Ruby Ruby Roo: Red Currant Yogurt Cakes

One of my favourite parts about the dog days of summer is the all-too-brief appearance of red currants. I love their unashamed tartness, their shimmering jewel-like quality, the surprising crunch of the little seeds hiding within.

They’re a little overwhelmingly sour on their own, but when added to a sweet baked treat or slowly simmered down into a brilliant red jam, they’re utterly fantastic.

Red Currant Yogurt Cake

I sometimes turn them into jam, or bake them up into a rather spectacular meringue-topped red currant torte.  One of these days, I might even work up the nerve to make a batch of homemade red currant danishes, just like the ones that occasionally make an appearance at the O&B Canteen.  This year, though, I just couldn’t summon up the determination to spend the better part of a hot summer day pounding butter with a rolling pin and endlessly folding and rolling out dough to make homemade danishes.

(Yes, it’s true… I have mile-wide streaks of laziness and impatience, which sometimes counterbalance my equally-wide streak of gluttony.)

Red Currants

Instead, I decided to bake them into a classic French-style yogurt cake.  The cake itself is pure simplicity – a pillowy-soft pale yellow cake flavoured with lemon zest and just the right amount of sweetness for my not-so-sweet tooth. It’s normally baked in a round cake tin or as a loaf, but I opted to turn it into little mini-loaves instead, perfectly sized to grab on my way out of the house in the morning. (A jumbo muffin tin will also do the trick, if you don’t happen to have a mini-loaf pan kicking around.)

The hardest part about this recipe is the somewhat tedious process of picking the fragile thread-like stems from the currants while leaving the lovely red berries intact.  The cake itself, though, is a breeze to make – whisk together the wet ingredients, add in the dry, then whisk again until you have a perfectly pourable silky-smooth batter. Fantastique, non?

Red Currant Yogurt Cake

My initial plan for these loaves was to fold the currants into the batter, as I would normally do with a blueberry cake, but I worried the delicate currants might get crushed in the process.  Inspired by La Tartine Gourmandine’s lovely red currant mini cakes, I chose to sprinkle them onto the batter once it had been poured into the pans instead, creating a bright scattering of scarlet polka-dots across the top of each loaf. Beautiful, no?

Red Currant Yogurt Cake

It’s worth turning on the oven in the middle of a heat wave sometimes. :)

Missed currant season? Fresh blueberries, raspberries or blackberries also work well, or even roughly chopped cranberries. (Or heck, just skip the fruit altogether… the cake is perfectly lovely just as it is.)


Red Currant Yogurt Cakes
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
A scattering of fresh red currants adds a pop of bright colour and tartness to classic French yogurt cake.
  • ½ cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 cup fresh red currants
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour the cups of a mini-loaf pan (or a jumbo muffin tin, if you prefer).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs and canola oil until smooth and well blended.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest, and stir until the batter is smooth and silky. Pour into the prepared mini-loaf tin, dividing evenly between the cups. Scatter berries on top of the batter, using around 2 tbsp per loaf.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges are pale gold and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of one loaf. (If using a muffin tin, you may need to add another 5 minutes of cooking time.)
  5. Let cool on a rack for 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out and let cool completely before serving.



  1. Liza says

    can I make this in a regular loaf pan? Would I need one or two? or what about a regular sized muffin tin for 12 muffins? THANKS!!!!

  2. Mirijam says

    I love those berries!!! :) I’m german and I was shocked when I found out that my boyfriend who’s from california never heard of them!
    I’ll definitely try that cake once the season starts :)

  3. Priya says

    Hello Isabelle

    Came to ur blog from 10 Canadian food bloggers we love. New in Canada, and fell in love with ur blog. The pictures are too tempting, will surely try this one. Just wanted to know whether i can replace part of the all- purpose flour with whole wheat(got a hubby who’s obsessed with whole wheat:).

    • Isabelle says

      Welcome, Priya! I hope Canada is treating you well so far. I haven’t tested this recipe with whole wheat flour, but I suspect you’d be able to substitute it for at least part of the flour (though definitely not for all of it). The cakes won’t be as tender and fluffy as the original version, but they’ll certainly be healthier.
      I’d suggest trying it with 1/2 cup whole wheat and 1 cup all-purpose to start, and then adjust from there if your hubby wants even more whole wheat. :) Do let me know how it goes!

      • Priya says

        thanks Isabelle
        will surely let u know how it goes. need to lay my hands on red currants(hope i’ll find it in the farmer’s market). We are in Guelph and itz almost home now:)wonderful people around!!!

      • Priya says

        Hi isabelle

        Followed ur advice and used 1/2 cup whole wheat and it was wonderful!!!

  4. says

    At first I was like, my gosh this cake looks incredible! Then I saw they were mini so I thought, ERMAHGERDDDD they’re mini and cute and delicious! So yeah. I will probably be making these if I can ever get my hands on some currants.

  5. says

    Lovely berry dish. Berries and currants are this week’s subject for Food on Friday. Would you be happy to link this in? We are looking to create a fantastic collection of berry dishes. This is the link .

  6. says

    On Fridays, I share my favorite food finds in a series called Food Fetish Friday – and I love this post so I’m featuring it as part of today’s roundup (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I’m happy to be following along with your creations…

  7. says

    Love this way too much. I adore red currants and always struggle to know what to do with them. I’m all for you making them into danishes. I think the last weekend of September would be the ideal time. And that has nothing to do with the fact that I’ll be visiting or anything.

  8. says

    I dont’ think I’ve ever had red currants before…but since they are tart I don’t think I would be a fan. These mini loaves are super cute…definitely have to give them a try with some blueberries or strawberries!

  9. says

    ADORABLE beyond belief. Currants always remind me of my childhood in Russia. Wish they were more available in the US. Of course I can get them at farmers markets, but that would mean getting out of bed too early….

    Love that you made the cakes mini ;)


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