This delicious Lemon Yogurt Cake has a tender, fluffy and perfectly light texture and bursting with strong sweet tangy lemon flavor. This French classic is easy to make and needs only a few ingredients. Pour over a quick lemon glaze on the top of the cake for an extra kick of citrus.
Lemons are filled with tanginess and sweetness that give aroma and intense flavors to the bakes. This is the reason I love baking with lemons. To be honest who doesn't?
This lemon loaf cake is simple yet special as it incorporates lemon juice, fresh lemon zest and a powerful lemon glaze that further adds to the moistness and flavor of this cake.
The whole milk yogurt makes this cake tender and incredibly moist as well.
This recipe is originally a French classic called gateau au yaourt or the yogurt cake.
Table of Contents
Why This Recipe Works?
- Easy & Simple: This is a simple recipe and very easy to make. By following the easy method you can make this moist lemon yogurt cake easily.
- Few Ingredients: You need only a few pantry staple ingredients.
- Light & Fluffy: The crumb of this cake is light, moist, fluffy and tender which will make it melt in your mouth.
- Lemony Flavor: The lemon juice, lemon zest and a quick lemon glaze will make it an incredibly lemony cake.
Pro Tip # 1 - Room Temperature Ingredients
Always use room temperature ingredients (unless otherwise specified) for baking. Ingredients such as butter, eggs and other dairy ingredients like milk, sour cream, yogurt form an emulsion by trapping air inside the batter. The trapped air expands in the oven resulting in perfect baked treats.
Ingredients for Lemon Yogurt Cake.
Ingredients for Lemon Glaze.
Lemon Yogurt Cake:
- All-Purpose Flour: You can use whole wheat flour for this cake as well, but the crumb will be much dense and the flavor will be a bit nuttier.
- Eggs: Use large organic eggs at room temperature for this cake. Use egg yolks and whites separately.
- Lemon (zest + juice): Lemon is the key ingredient for this recipe.
- Butter: use full fat butter at room temperature.
- Yogurt: Use full fat yogurt at room temperature.
- Baking powder + Baking soda: the leavening agents in this recipe.
- Salt: to balance the sugar and enhance overall flavor of the cake.
- Icing sugar/powdered sugar: sieve it before using.
- Lemon juice
Pro Tip # 2 - Digital Scale
Use a digital scale to measure all-purpose flour and other dry ingredients. To measure with cup, fluff up the all-purpose flour container using a spoon, then scoop out the flour with spoon into the measuring cup. Never scoop out of the container. It may result in more flour than required resulting in dense bakes.
These are basic process shots for this recipe. For detailed instructions refer to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
1. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
2. In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar together until creamy.
3. Add egg yolks, one by one, incorporate after each addition.
4. Add yogurt and lemon juice and beat again until incorporated.
5. In a separate clean bowl beat together the egg whites until soft peaks are formed.
6. Incorporate the dry ingredients into the cake batter and mix until combined.
7. Incorporate the egg whites into the cake batter.
8. Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter using a spatula.
9. Pour the cake batter into a Bundt pan.
10. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F for about an hour. Using a cake tester or a tooth pick to see if it comes out clean when inserted to the center of the cake.
11. In a small bowl sift the powdered sugar for lemon glaze and add lemon juice.
12. Mix until combined.
- 12'' Bundt Cake Pan.
- Measuring cups and spoons.
- Digital scale.
- Large mixing bowl.
- Medium bowl.
- Small bowl.
- Baking rack, cooling rack or wire rack.
- Cake tester or wooden skewer.
- Baking or cooking spray.
- Rubber spatula.
Substitutes & Variations
- Coconut Oil: Use coconut oil as a substitute for butter in 1 to 1 ratio but know that the texture and taste will be different.
- Olive Oil: Use olive oil instead of butter. Use 12 tablespoon of olive oil for 1 cup of butter.
- Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil: Use ¾ cup of vegetable or canola oil for one cup of butter in this lemon cake.
- Whole Wheat Flour: For a healthier version of this cake substitute the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour but keep in mind that the crumb will be dense and the taste will be on the nuttier side.
- Vanilla Extract: Use a splash of vanilla extract in the cake for more flavor in this french yogurt cake.
- Fresh Berries: Serve it with fresh fruit berries of your choice such as strawberries and raspberries.
- Whipped Cream: Serve the slices of lemon yogurt cake with a dollop of whipped cream.
- Chocolate Ganache: Drizzle over the chocolate ganache on this cake to give a chocolate flavor.
Avoid Over Mixing: Do not over mix the cake batter and mix it only until the flour mixture is combined together. Over mixing will activate the gluten strands in the all purpose flour which will make the cake rubbery and dense in texture.
Let the Cake Cool Completely: Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack for at least one hour once it is out of the oven.
Do not Pour the Glaze on Warm Cake: Once the cake has cooled completely than pour the quick tangy lemon glaze over the cake. Do not pour it over hot cake or the glaze will melt and will not set on the top of the cake properly.
Dry Bowl for Egg Whites: Ensure the egg whites are beaten in a dry bowl. Moisture makes it harder to beat the egg whites and form peaks.
Preparing the Bundt Pan: In case you are using the baking or cooking spray (like I do), be sure to grease the bundt pan just before you are ready to place the cake in the oven. If you grease the pan before starting preparing the cake batter, the baking spray will collect into the bottom of the pan and making it harder to take out the cake from the pan once the cake is ready.
Frequently Asked Questions
For this recipe, I used natural full-fat yogurt that you can find easily in the market. Greek yogurt is a good substitute to the full fat whole milk yogurt as well. Yogurt gives this cake a creamy and rich texture, and an additional amount of protein as well. I do not recommend using low-fat yogurt as it will not give a rich crumb. Yogurt gives moisture to this bake.
I prefer Meyer lemons in this cake. A Meyer lemon is basically a cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon with a yellow-orangish color peel which is thin. The flavor of Meyer lemons is sweet, tangy and sour as well.
Once the cake is out of the oven let it sit on the counter for 10 minutes. Then flip the bundt pan carefully over the cooling rack and leave it for another 10 minutes. Now tap the bundt cake with fingers and take the bundt pan off the cake. Wait for another half an hour before applying the lemon glaze on the cake at this point.
How to Store
- Keep this cake in the fridge for up to three day. Wrap each cake piece in plastic wrap or store it in a cake container.
- To freeze the cake, wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and further add a layer of foil. Place the cake pieces on the baking tray and place in the freezer for up to an hour. Once the cake pieces are hard, stash them together in a ziploc bag or an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.
- Let the cake pieces sit in the fridge a night before you want to serve.
This recipe was first published on Dec 3, 2021. I have updated with fresh pictures and step by step instructions.
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Lemon Yogurt Cake
- 12 inch Bundt Cake Pan
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Mixing bowls
- Baking rack or wire rack
- Cake tester or wooden skewer
- Baking or cooking spray
- Rubber Spatula
- 1 cup butter (225 grams/2 sticks) room temperature
- 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour (300 grams)
- 2 teaspoon baking powder (10 grams)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (5 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ cup castor sugar (300 grams)
- 4 eggs (large) room temperature
- 2 teaspoon lemon zest (10 grams)
- 6 tablespoon lemon juice (90 ml)
- 1 cup full fat yogurt (250 grams) room temperature
Lemon Yogurt Cake
- Preheat the oven at 350 F and set the rack in the middle of the oven.
- In a large bowl add butter and sugar and beat it using an electric beater until light and fluffy.
- Add egg yolks, one by one, into the butter and sugar mixture, until all the egg yolks are incorporated well. Add lemon zest, lemon juice and yogurt and stir again for a minute.
- In a separate bowl, sift and whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder and baking soda.
- Take a dry bowl and add the egg whites and salt to it. Beat it with an electric mixer until the egg whites hold stiff peaks. This will take about 3 - 5 minutes.
- Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.
- Add a dollop of the egg whites into this batter and mix. Using a rubber spatula fold in the remaining egg whites gently until combined.
- Grease a 9-inch bundt pan with baking spray and set aside.
- Pour the mixture into the bundt pan and place into the preheated oven for 50 – 60 minutes. Check around 50 minutes. Put a skewer in the middle of the cake and when it comes out clean with a few crumbs instead of the cake batter, the cake is ready.
- Cool down on a wire rack up for an hour before pouring the glaze and serving.
- Sift the powdered sugar in a bowl.
- Add in the lemon juice and whisk until smooth.
- Pour over the cooled cake.