Keeping the lemon theme flowing: lemon yogurt cake

I really do cook dinner almost every night and cook quite a few lunches too, but since returning from St. Croix mainly I've been grilling and making salads.  I spent a good hour with my Fine Cooking magazines and the King Arthur Flour website today planning for Easter weekend.  Rest assured, there will be some posts about cooking and not just baking next week.  I will be baking for Easter hot cross buns and the famous lamb cake.  We are hosting Easter for Greg's family and I already have a big Kirkland ham from Costco in the extra refrigerator, a jar of Boar's Head ham glaze in the pantry and an adorable lamb molded in butter from Whole Foods.  I'm searching for a yummy potato dish and new recipes for carrots and asparagus.

But tonight it was a family favorite, enchiladas, that went into the warm oven after I baked a lemon yogurt cake adapted from the Barefoot Contessa. Cadbury eggs, malted milk ball eggs and Cadbury cream eggs call me to my butler's pantry even though I'm not really a chocolate girl.  You know how you just want a little something sweet?  Something needed to compete for my attention with the Easter chocolates and I'm a little more reserved with baked goods.  A little.  

Today was ridiculously rainy so I thought something lemon would perk up my afternoon.  The lemon yogurt cake did the trick because it's been a pretty evening.  Apparently the pretty evening sunshine is warming up the atmosphere nicely for a collision with tonight's cold front.  Hoping for a good round of thunderstorms as we go off to bed tonight.  Last night I was awake from 3:00-4:30 and I've been paying for it all day.  It was a good day for the pouring rain.  It kept me safely at home.  It was not a day to take on anything tricky.  Never underestimate the power of a good night's sleep.  Or the impairment the lack of sleep can trigger.  Not a day to wash crystal or operate heavy machinery.

I can always bake, however.  Most of my adaptations were simply a result of an unfocused and sleepy mind.  Still the cake was yummy.  Never underestimate the power of rest.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

1 1/2 C flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 C plain yogurt (I used nonfat Greek yogurt)
1 C sugar
3 eggs
zest of 2 lemons
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C vegetable oil (I like Smart Balance)

1/3 C lemon juice
1/3 C sugar

2 T lemon juice
1 C confectioner's sugar

1/3 C lemon juice
1/3 C sugar

1 C confectioner's sugar
2 T lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.  

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  In a larger bowl whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs, zest, 1/4 C lemon juice and vanilla.  Pour in the flour mixture and whisk into the yogurt mix.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in the oil until well incorporated.  Note: I did not do this because I was too tired to read.  I think it improves the texture of the finished cake.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean from the center of the loaf (mine took 55 minutes).

While the cake is baking cook the syrup by combining 1/3 C lemon juice and 1/3 C sugar in a small pan over medium heat and stirring until sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear.  Set aside.

Cool the cake in it's pan for 10 minutes.  Place a baking rack over a rimmed pan and invert the cake onto the rack.  While the cake is still warm, slowly pour the syrup over the cake and allow it to soak in while the cake cools completely.  I poured the syrup on the bottom of the cake.  Pour yours on the top.  

Combine the confectioner's sugar and the 2 T of lemon juice to make a glaze.  Pour over the cake.  

sunny ingredients on a cloudy day

this is where I fell off the tracks a bit, see the oil in there already
with the yogurt, sugar, eggs, zest, juice and vanilla?

batter in prepared pan

55 minutes later
note:  this is an Emile Henry loaf pan that I just love
cute, versatile and easy to clean

squeezing lemon juice into a pan with the syrup sugar
you will see that I did not do this during baking
instead I left the kitchen to do a little cleaning
 (did I tell you how my husband was working at my computer all day?)

syrup simmering (really boiling which is not necessary)

now it is clear

syrup coated cake

glaze ingredients

glazed cake
Yep, had a little help in the kitchen since my husband's work lap top was "infiltrated" (his words) and completely shut down by a virus.  His plan was to work from his home office all week after lots of traveling.  Ha!  Instead his computer is being overhauled and he has sat at my beloved iMac at the kitchen island with his crackberry plugged into his ear and worked from our open kitchen.  I am learning a lot about the radiation detection world.  He has a cool job.  His biggest customer is homeland security and you can imagine that the Japan nuclear crisis has the radiation detection and monitoring business hopping.


  1. I just made this today too. Also a version of Contessa's cake. This is one of my favorite things in the world. Bringing one of them to Chicago for Easter.


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