Made with fresh, bright lemon juice and creamy yogurt, this moist and tender Lemon Yogurt Cake is a sunny sweet treat that everyone will adore! You’ll love its fluffy texture and drizzle of tart lemon glaze.
A Light, Moist, Lemony Cake That Everyone Will Love!
You know what type of cakes are under-appreciated? Loaf cakes. Less showy than a layer cake or even a sheet cake, loaf cake is one of those desserts that I just don’t necessarily think about… until I see a big, fat slice in a bakery display! 😍
Then I remember that these little goodies are, in all reality, one of my favorite “genres” of cake. Light, fluffy, and moist, a good loaf cake has an addictive texture, and when they’re topped with a drizzle of soft-yet-crispy glaze, you’ve got something really special!
For me, lemon loaf cake has to be one of the absolute best. This lemon yogurt cake, with its fresh lemon glaze, fresh lemon zest, and creamy yogurt base, has everything you could want in a moist, satisfying, yet still light cake. It’s perfect for serving with a hot cup of tea, or a big glass of cold milk. Seriously, make this one! You’ll be glad you did!
What Does Yogurt Do in a Cake?
Yogurt is not just a healthy snack – it’s great for baking! Like sour cream, yogurt adds a nice, tangy flavor to baked goods, along with an ultra-creamy texture. The protein and fat in yogurt also help add structure to your baked goods. Best of all, baking with yogurt practically guarantees a fabulously moist result!
The Ingredients You’ll Need
The ingredients for this recipe are super-simple, and very wholesome, making this an ideal recipe for snacking! This is one that’s perfect to throw in the oven for a quaint and welcoming after-school treat. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
For the Cake
- Butter: For this recipe, I use unsalted butter. The butter should be at room temperature.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar is fine here, or you can use raw sugar.
- Eggs: Large, whole eggs bind the mixture together.
- Lemon Juice: Freshly-squeezed lemon juice is best for making lemon yogurt cake, but you can use bottled lemon juice if you prefer.
- Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor.
- Yogurt: I use plain yogurt, not sweetened yogurt or Greek yogurt.
- Lemon Zest: You can leave this out if you use bottled lemon juice, but if you use fresh lemon, it’s great to add a little bit of the zest. Don’t get any of the bitter white pith in the zest.
- All-Purpose Flour: Make sure to use all-purpose-flour – do not substitute whole wheat flour or self-rising flour.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Using both lightens the cake perfectly, along with the lemon juice.
- Salt: If you use salted butter, omit the extra salt.
For the Glaze
- Powdered Sugar: Since powdered sugar dissolves so easily, you will need quite a lot of it (about two cups) to make a glaze with just a few tablespoons of lemon juice. I use Swerve, a replacement for sugar, and it works out perrrfectly!
- Lemon Juice: Again, freshly-squeezed juice is ideal, but you can use bottled.
How to Make It
Baking a lemon yogurt cake is all about correctly mixing it and folding it. Here’s how to do it, so that you end up with a light, moist, and tender loaf cake! 🍋
- Prep Your Oven and Loaf Pan. To begin, set your oven to preheat to 350˚F, and then grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter or baking spray. Line it with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cream the Butter and Sugar. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar together until fluffy. This should take about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add the Eggs, Lemon, Vanilla, Yogurt, and Zest. One at a time, beat in the eggs, and then add the lemon juice and the vanilla. Once those are beaten in, gently fold in the yogurt along with the lemon zest. Set this mixture aside while you combine the dry ingredients.
- Whisk Together the Dry Ingredients. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a whisk or a fork to gently stir them and combine them.
- Combine the Dry and Wet Ingredients. Finally, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Don’t mix or overwork the ingredients. Fold them gently just until combined, or the cake may turn out gummy and dense.
- Bake. Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan, and use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to smooth out the top. Bake the lemon yogurt cake cake for 35 to 45 minutes. You’ll know the cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Note: If the cake starts browning too quickly, you can tent a piece of foil over it while it finishes baking.
- Cool the Cake and Make the Glaze. Once the cake is done, take it out of the oven and let it cool completely. While it cools, place your powdered sugar into a medium bowl, and stir in the lemon juice until a smooth glaze forms. You can add more sugar and lemon juice as needed to get a good consistency.
- Glaze the Cake. Once the cake is fully cooled, set it on a wire rack placed over a piece of foil or a tray. Pour the lemon glaze over the cake and let stand for several minutes, to firm up.
My Top Tips and Variation Ideas
I hope you are inspired to try making this bright, moist, and tangy loaf cake. It’s sure to be a recipe you turn to again and again! And also be sure to check out my favorite tips and variations, right here.
- Don’t Overmix: Before you make this easy lemon yogurt cake, keep in mind that overmixing the batter (even at the creaming the butter stage) can add excess air to the cake, which then deflates in the oven. Mix just until fluffy, combined, or smooth, according to the recipe directions, and then stop! 🛑
- Vegetable Oil: For a lighter cake, substitute vegetable oil for the butter.
- Olive Oil: For a more complex flavor, try substituting olive oil, rather than vegetable oil. It can be a bit strong, though, so you may want to substitute just up to half, and use butter or vegetable oil for the other half.
- Citrus Options: You can also make this cake with other citrus, such as limes, key limes, or even grapefruit! Each of these will add its own special flair.
- Whipped Cream Sandwich: For an elegant touch, try slicing this loaf in two, and layering whipped cream between the bottom and top halves. Pipe a small amount of whipped cream on the top for a garnish.
How to Store This Cake
- This cake should be stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
Can I Freeze Lemon Yogurt Cake?
- Yes! Lemon yogurt cake will keep in the freezer for up to two months.
- Wrap the cooled cake well in two layers of plastic and one of foil, for best results.
Lemon Yogurt Cake
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter and line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy; about 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides, as needed.
- Add in the eggs, one at a time; mix until incorporated.
- Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla extract.
- Remove bowl from the mixer and fold in the yogurt and lemon zest. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients; fold just until combined, do not over mix. Batter will be thick.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. IF the cake is browning too quickly, tent a piece of foil over it and continue to bake.
- Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
- In the meantime, prepare the glaze: Place powdered sugar in a medium bowl and whisk in the lemon juice; whisk until incorporated.
- Add more sugar or lemon juice, as necessary, to achieve desired consistency.
- Set the lemon cake on a wire rack placed over foil.
- Pour the lemon glaze over the cake; let stand a few minutes.
- Cut and serve.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.