It’s getting closer….Spring! It’s almost here! So you already know that I love making cakes. A rich, chocolate stout cake in Winter is hard to beat. But I really love baking those lighter, refreshing desserts that stand out in Spring and Summer. I also appreciate “everyday” cakes. These are the ones you can whip together with ingredients you probably already have. This is one of those cakes– and it is fantastic. One of my favorites, to be honest.
This Lemon Yogurt Cake is neither fancy nor complicated. Even better, it has a relatively short ingredient list. Don’t let that fool you, though. The flavor is absolutely intense. The reason is the “layering” of lemon flavor throughout the cake. I don’t mean literal layers, but rather the complimentary way in which lemons are used in three different parts of the recipe. First, there’s the vibrant lemon zest and juice in the cake, itself. Second, the glaze adds more lemon juice. Finally– and perhaps most importantly– you’ll inject (used very loosely, here) a lemon juice and sugar mixture into the cake after baking which really emphasizes the powerful citrus flavor.
This last point– the “injecting”– is important enough that I need to discuss it a bit more here at the outset. The original recipe says to “pour the sugar/lemon mixture over the cake while still warm”. I did that and the syrup ran off of the cake. So, I improvised. I poked 20-30 holes into the top of the cake with a thick toothpick (the holes won’t be visible when the icing is applied). After setting the cake on a wire rack placed inside of a rimmed sheet pan, I slowly poured the mixture over the cake. Much of it ran down the sides, so I repeated it a few times until most of the syrup was absorbed into the cake. It took me an extra five to seven minutes, but it made all the difference. Trust me, it’s worth it. If you do it right, you’ll get an unbelievably moist, powerful, lemon-y cake. You’ll love it!
The Recipe: Lemon Yogurt Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2 -inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and the salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. 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 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a cooling rack over a rimmed sheet pan. Poke 20-30 holes on the top of the cake and while the cake is still warm, pour the sugar/lemon mixture over the cake, repeat as many times as necessary. Try to get the majority of the mixture into the cake. Cool.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. Enjoy!
Source: Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home
Enjoy the rest of your week and have a lovely weekend!
See you soon!