough salt to make it ever-s0-slightly savory. Kids aside, it’s great for breakfast with a cup of coffee.

Yogurt Cake (inspired by Bon Appetit’s Recipe)

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup  whole-milk Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Coat pan with oil. Dust with flour; tap out excess.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, kosher salt, cardamom and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
  •  Whisk together sugar, yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract.
  • Fold in dry ingredients just to blend.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 45–55 minutes.
  • Let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack to finish cooling.
One Comment leave one →
  1. Ashley permalink
    May 4, 2012 10:57 pm

    This is exactly how I felt about it which is why jimmy is still not in preschool! And this cake looks amazing. I’m going to make it this weekend!

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