Lemon Yogurt Cake

Light as air lemon cake.

Easter brought me a lot of things this year: a food coma courtesy of my mom’s amazing cooking (what she calls “lunch”, most people call “three lunches”), $15 worth of Cadbury Mini Eggs and a weekend full of baking.

Already having made the now-famous quinoa chocolate cake (seriously–it tastes like a Two Bite Brownie!), the next obvious progression was to make something sweet and light. Cue my citrus obsession: Ina Garten’s yogurt lemon cake. It’s lush with lemon flavour, though not too intense, and replete with drizzles of tart, citrusy glaze.

The great thing about this lemon yogurt cake is that it is dead easy to throw together in a pinch, and almost any combination of citrus and fruit can be used. For instance, I have been making this for years with orange with chocolate chips, grapefruit, lemon with blueberries, or just plain old lemon. The only thing I really changed is I omitted Ina’s cooked, syrupy glaze. That’s really your call. This cake never fails to please guests and never comes close to breaking the bank. Consider this a belated Easter present, from me to you.

**As an aside, I have something to say about my history with loaf tins.

I just can’t win with them. For years I was ending up with unevenly baked loaves and cakes because of a tricky, overheating oven. It was then that I discovered the key was using a narrowshallow loaf tin. I got mine from Ikea but they don’t make that style anymore. Measurements will follow, so you can try to find one similar. I also love my Wilton 4-cup mini loaf pan, which I got half price at Winners/HomeSense and used for this recipe.

Ikea tin: 12″ (L) x 4.5″ (W)  x 2.5 ” (D)

Wilton tin (one compartment): 6″ (L) x 3″ (W) x 2″ (D)

Lemon Yogurt Cake
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home

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Ingredients
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. plain yogurt (avoid Greek if you can; it produces too dense a cake)
1 cup sugar (plus 1/3 c. if making lemon syrup)
3 large eggs
2 1/2 – 3 tsp. grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (if making lemon syrup)

For the glaze:
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease and flour, or lightly spray (with this miracle worker), a standard loaf pan or two miniature loaf pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper if you wish, but I never do.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In larger bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s well incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
  3. If making lemon syrup: cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
  4. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. Drizzle the syrup over the cake and allow to soak in. Cool completely.
  5. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over the cake. Serve.

The best part was serving this on my parent's lemon plate, from their wedding 40 years ago.

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