lemon yogurt anything cake

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 comes from Ina Garten, and you might recognize it from the grapefruit cake I made last year, but really, I never meant to stop there. Let me now make up for lost time with other ideas for the cake:

  • Swapping all of the vegetable oil with olive oil
  • Swapping a few tablespoons of the vegetable oil with a nut or coconut oil
  • Swapping grapefruit, orange, blood orange or lime for the lemon
  • Swapping blackberries or raspberries for the blueberries
  • Using 1/3 cup of poppy seeds instead of the blueberries for a lemon-poppy cake
  • Adding 1/2 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.

yogurt, sugar, zestblueberries in lemon batter

With all of those ideas, I cannot wait to see which combination you choose. If you try a version, do let us know how it came out in the comments and if you post it to Flickr, please consider adding it to the Smitten Kitchen Recipes Pool!

One year ago: Arborio Rice Pudding

Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Loaf
Adapted loosely from Ina Garten

1 1/2 cups (190 grams) + 1 tablespoon (10 grams) all-purpose flour (if you’re skipping the fruit, you can also skip the last tablespoon of flour)
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (230 grams) plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon (215 grams) sugar
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups (about 255 grams) blueberries, fresh or frozen, [updated to note] no need to thaw (I used wild blueberries, hence the tiny size)
1/3 cup (80 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. 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.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. 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 (a pastry brush works great for this, as does using a toothpick to make tiny holes that draw the syrup in better). Cool.

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637 comments on lemon yogurt anything cake

  1. Ida

    All I could think about when I saw these pictures was “YUM!”. Also, a lime and coconut combination would be great too.

  2. Nice. It’s like the “clean out the fridge” stew version of the quickbread genre… “you got a little somethin’ extra? Toss it in there! It’s all good.” I bet you could do something crazy with lemon and cardamom, too.

  3. Kim

    I have used Ina’s recipe before and it is really is incredible. I like your idea of the olive oil. Do you think a little rosemary could be used along with it? If not I have a ton of blueberries in the freezer I need to use up. I would so loose the dare, as this has already been proven by the cakes I’ve already consumed this month.

  4. I will have to make this immediately! I try to be an “equal opportunity gadget user” and as far as I know my loaf pan has gone untouched in 2008.
    One question- do you think you could swindle some meyer lemons from your San Franciso reader (for your Texas fans)?
    We just moved back to Texas after living in California for 2 years. Meyer lemons are EVERYWHERE there and I am kicking myself for not smuggling a tree into my Honda.

  5. Wow! You’re making my mouth water. I’ve been thinking about making a yoghurt cake for about a week now. I’ve been collecting yoghurt pots for measuring out the ingredients — on this side of the pond we usually weigh the ingredients rather than measure by volume, but there are a lot of recipes that use 125g pots. Replacing the blueberries with poppy seeds sounds like a great idea!

  6. stacy

    I did the grapefruit ones as mini-muffins for a Super Duper Fat Tuesday (primary watching/Mardi Gras) party a few months ago and they were a definite hit. We made a simple powdered-sugar/grapefruit juice glaze and dyed a third of it green, some yellow, and some purple. Which, frankly, looked pretty gross, but appeased my New Orleans-born roommate, who was sad that we couldn’t find any king cake.

  7. Love the 1st photo w/ the blueberries! I have been meaning to try this cake – I always make the other original lemon cake by Ina and love it, but this one should be a bit lighter which would definitely be better.

    Can’t wait to try it!

  8. Great photos… my mouth is literally watering as we speak. My parents are visiting this week and my Mom’s birthday is tomorrow… I think you may have just provided me with a birthday cake!

  9. Sol

    Oh I love this cake. I usually make it with a bit more flour and only 3 eggs, and of course BUTTER. Because I’m sinful. Tonight I made it marble. Love it. My dream breakfast. Cappuccino and cake.

  10. really beautiful! love all the blueberries. i was lucky to find meyers back in stock at fairway this weekend and i picked myself up a bunch. it’s going to be a lemony week :)

  11. That is one helluva loaf that would make a beautiful pudding after a dinner with friends. Too bad we can’t get Meyer lemons here in ole Blighty… Wonder if one could do a rhubarb and lime loaf?

  12. Amy

    Oh, this is one of my *favorite* desserts! I usually make it with the glaze on top, but I like your idea of dusting it with powdered sugar. And I LOVE the idea of using blueberries in the batter…must do that next time!

  13. margot

    Metafilter suggests using three parts lemon juice to one part orange juice as a substitution for Meyer Lemons. Does anyone have any thoughts on whether that will work in this recipe? I’m guessing the recipe seems pretty flexible, but I’m a pretty novice baker so I really have no clue!

    Thanks! Definitely going to make this, maybe just using oranges instead!

  14. deb

    It is not necessary to use Meyer lemons for this cake. I used them because I had them, but to be completely honest–since I’ve made this cake with both Meyers and conventional lemons–I actually prefer that latter in this cake for its louder flavor/tang. So, whichever you can get will work.

      1. Linda

        I used low fat vanilla Greek yogurt and the cake was spectacular My blueberries were very large and despite flouring sunk to the bottom but still very yummy!!

  15. Kate

    I have been searching for a recipe just like this…all the other lemon cake recipes I find are so blah. And I am totally making the poppy seed version…I’ve been dying to do that since that one time I threw a bunch into a batch of lemon cupcakes. Thanks!