A classic, easy lemon loaf cake recipe perfect for home bakers. It’s moist, lemony and foolproof to make.
French yogurt cake is a plain and simple loaf cake, something like a cross between a lemon pound cake and a traditional sponge cake.
This super moist lemon cake recipe recipe is one you can whip up without fuss when the mood strikes.
A recipe like this is like a basic white t-shirt — a staple baking recipe to always have in your back pocket.
Classic French Yogurt Cake
You basically only need two bowls and a loaf pan to make the cake — no need for a mixer at all!
Baking maven Dorie Greenspan, whose book this recipe is adapted from, writes that pretty much every home cook in France makes this “absolutely foolproof” cake at one time or another — for birthdays, afternoon tea or impromptu dinner guests.
Once you try it, you’ll see why.
It’s kind of perfect, actually.
The golden crust has a nutty bite, while the inside crumb is moist, tender and buttery-tasting.
Even though there’s no butter in the recipe (except for coating the loaf pan) this cake has the pleasingly rich taste of a pound cake, but with a lighter texture.
Does yogurt make a cake moist?
Adding any kind of fat to a cake batter makes it moist.
But yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk also contribute a tasty tang and tenderness to the crumb.
In addition to plain whole milk yogurt, this cake is enriched with neutra-tasting vegetable oil instead of butter.
I sometimes use a mix of 1/2 canola oil and 1/2 Italian lemon olive oil.
What makes French lemon yogurt cake so good?
- You probably have all the ingredients on hand to make the cake right now.
- There’s no need to haul out the electric mixer — all you need are two bowls and a whisk to mix.
- A slice of French lemon yogurt cake is perfect when it’s time for a cup of tea.
- Possibly the best reason to bake this: You get to massage lemon zest with sugar!
If you’ve never rubbed lemon zest between grains of sugar, you’re missing out.
It’s like an aromatherapy session times ten 🙂
Can You Freeze Lemon Yogurt Cake?
Yes, lemon yogurt cake can be frozen.
Let it cool completely, then wrap securely in two layers of plastic wrap before placing in the freezer.
And bonus: Like all great cakes, this one is even better the next day.
The texture stays tender and moist, and somehow seems improve with age (if it lasts that long).
For cake more than a day or two old, bring it back to life by toasting it and spreading with a little butter and jam (YUM).
Serving yogurt cake
For serving, I love to just dust the loaf with some powdered sugar and cut into thick slices. Easy peasy.
Or make a (dairy-free) creamy glaze:
- Put 1 1/2 cups powdered confectioner’s sugar in a bowl.
- Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice – just enough to make a thick glaze
- Whisk in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
If you want to dress this cake up, follow Dorie’s suggestion for serving the cake with a side of lightly sweetened crème fraîche.
It’s lovely, tangy match with the lemon-scented cake, even better than whipped cream.
Plus it makes this dessert seem extra-French. Ooh la la!
- 1 tablespoon softened butter for pan
- 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (60 grams) almond flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (I like Greek yogurt)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower
- Center oven rack and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter a standard loaf pan and lightly coat with flour, tapping out the excess.
- Whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
- Put the sugar in a medium bowl with the zest and rub with your fingertips until sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the yogurt, and eggs. Whisk until blended, then add the oil and whisk until emulsified.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture and fold with a spatula or wooden spoon until no flour is visible.
- Scrape the batter into pan and bake 50-55 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Transfer pan to a rack and cool 5 minutes. Run a blunt knife around edges before unmolding onto a rack to cool, right side up.
To make a creamy, dairy-free glaze:
- Put 1 1/2 cups powdered confectioner's sugar in a bowl.
- Whisk in 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice - just enough to make a thick glaze
- Whisk in 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- You can sub the same amount of vanilla bean yogurt. If you do, reduce the amount of sugar in the batter to 3/4 cup.
- Use a 1/2 + 1/2 mixture of neutral vegetable oil and extra-virgin olive oil. Italian lemon oil is amazing!
Slightly adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 346Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 261mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 1gSugar: 24gProtein: 5g