* This post had been updated on February 21, 2022 with fresh images.
Lemon-lovers, this is for you! A celebration of effervescent citrus, through and through – from the glistening glaze to the very last, sunny-yellow crumbs. Infused with a liberal amount of freshly grated zest, this cheerful cake sparkles with the perkiness of lemon and has a superb balance of sweetness and tang.
After more than two dozen eggs, over thirty lemons, four tubs of yogurt, and with all of my heart, I hope you find this cake as scrumptious as we do; delivering on the promise of consummate lemon flavor in a downright delicious package.
Lemon Yogurt Snack Cake
A sensational loaf-style cake, bursting with naturally vibrant, lemon flavor in every bite. This cake rises beautifully to create a delicious, moist, sunny-yellow crumb — a truly delightful lemon cake with the perfect balance of sweetness and tang.
For the cake
- 5 lemons
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup thick, full-fat Greek yogurt
- ½ cup avocado oil ((grapeseed or any neutral-flavored oil will work))
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp lemon zest ((from 1 lemon))
Ensure your oven rack is in the center setting, and preheat to 325ºF. Grease the inside ends of the loaf pan, then line it with a strip of parchment paper, wide enough to cover the majority of the length of the pan, and up both long sides, with about an inch or two overhanging to act as handles.
In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk to thoroughly mix the dry ingredients. Set aside while you mix the wet ingredients.
Finely zest the lemons with a microplane directly into a medium bowl with a wide enough opening to capture the mist of oils released as the citrus is zested.
Reserve 2 tsp of zest to use for the glaze, then measure the remaining zest and ensure you have at least 2 tablespoons. A little extra is completely fine, but less and your cake will lack in flavor.
Measure the sugar and pour it into the bowl with the zest. With your fingers, “massage” the sugar and zest together for at least 1 minute so that the oils are released and the mixture smells incredible.
Add the eggs and whisk until uniform; then add the yogurt, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla, and stir with the whisk until thoroughly combined.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir well with a spatula until relatively smooth. You’ll still see small lumps in the batter, mostly due to the lemon zest. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap firmly on your countertop 2-3 times to expel any large air bubbles.
Place the pan into the oven and set a timer for 50 minutes. When the timer rings, check for signs of uneven baking and, if necessary, carefully rotate the pan 180º.
Bake for another 10 minutes, then check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf. It should come out clean with just a couple moist crumbs clinging on. If the toothpick comes out with wet batter, continue to bake in 5-minute intervals until done.
Remove from the oven and set the pan on a cooling rack.
Make the glaze by measuring the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons at first and stir until completely blended. Add more lemon juice if you wish – I find 3 tablespoons to be the magic number, but if you like a thinner/thicker glaze, adjust accordingly. When you have the consistency you like, stir through the reserved 2 tsp of lemon zest.
Pour about half of the glaze over the still-hot cake, focusing on the fissure running down the center to allow the glaze to seep in. You may want to use a small spoon to coax any glaze that pools in the corners of the pan back up onto the top of the loaf.
Allow the loaf to cool completely, drizzle the remaining glaze over the loaf, distributing it evenly with the back of a spoon. Let sit until the glaze is dry then run a knife around the edge of the pan.
Using the parchment as handles, lift the loaf out of the pan and onto a board for slicing. Enjoy!
A standard metal loaf pan produces the best results.
If not using parchment paper, grease the entire loaf pan.
Depending on your oven, you may need to set the rack in the lower third so that the top of the cake doesn’t brown too quickly.
The cake keeps well for a few days at room temperature, left on a plate and loosely covered. If wrapped too tightly, the glaze will soften and liquify slightly but will still be delcious.
This recipe is based on a delicious lemon tea cake from Shahla at My Berkley Kitchen.