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.
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 yoghurt, 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.
The beauty of this lemon yogurt cake recipe is that the ingredients are staple pantry items in most kitchens.
- 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.
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 (½ 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.
Tips for success
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 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 yoghurt or a dollop of cream and some fruit for a light dessert.
If you enjoyed this recipe, I’d really appreciate a star rating and a comment or tag me on instagram @marcellina.in.cucina.
Either way, I love to hear from you!
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This recipe has been updated and was first published on 22 September 2013
Lemon Yogurt Cake Recipe
- 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.