Greek yogurt is a trend, but one that will probably, and deservedly, last a while. Unlike some trends, this one is rooted in good value. As a food professional, I think it’s a game changer. As a baker, I also know wherever you add buttermilk, sour cream or regular yogurt you can easily swap in Greek yogurt. Often, you can enjoy even better baking results. Nothing beats a bit of an acidic ingredient for upping the leavening in your average muffin or scone.
Since Greek yogurt is strained three times, it is extra thick and luxurious, which makes it great for baking. Greek yogurt is low in calories, packed with protein and calcium, and it also has probiotics if you choose the right brand, for example, Chobani, Oikos or Liberty.
As February is also heart-healthy month, baking with Greek yogurt only adds good things to the love-ability of Valentine’s Day month. Yes, we always knew the Greek civilization was brilliant, but this new food sensation is beyond brilliance. It also makes for inspired, delectable baking with a huge sales appeal.
Here are three recipes that use Greek yogurt.
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake
This recipe is for a sumptuous little cheesecake that you can whip up in no time flat. This is ideal when there’s a demand for a smaller cheesecake. You can use a prepared pie topping for this, dust with icing sugar or top with fresh seasonal fruit and an apricot glaze. For Valentine’s Day, bake this up in a heart-shaped mould.
- Prepare graham crust for a nine-inch springform pan.
- 3 eight-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup plain thick Greek yogurt
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare springform pan with graham crust. Place on baking sheet. Using mixer, with paddle attachment, blend the cream cheese with the sugar until smooth. Add in the eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and Greek yogurt. Blend until smooth or for about one minute. Pour into prepared graham crust. Bake for about 30-35 minutes and let it set. Chill for six hours or overnight. Spread on cherry pie filling, dust with icing sugar or top with fresh seasonal fruit and apricot glaze. Scale recipe up as required.
Double Layer Greek Yogurt Tart
Smooth, light and pretty as a picture, decorate this tart with what fruit you choose. If you have a heart-shaped tart pan, it would make a nice Valentine’s Day offering.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a nine-inch springform pan or deep tart pan with slices of the toasted pound cake. In a food processor, blend ingredients for first layer until smooth. Pour onto crust. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in the food processor (no need to rinse) blend the Greek yogurt, eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla until smooth (a few seconds). After first layer has baked, remove cake from oven and pour on second layer. Return cake to oven and bake until set (additional 20 to 28 minutes). Refrigerate for two hours and then arrange strawberries on top. Glaze with apricot jam and refrigerate for six hours or overnight. Chill again before serving. Serves eight to 12.
Greek Yogurt Fudge Cake
An easy, moist, high, cake with a great crumb-free grain and deep chocolate flavour. It is a good keeper and is perfect for cupcakes, layer cake or sheet cakes. If you do not have cola on hand, you may substitute warm mild coffee. Ice with icing of your choice. Greek yogurt adds nutrition and a slight acidic note to the chocolate. I bake this in a heart-shaped springform pan or heart-shaped layer pans for Valentine’s Day.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil or melted unsalted butter
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup cocoa, weighed then sifted
- 1 cup warm flat cola or mild coffee
- 1/2 cup plain thick Greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two nine-inch layer pans and line with parchment paper circles.
In the mixer, with paddle attachment, blend sugar and oil. Add eggs, vanilla and mix until thick. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cocoa. Fold dry ingredients into wet and mix in the cola and yogurt as batter blends.
Bake 35-40 minutes (times differ for cupcakes and sheet cakes) until cakes spring back when lightly touched.
Makes two layer cakes (or a large sheet cake or three to four dozen cupcakes, depending on size).
Marcy Goldman is a baker and founder and author of BetterBaking.com.