We were almost done with our blissful batch of Meyer lemons when I realized that it would be a crime against… well, something dramatic if I finished them without sharing with you a recipe which might look at the outset like just a plain old loaf cake, but should not be taken at face value. You may see lemons and blueberry but I want you to see a palette upon which you can paint your countless citrus yogurt cake dreams. This cake is so moist that it needs to be cut carefully, so not to smoosh the crumbs from the top of the cake into the bottom, and so delicious, I dare you to make it last a week(end).
The core recipe is riffed from Ina Garten, which also inspired last year’s grapefruit cake. But why stop there? You can take a yogurt loaf cake like this in almost innumerable directions. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Swapping all of the vegetable oil with olive oil
- Swapping a few tablespoons of the vegetable oil with a flavorful nut or coconut oil
- Swapping grapefruit, orange, blood orange or lime for the lemon
- Swapping blackberries or raspberries for the blueberries
- Add 1/3 cup of poppy seeds and skipping the blueberries for a lemon-poppy cake
- Adding 1/2 to 1 cup of toasted, chopped walnuts or pecans
- Swapping almond extract for the vanilla
- Covering the cake, once completely cooled, with a glaze of 1 cup of powdered sugar whisked with 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Making an extra and sending it to Alex, who for the first time, ever, did not suggest a baked good could be improved with chocolate
- That said, if you added 1 cup chocolate chips to an orange version, you’d get something reminiscent of this Orange Chocolate Chunk Cake
- This recipe will also yield about 12 standard muffins or 36 miniature muffins, baking time adjusted.
- It could be doubled and baked in a well-greased and floured bundt pan, baking time adjusted.
- This recipe could also be baked in an 8-inch square or 9-inch round, to create a thin cake (approx. 1 1/2 inches tall), baking time adjusted.
I cannot wait to see which combination you choose.
One year ago: Arborio Rice Pudding
Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable or another neutral oil
- 1 cup (200 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (15 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 small/medium or 2 large lemons
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional; I skip it)
- 1 cup (225 grams) plain yogurt, whole, low-fat, or greek-style
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (205 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups (250 grams) blueberries, fresh or frozen [see Note]
- Powdered sugar for dusting [optional]
Pour the oil and 1 cup of the granulated sugar in a large bowl. Finely grate the zest of all the lemons you’re using into the bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in eggs, vanilla, and yogurt until evenly mixed. Sprinkle the surface of the batter with baking powder and salt and whisk thoroughly, ensuring it’s dispersed through the bowl. Add flour and berries, stirring just to combine.
Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 to 75 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
While it bakes, juice your zested lemons — you want 1/3 cup juice. Pour into a small saucepan, add remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and heat over medium until the sugar has dissolved.
When cake comes out of the oven, brush it with the lemon syrup. If the syrup isn’t absorbing well, use a skewer to make holes all over the cake, which will help.
Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Once cool, cut around the cake just to make sure it hasn’t stuck and transfer to a plate. Dust with powdered sugar, if you wish. Serve in 1-inch slices.
Do ahead: Leftovers keep for 3 days at room temperature, 1 week in the fridge. This cake freezes and defrosts nicely too; just wrap it tightly and defrost at room temperature a few hours before you want to eat it.
This recipe got some fresh photos (and notes, above) in 2023 but if you’re nostalgic for the 2008 top image, here you go: