I don’t know where you sit today, but I hope your view is as nice as mine, where the air smells sweet with a freshly baked lemon cake in the oven, and the sun is high and bright.
Charcoal grills send smoke through my open windows, birds are loudly chirping, and vibrant green grass surrounds blooming tulips and daffodils.
Today I realized that as much as I hate Chicago for the winters, I love the city for this: what else could make me so aware of the beauty of a Chicago spring?
And as spring turns to summer and summer to fall, I will keep enjoying the beauty of the seasons, the joy of watching change unfold around me.
It’s nice to be a part of that.
These almost-summer afternoons are the good stuff: what we’ve been waiting for after so many months of winter.
Things like a sunny weekend game at Wrigley Field, hours antiquing in northern Illinois, long walks on tree-lined streets of ivy-covered brick buildings.
Although this year’s summer events will be altered slightly due to quarantine, I have no complaints.
Even without baseball games to attend or restaurant porches to enjoy, I love being home with no plans but to be outside, watching the tomato plants grow, and ready for the sky to turn orange and crimson before I pillow my head.
And I love having the time to bake whatever and whenever I please, like the lemon yogurt cake I made as the sun was setting.
After I ate an easy dish of vanilla yogurt drizzled with honey, the remaining yogurt went into this fragrant lemon dessert that baked up spongy and soft, with a sturdy crust perfect for holding in your hand.
This treat is really the definition of simple, both in its creation and in the final results: just mix up the ingredients, pour them into a pan, bake, drizzle some glaze on top, and cut a thick slice of to enjoy for a late-night snack or a weekday breakfast.
Lighter and more sponge-like than a pound cake, this dessert is as soft as springtime clouds and no less satisfying.
Plus, you can complete the prep in mere minutes, so you’ll have hours to spend elsewhere – preferably outside in 70-degree weather, sitting next to a beautiful garden with the sun shining on your face.
That’s where you’ll find me.Print
This lemon yogurt cake is slightly tangy, moist, and delicious. The simple recipe can be made in a flash and has tons of lemony flavor.
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (from 1-2 lemons)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a metal 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In another large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla.
- Take the dry ingredients you set aside and slowly and gradually whisk them into the wet ingredients.
- With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester stuck in the center of the loaf comes out clean. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
- Remove cake from the pan and place it on a wire rack set over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon glaze over the top and allow it to soak in. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Serve warm.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Dessert
Keywords: lemon, Greek yogurt, cake
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Zest and Juice Lemons, And Measure Remaining Ingredients
Zest one to two lemons until you have two teaspoons total of grated zest.
Juice enough lemons until you have 1/3 cup total of juice.
Measure out all remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray.
Step 2 – Make Batter
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large separate bowl), add yogurt, 1 cup granulated sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Beat to combine (you can also use a whisk). Slowly and gradually beat in the dry ingredients until combined.
Use a rubber spatula to fold in the vegetable oil until combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Step 3 – Bake
Bake for 50 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
When done, remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Step 4 – Make Glaze
Add lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until sugar dissolves. The mixture should be clear.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 5 – Finish and Cool
Remove cake from the pan and place on a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
Pour the lemon glaze evenly over the top, allowing it to soak in. Let it sit for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
What’s the Difference Between a Yogurt Cake and Pound Cake?
At a glance, this cake looks a bit like pound cake. But even though it is similar in color and shape, there is a big difference. That would be that yogurt cake includes… yogurt!
The yogurt gives the cake a lovely moist texture, and in addition to the bright lemons, it adds a bit of extra tanginess. The other major difference is that this cake is made with oil instead of butter. This makes it a bit lighter – and downright addictive.
Want more loaf cake inspiration? Check out these recipes from Foodal next:
Will you eat this delicious cake for breakfast, a snack, or dessert? Tell us in the comments below, and be sure to rate the recipe as well!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on May 18, 2009. Last updated May 26, 2020. With additional writing and editing by Meghan Yager and Nikki Cervone.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.