a homemade…lemon yogurt cake

I just had to go and say it, didn’t I?  I had to shout from the roof tops (or at least my blog and maybe once or twice out my car window) that Spring had arrived.  That the time had come for running in shorts, lunches in the park and open windows while sleeping.  My glove box was reorganized as I giddily thought to myself “I won’t be needing you guys ’till next November!“, and  I even made myself a few smoothies…a meal/snack reserved for warmer days in our household. 


I spoke too soon.  Imagine my surprise when I woke up Friday morning to a dusting of fresh snow on the ground.  So. Very. Disappointing.

The unfortunate weather coincided with my Momma’s arrival from Florida, where sunny 75* days have been the norm for weeks now.  The weekend plans that originally included vineyard tours, outdoor meals and grunt work in the garden quickly shifted to making a big pot of soup, going to the movies (twice!) and evening coffee in the den rather than white wine on the deck.  


But there was still a race.  The glorious 8K that – while being cheered on by friends and family brave enough to weather the cold, damp air – my running buddy Kelly and I conquered in 49:15 with smiles on our faces.  Between mile 4 and the finish line Kelly commented that she was still able to smile, and wondered how far she would have to run before she stopped smiling.  I decided that I never want to know.  I like smiling while running.  


One of the thoughts that kept me smiling through the race?  Cake.  I run so that I can continue to eat cake (and other wonderful baked goods of course, but cake is very near to the top of the list…).  Because, you see, the other important event that coincided with my Momma’s visit to Virginia was my Momma’s birthday


I wanted to make a cake that would remind us all of warmer days, in celebration of Momma’s birthday and as a thank you for standing in the cold to watch me run.  Luckily, I stumbled upon a variation of this recipe in Molly’s lovely book, A Homemade Life.  

If you love Orangette you will love this book.  I anxiously awaited its arrival after pre-ordering it in January and have been devouring it since it landed on my doorstep.  It is written beautifully, of course, and each recipe I’ve read so far sounds delicious.  I thought I would have a hard time deciding which to make first, but knew instantly that this was the one when I found it.  Because, not only do I love lemon, but in the book this cake coincides with the story of how Molly met her husband.  It is such a great story, almost fairy tale-like, and if you haven’t read it you should.  Right here.


And this cake?  Its almost fairy tale-like as well.  I recommend that you make it as soon as possible, for the positive thoughts it invokes are sure to make Spring come a little bit faster.


Lemon Yogurt Cake

from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenburg (of Orangette)



  • 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup well-stirred plain whole-milk yogurt (I used Greek – Molly says NOT to use low or non-fat)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola


  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice


  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.  Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper and spray it too.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add the lemon zest and whisk to mix thoroughly.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar and eggs, stirring to mix well.  Add the flour mixture and stir to just combine.  Add the oil and stir well. Don’t worry when it looks like an oily mess – just keep mixing until a smooth batter forms.  Pour into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert onto wire rack.  Remove parchment paper.  Flip back over so that rounded top is up.  Set the rack over a pan or large plate.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the syrup ingredients.  Spoon the syrup slowly over top of warm cake.  Let cake cool completely.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the icing ingredients.  Whisk well so that sugar is completely dissolved.  Spoon the icing over the cooled cake.
  8. Cake can be served immediately, but icing will be set after about 1 hour.



46 responses to “a homemade…lemon yogurt cake

  1. Absolutely Stunning! Your pics and the cake look amazing!

  2. I love yogurt cake, so simple and so delicious!

  3. What a lovely cake, I need to try that out. Great job on your 8km race, too!

  4. What a lovely cake, a lovely presentation, and lovely stories. I love baking with yogurt. And spring: we’re almost there!

  5. That looks delicious! I love lemon drizzle cake…it looks so fluffy!

  6. Jessica (keepitsimplefoods.com)

    Lemon cake is one of my favorites and this looks really easy and yummy. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  7. Ahh damn the snow 😦


  8. What a gorgeous cake!!

  9. Your cake looks so fluffy!

  10. I ran an 8k yesterday too! Not sure of my time, but I’m pretty sure it was under 60 mins which was my goal. I’ve been running a 12min mile but I think I got it down to a 11.5min mile. I could have been faster but I stayed with my friend most of the race 🙂

  11. Happy birthday mom 🙂
    Lovely cake. Great job on the 8K! I don’t think I’ve smiled while running – I need to try that 😀

  12. what a fun weekend! great job on the race 🙂

    that cake looks so good – I love lemon desserts

  13. what a fun weekend! great job on the race 🙂

    that cake looks so good – I love lemon desserts

  14. Bummer on the snow! It was BEAUTIFUL here all weekend. It was in the low 80s and just a few clouds in teh sky. I spent most of my weekend outside actually 🙂

    Congrats on your 8k! that’s a great time and something you should really be proud of!!

  15. Your beautiful photos definitely evoke feelings of Spring! Looking forward to making this cake!

  16. Congrats on the 8K!! I kept wondering if I was going to see you there, but I dont know if I would be able to recognize you anyway!! It was a fun race, but man was I sore the next day!!

  17. What a beautiful cake… and absolutely beautiful post. I love this format (and I love Orangette too!)

  18. ooooh, what a gorgeous cake, as always.

    and congrats on the 8k!!!!! you did it 😀

  19. Bummer snow! I want some summer!:)
    So glad you got to have your momma come to visit and see you run in the race though!!

  20. I was just reading about orangette on rose’s blog. I really think I need to check out this cookbook because this cake looks fabulous as I loooove lemon.

    Congrats on the smiley race!

  21. I’m not usually a fan of lemon flavor in baked goods but this looks amazing!

  22. Happy Birthday to your mom and looks like another birthday cake baking success for sure!

    Congrats on your 8K – glad you finished smiling.

    I’ve only heard good things about Molly’s latest cookbook. It’s definitely on my cookbook to-buy list which has gotten way out of control! 🙂

    Have a good week Andrea. Hope things warm up soon. I’ve been looking forward to smoothie season myself!

  23. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful pictures!


  24. Congrats on the race! What a gorgeous cake. I, too, love Orangette. Her book is outstanding!

  25. Congrats on your race and that you kept a smile on your face! 😀

    Happy Birthday to your momma. I hate the ups and downs of this weather.

    My birthday is later in the week and sometimes its been 70 degrees, other times inches of snow on the ground!

    Happy Monday!

  26. Congrats on the race! That cake looks awesome!

  27. Congrats on the race – keep smiling 🙂

    The cake looks divine… ideal for springtime, which is just around the corner!

  28. The cake looks so GREAT! MMMMM! We had company in town as well and were stuck inside too! Glad you had a good one despite the outdoor conditions!


  29. You never stop coming up with the good stuff! 🙂

  30. Hi Andrea! Your cake looks just divine – I’ll have to try it some time!

    I just stumbled upon your site today somehow and am loving it – all your food looks super tasty and I definitely plan on trying to make some! I’m just starting to “learn to run” and your running stories are definitely inspiring me to keep going. I’ll definitely be coming back to check your site regularly!

    On a side note, I just love Charlottesville – my brother is at UVA and it’s always wonderful to visit him down there. Sounds like you are happy there too!

  31. The cake looks Ah-mazing! Even though the weather has been decent in NY too – it must stay that way for 10 days for me to get excited. I too have been burned many times by thinking it’s warming up only to have a cold front snap me out of it.

  32. Such pretty pictures! It looks so good!

  33. Was it freezing during your race if there was snow on the ground? And you were smiling? You are making me look bad, girl, like a total complainer. If the soggy running shoe fits…right?

    Lovely cake!

  34. Great time on your race! I want to get a sub 50 min time on my 8K in a few weeks.

    I can’t wait to dive into Molly’s Book. Looks like a yummy recipe (and a cute store to go along with it!)

  35. Oh dear, i may have to make myself that cake. do you think bottled lemon juice would work as well?

  36. and i was complaining about rain on my 12K race across the Golden Gate Bridge this weekend! you must have been freezing! congrats on your 8K! i love hearing about your runs. it always inspires me to get out there again and run! isn’t it so true…you run so you can eat whatever you like! that cake looks delicious, i have to make it soon! love the transition of your blog!

  37. xpatticakesx

    i’ve never tried yogurt cake but i’m so intrigued i’ll have to make it!

  38. OMG I make this EXACT cake, but with grapefruit instead of lemon!!! It’s one of my signatures. Also, I use soy yogurt because Dave is lactose intolerant – and I think the cake is still delicious. I’m so excited that you posted this. It’s SO good, and so bright, and the zest (lemon OR grapefruit) is the best part!!!

  39. beautiful cake! i love it!

    spring will be here before you know it!!!

  40. rhodeygirltests

    your pictures make me so happy.

  41. Thanks, everybody!

    Margaret – Welcome! I always love to hear from another C’ville fan…its such a great city. And good luck with the running!

    Tanya – You’d think I would learn…I am fooled every year! 🙂

    Annie – I’m not sure if bottled lemon juice would work or not….but its certainly worth a try! In my experience bottled lemon juice isn’t quite as flavorful, so if you really want a good lemon-y pop I’d go for the fresh. I think I used 4-5 lemons total…

    Wiggs – What a coincidence! I was thinking that grapefruit or key lime juice would be really wonderful…

  42. wow, so gorgeous!! and it sounds just lovely 🙂 great job with your 8k!

  43. Amazing! so fresh-looking and delicious!
    btw, quick question: I’ve been thinking about switching from blogger to wordpress…mainly because of the time it takes for blogger to upload pics…is it the same for wordpress? your pics always comes out amazing…

  44. Pingback: Yogurt Cake

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