French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon


Lemons have always been something of an anomaly for me.  I love lemons in savory food – like in chicken picatta, or greek lemon soup with rice – I love lemons in cocktails – lemon drops, vodka with a twist of lemon – but for some reason if a lemon square was sitting in front of me, I would have no problem passing it by.  I almost never bake with lemons – I turn my nose at lemon merengue pie, or lemon cake – and would choose something else any day of the week.  Then this recipe came along.  I found this recipe in Molly Wizenberg’s book A Homemade Life.  First of all, the word French really caught my eye.  I have to admit, I basically like anything french.  The next word that got me was yogurt.  I love yogurt – can’t get enough of it – I have at least one everyday – and my favorite yogurt is european style – extremely creamy, but not too think – and full-bodied, unlike many of the yogurt on the market.  I read the ingredients – and I decided I had to make it.  Maybe this would be the recipe that turns me into a complete lemon lover.  Well – this cake was incredible.  It was moist, flavorful – and just perfectly delicious – the lemon glaze on top was exactly what the cake was calling for – and it was fantastic.  The glaze is very thin, and soaks into the cake to make it even more moist and delicious.  It is best served immediately – or waiting an hour or so.



  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup well-stirred plain whole-milk yogurt (not low-fat or non-fat)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola


  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter or cooking spray.  Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, and grease it too.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the lemon zest, and whisk to mix thoroughly.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended.  Add the flour mixture and stir just to combine.  Add the oil and stir to incorporate. At first, it will look like a horrible, oily mess, but keep stirring, and it will come together into a smooth batter. Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Do not overbake.

Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.

When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and powdered sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.

Serve immediately.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here:  French Yogurt Cake

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7 thoughts on “French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon

    1. It might be a little too light and fluffy for a loaf pan – but if you try it, please let me know how it goes.

    2. I just made this and it is absolutely wonderful! Light and fluffy even though I used whole wheat flour. I also used balkan style extra thick yogurt and made it in a 7 inch spring form pan.
      Thank you for the lovely recipe!

  1. What a nice recipe! I think I’m like you – not a huge fan of lemon squares or lemon pies. But in cakes like this lemons must be great.
    And I completely agree with your blog title, I am only inspired to cook recipes where I can see what the final product should look like :-).

  2. After reading Molly’s book, I highlighted a few recipes I wanted to try. Finally, last night, I had a chance to make this cake. I took it to work, cut it into 20 slices, and it was gone in 15 minutes. I loved it too. Moist, lemony, and light/delicate. Will definitely make it again. I changed how I mixed the ingredients together and I think that might be why my cake turned out nice and tall (about 2 inches). I’m glad you enjoyed it too.

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