Lemon Yogurt Cake

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Lemon Yogurt Cake - Andrea Meyers

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I’ve had to work very hard on my mixing skills. When I first started cooking I was convinced that a hand mixer was the perfect solution for all mixing and in my enthusiasm I would beat all batters to death then wonder why my muffins looked and tasted like hockey pucks. I didn’t have Dorie or Ina hanging over my shoulder sharing tips on how to fold gently, but boy could I have used their help. I still shudder when I see “gently fold” in the recipe instructions, knowing that my technique isn’t quite up to par. My batters always deflate a bit because I either become impatient while wondering when the flour and the wet ingredients will finally unite or I have to hurry up so I can stop the boys before they destroy the house or do something silly like ride a flattened cardboard box down the stairs.

But I persevere, hoping someday I’ll get the technique down perfectly and all my future muffins, cakes, and quick breads will be wonderfully light and have that perfect peak on top. I hoped that I would make a pretty peak on this cake so the glaze would drizzle elegantly down the sides, but no. It rose but didn’t achieve the perfect peak I was striving for. It was flat on top. Again. Maybe someday, but not this time.

Michael’s parents came to visit back in February, and I wanted to make a dessert that was simple and used lemons because that’s one of his mother’s favorite flavors. I had heard from Lydia at The Perfect Pantry that Ina’s lemon yogurt cake was wonderful and I decided to give it a try. Except for my botched folding, this truly is one of the easiest cakes I’ve ever made. The recipe is one of those mix by hand cakes that’s you can quickly whip up. There are three components (cake, soaking syrup, glaze), but all are quick and easy to make (except for the folding). The lemon flavor was perfect and light and the crispy glaze was delicious. Both his parents raved about the flavor and the moist texture. We served it plain, but you could whip some cream to dollop on top of you prefer a little decoration on your dessert.

P.S. I went back to look at the recipe online, and noticed the cake in the photo wasn’t peaked on top either. That makes me feel a little better.


Makes 1 loaf cake.


8-1/2 by 4-1/4 by 2-1/2-inch loaf pan
parchment paper
large mixing bowl
2 medium mixing bowls
1 quart sauce pan
sheet pan


1-1/2 cups (180 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (240 ml) plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup (175 g) granulated sugar
4 large eggs (or 3 extra large)
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) canola oil

1/3 cup (58 g) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup (130 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted to remove the lumps
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


1. Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C. Grease the loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour the pan.

2. CAKE: In the medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. In the large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. The oil may not combine at first, but continue until the oil is fully mixed in.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

5. SYRUP: While the cake bakes, cook the lemon juice and sugar in a small pan over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

6. 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. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in, then allow the cake to finish cooling.

7. GLAZE: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sifted confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice. Pour over the cooled cake and allow the glaze to set up.

8. Slice and serve.

More Easy Dessert Recipes

Andrea's Recipes - Applesauce Cake with Citrus Lavender Glaze Andrea's Recipes - French Apple Pie Andrea's Recipes - Mini Chocolate Pecan Pies

More Lemon Dessert Recipes From Around the Blogs

White on Rice Couple – Meyer Lemon Curd Pie with Espresso Ganache

Alpineberry – Luscious Lemon Bars

Karina’s Kitchen – Lemon Yogurt Cake

Simply Recipes – Lemon Tart


Source: adapted from Ina Garten

[Disclosure: This blog earns a small commission through affiliate links.]


  1. says

    When it comes to this particular cake, I’ve seen everyone refer to Ina’s recipe. Must be really popular I guess :) This looks equally wonderful :)

  2. says

    Oooooh, I’m so glad you tried this — the lemon flavor really sings, and the yogurt gives it extra tang without being too tart. It is absolutely my go-to dessert cake because it’s so easy to make, especially for a non-baker like me. I think yours looks lovely, so you’re obviously a better folder than you think you are!

  3. says

    I happened to make the same cake yesterday :)
    I’d made Ina’s older lemon cake recipe long ago (made with buttermilk – http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lemon-cake-recipe/index.html) and LOVED it. She said this one was even better, so I was eager to try it. I liked this one, and I’m eager to see if it gets more and more moist every day like the other one did. You might want to give her older recipe a try too. There’s no folding, though the recipe is a bit more involved in general.

  4. says

    Ina’s recipes are so great. I haven’t made this one yet, but you have me smiling on the cardboard & stairs comment. I’m remembering hockey puck biscuits of my own. Not a folding problem, but definitely something that didn’t rise. Good memories.

  5. says

    I made this before and found it fairly easy. My problem was I didn’t have the proper sized eggs, Ina always uses x-lg & I only had lg. I saw that you made the same subsitution. I also thought the cake was okay (disappointing in fact) on the first day but was MUCH better on the third. What did you think? Thanks for sharing your experience!

  6. says

    I love love love yogurt cakes and lemon dresses this up so well! I have made this a number of times and it really is hard to get that perfect look because its such a dense batter. But looking at your ingredients I see it doesn’t have baking soda- may be thats missing! I haven’t tried Ina’s recipe but the one by Chocolate & Zucchini includes 1/2 tsp of baking soda- its always so soft and tasty without any butter! Do try this recipe- its no beating at all- I promise!

  7. Diane says

    Hello Andrea —

    Just a note from a former co-worker. Our mutual friend, Cathy, sent me a link to your site and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your recipes, challenges and brief stories. Recently made this delicious cake for my husband as well as a group gathering. Big, big hit on both fronts. All the best to you and your family.


  8. Patricia Anastasi says


    I ve been wanting to try this cake but i do have just one question, I normally use the K BEATER when making a cake, seems strange that for this one a whisk is used.



    • says

      Hi Patricia. A beater is not required for this cake because the dry ingredients are simply whisked together and then hand-folded into the liquids using a spatula. It’s not difficult, just takes some practice to get the folding technique right. Obviously I’m still working on it. :-)

      Baking911.com has a helpful article on folding, and if you scroll about halfway down the page you’ll see instructions for folding flour into a batter.

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