Lemon Yogurt Cake Helps Brighten the Day

Lemon Yogurt Cake

For most of us it seems as though April 15th, AKA tax day, is approaching too fast. But for my sister, Marci, and other family members it couldn’t come soon enough. Pretty much all of them are CPAs (yes, I’m the culinary rebel of the family) and have been working crazy hours since February.

With long days that don’t allow them any actual sunlight, I doubt my sister and her coworkers are eating anything homemade right now, and they truly seem to appreciate any gesture in that direction: two weeks ago I sent Marci to work with cake balls and she and her coworkers are still raving about them!

So, to help make this last week of tax season a bit easier to swallow, I made them a lemon yogurt cake. This brightly-flavored treat has a moist crumb but is light in texture so as not to bog them down, plus there’s just enough sugar to help them get through the day.

Of course, I had to try one small piece just to make sure it was edible – and trust me it was! Oh, how I hated to part with the rest of that cake, but certainly this was a worthy cause.

Lemon Yogurt Cake, adapted from Ina Garten, Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain yogurt (I prefer Greek-style)

1 cup sugar

3 eggs*

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Simple Sugar:

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice


1 cup powdered sugar

1 1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a loaf pan; set aside.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. Slowly whisk in the dry ingredients until well-combined, then fold in the vegetable oil using a rubber spatula until it has all been incorporated into the batter.

Whisk dry ingredients into wet Fold in vegetable oil

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.  Check the cake after 40 minutes to make sure the top doesn’t brown too much. If so, cover with foil and continue baking until the center has set. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes.

Make the simple sugar while the cake is baking: combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small pot set over low heat. Stir once, then let the liquid just reach a boil; the sugar should have dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat to cool.

Remove the cake from the pan and set it on the baking rack with a large plate or baking sheet underneath it. Pour the simply sugar over the cake and let it sit until the cake has cooled completely and the liquid has been absorbed.

Pour simple syrup over yogurt cake Lemon Glaze

Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and water. Stir until no lumps remain then pour over the top of the cake. Let the glaze set for 10 minutes then serve.

* The original recipe calls for 3 extra-large eggs, but I used 3 large eggs instead with positive results.


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