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Lemon Yogurt Cake

Lemon Yogurt cake is a recipe that even a child could make.

In fact, for many Italians this is the first cake they make. I love this cake. It’s delicious and it reminds me of my family in Italy.

Lemon Yogurt cake with slice in the front and two espresso cups of coffee and moka pot.

A few years ago I took my husband and children to Italy to meet my Italian family. It was an amazing three-week adventure of discovery. A discovery of wonderful family, food and beautiful places important in our family history. A time that will never be forgotten and people who touched our hearts like never before. It was here that I also discovered this Italian yogurt cake.

About this Lemon Yogurt Cake.

In Turin we had our first breakfast Italian style – sweet biscuits, croissants and home made yogurt cake. Quite unlike an Australian breakfast of maybe toast and vegemite or wheatbix cereal. But embrace it we did. It was a thrill discovering different sweet biscuits, cakes and bake-at-home croissants.

My cousin Donatella, treated us to her freshly baked lemon yogurt cake. Of course, I couldn’t leave my cousin without asking for the recipe for the wonderful cake.

This cake uses the 150 gram container the yogurt came in as a measure and because of this, it is often called a yogurt tub cake. The French also have a version of the yogurt tub cake and it is often the cake children make so it’s got to be fairly easy. To be more precise, I have updated the recipe using cup/weight measurements.

If you are curious the yogurt container measurements are:- 1 container of yogurt, 4 containers of flour, 2 containers of sugar, 1 container of oil plus 4 eggs, 1 grated lemon rind and a sachet of Italian baking powder.

Lemon is a stand out flavor in this easy cake recipe. If you love lemon as much as I do, be sure to try my Ricotta Pie which has such a wonderful citrus fragrance. And miss out on my Lemon Curd Cookies! They’re amazing!


The beauty of this lemon yogurt cake recipe is that the ingredients are staple pantry items in most kitchens.

  • yogurt
  • flour
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • oil
  • lemon
  • baking powder and baking soda

You can use any yogurt even low fat. In my recipe testing, there was no noticeable difference between full fat or low fat yogurt. Why not even try flavoured varieties to add extra flavour.

Another favorite lemon recipe in my house is my delicious lemon macaron recipe that the whole family loves. Be sure to also try my tasty Italian macarons while you are there!

Oil used in this cake should be light in flavour such as sunflower or canola. My preferred oil for this cake is  light olive oil which I also use in my simple carrot cake

The vanilla baking powder used in Italy comes in a small sachet (called “bustina”) weighing 16 grams (1/2 ounce). It is flavoured with vanillin. However to make it easier I have substituted baking powder, a little bit of bicarbonate of soda and vanilla. If you can find and want to use the Italian baking powder, simply omit the baking powder, soda and vanilla and instead add one sachet of Italian baking powder.

4 step photo collage showing how to make this recipe.

Tips for success

Grease and flour the bundt pan very well even if it has a non stick surface. I like to use this bundt pan to bake my Blueberry Pound Cake as well. It’s such a versatile pan.

This cake can easily be frozen. Wrap the cooled cake well in plastic wrap and then another layer of foil to prevent freezer burn. There is no such thing as over wrapping when preparing a cake for the freezer. You need to protect the cake from freezer burn which will dry out the cake.

Also it is important to wrap the cake well to be sure it doesn’t absorb any odours – nothing worse that onion flavoured lemon yogurt cake! When you need your cake, allow to thaw still wrapped this way you will avoid condensation.

You can also freeze leftover, individual slices of cake. Again, wrap well in plastic wrap and foil and then pack into a airtight plastic container or zip lock bag. When you want to snack on slice of cake, it will thaw quickly. I usually thaw slices of unwrapped cake in the microwave on the defrost setting.

this cake with knife, two espresso cups of coffee and coffee moka pot viewed from above.

Serving suggestions

This Italian Lemon Yogurt cake is not too sweet and is perfect served for breakfast simply dusted with icing sugar. Because it is a rather sturdy but tender cake, this yogurt cake is wonderful for dunking into tea or coffee.

While this Italian cake is ideal for breakfast, you can also serve this with an extra scoop of yogurt or a dollop of whipped cream and some fruit for a light dessert.

Bundt cake with two espresso cups of coffee and moka pot.

Made this recipe?
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Lemon Yogurt cake with slice in the front and two espresso cups of coffee and moka pot.

Lemon Yogurt Cake Recipe

Lemon Yogurt cake is a simple recipe that even a child could make. In fact, for many Italians this is the first cake they make. I love this cake. It's delicious and it reminds me of my family in Italy.
5 from 53 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Author: Marcellina


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup (225 grams) superfine (castor) sugar
  • ½ cup (120 mls) Greek yogurt (full fat or low fat)
  • ½ cup (120 mls) light olive oil
  • 1 lemon, finely grated rind only (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250 grams) plain flour sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  • Heat the oven to 350°F/180ºC and grease and flour a large bundt cake pan.
  • Using an electric mixer, beat together eggs and sugar for two minutes until light and fluffy.
  • Add yogurt, oil, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat until just combined – 30 seconds.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and add to egg mixture.
  • Mix well to combine for two minutes, scraping the bowl after one minute.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake in oven for 35-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted come out clean.
  • Rest the cake for 5 minutes then remove from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • Dust with icing sugar and enjoy with a strong espresso or a milky coffee.


Lemon extract or lemon oil can be used in place of grated lemon rind.
Tried this recipe? Give it a star rating and leave a comment below!

Nutritional Estimate Per Serving

Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 79IU | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. For accurate results, it is recommended that the nutritional information be calculated based on the ingredients and brands you use.

This recipe has been updated and was first published on 22 September 2013

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made this for a weekly staff morning tea. Easy to make with clear instructions.to increase the lemon intensity, I rubbed the lemon rind well into the sugar before adding the eggs.

  2. Toutes vos recettes ont l’air succulentes.
    Mais le poids des ingrédients est indiqué en tasse comment avoir l’équivalence en grammes.
    Merci du partage.

    1. Je vous remercie pour votre aimable commentaire. J’ai ajouté des mesures de poids à cette recette et je mets à jour plus de recettes avec des mesures de poids.

  3. It’s very easy to make however there was not enough lemon. Also, the addition of the lemon zest has been omitted from the recipe instructions.

    1. Lia, certainly you could add more lemon zest if that is more to your taste. I have now amended the recipe instructions to show were to add the lemon zest.

  4. 5 stars
    Marcellina, I’m so in love with this cake! I love lemon, and the yogurt and olive oil must make it so wonderful! I’ve learned many a recipe measuring with odd things like cream cheese containers and egg shells. An old fashioned way of doing it, but they sure got it right!

  5. Hi MARCELLINA, This cake looks very delicious and I hope to make it in a couple of days. Do you mean the grated rind of one lemon for tbhis recipe? Thanks for sharing and I like the story. Pauline

    1. Hi Pauline, yes that’s what I mean…the finely grated rind of one lemon. I’ll try to make it more clear. My cousin made it in a large (about 25cm) round cake pan. I make it in a bundt pan because I found it hard to get the centre baked. I think you will like this cake!

      1. I’m British and, a bit like you with Italian plumcake, when I see a coffee cake recipe from the USA it seems strange. In the uk a coffee cake is a cake made with coffee!

  6. What a wonderful time you had with your family in Torino. I too, don't usually eat cakes for breakfast, but I make an exception in Italy – and this yogurt cake looks delicious.

  7. I absolutely love lemon cake, and this recipe looks fabulous – this is definitely going on my 'to cook' list!!