I love cookbooks. I have more cookbooks than is legal in the State of California. Shhh please don’t tell! I first discovered Ina Garten by watching the Food Network on TV. Her show is “The Barefoot Contessa”. After watching her on tv and trying some of her recipes, I purchased several of her cookbooks (okay, I admit I have all four!) In one of them was a recipe for Lemon Yogurt Cake. This sounded a lot like the lemon loaf that is sold at the local (large chain) coffee shop. I made a few changes to the recipe. Since I like a strong lemon taste in the frosting, I added lemon zest to the glaze. I also increased the powdered sugar in the glaze so it is thicker. I had to bake it 10 minutes longer than the recipe called for as it was not done after 50 minutes. Every oven is different though, so your loaf if you try this recipe may be done at the 50 minute mark. Use a large skewer to test the cake in several places, if the skewer is wet, bake it longer and re-test. I also changed the yogurt from plain to Vanilla and omitted the vanilla in the cake the second time I made it. It was good either way.
Okay, confession time: The first time I made it – I didn’t check if the loaf was done, so as I removed it to cool on the rack the whole loaf fell completely apart. Splitting in the middle, and the center oozing onto the rack. I had to carefully wrestle the hot loaf back into the pan, because there was NO WAY I was going to throw it away. I returned it to the oven to baked it more. After 10 more minutes in the oven I checked it and discovered it was no more cooked than before! What? Yes, that is right I had turned off the oven, so I turned on the oven and baked the poor loaf 10-15 minutes and then I glazed it. It was great! I took pictures of the second loaf that I made and glazed.. don’t do what I did okay? Test your cake when you pull it out of the oven to see if it is ready!! Shortcuts are not short! Here is the link to Ina Garten’s Book.
What makes this cake unusual from other cakes I have made is that you bake the loaf and then slowly pour a syrup into it for flavor and then after it has cooled, glaze it. It makes for a moist and flavorful cake that will quickly become a family favorite.
Lemon Yogurt Cake
adapted from Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa at Home Copyright 2006 page 168)
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup whole-milk plain or vanilla yogurt
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp grated lemon zest (1-2 lemons)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, (omit if you use vanilla yogurt)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- zest of one lemon
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Grease a glass 4.5×8.5×2″ pan (meatloaf pan size) with butter. Cut a piece of parchment paper for the bottom of the pan and line the bottom of the pan with it. Butter the parchment paper. This will aid in removing the baked loaf from the pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl.
In a separate bowl, use a whisk to combine the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla (if you are not using a vanilla yogurt). Stir in the dry ingredients until well blended. Add the vegetable oil and stir until well incorporated. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake at 350F for 50-60 minutes. Test the cake, and bake longer if necessary. (Mine took 60 minutes, but test at 50 minutes).
Meanwhile combine the lemon juice and sugar for the syrup in a small saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until combined and turn off heat.
After you remove the cake from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing the cake from the pan to a wire rack over a sheet pan. Slowly pour the syrup onto the top of the loaf, pausing from time to time to allow the cake to absorb the syrup. Pour more after it is absorbed until the syrup is gone. There may be some on the cookie sheet below the rack.
For the glaze, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest and powdered sugar and stir to combine. After the loaf has cooled completely, pour the glaze over the loaf. Slice into 12 slices. Enjoy!
TIPS: To remove lemon zest (grated lemon peel) invest in a good microplane and you will have quick work of removing the zest.