I’ve been coming back to this recipe every spring and summer (over and over again for half a decade) and though many, many praises have already been sung for Ina Garten’s lovely, versatile tea cake, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share it with you. It’s ethereally scented with lemon (if you’re lucky enough to find Meyers, use those), lavishly moist and pairs beautifully with fresh berries and lightly whipped cream (as we did for Easter) or with a cup of tea, all by itself. I’ve even grilled slices of it (start with a clean, well-oiled grate) and served with honey-slicked grilled peach halves and a sprinkling of pistachios.
If you happen to have two loaf pans, by all means double the recipe and freeze one of the cakes for later. (Defrost on the counter when you’re ready to use.) I might try adding a handful of blueberries to the mix next time around; if you give that a whirl, dust them first with a bit of the flour to keep them from sinking, and fold in at the very end of mixing.
Lemon Yogurt Cake
adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home, 2006
- 1 1/2 cups cake or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs + one egg yolk
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (about 3 Meyer lemons)
- 1/8 tsp almond extract
for optional syrup:
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set the rack to the middle rung. Grease and flour a loaf pan, preferably one that’s 8″ x 4″.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil and eggs; add the yogurt, lemon zest, and almond extract. In batches, add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, whisking and then folding to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until nicely browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.
If using the syrup, heat 1/3 cup lemon juice 3 tablespoons of sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
Allow the cake to cool in its pan for 10 minutes. De-pan and place on a wire cooling rack. While the cake is still warm, use a pastry brush to spread the glaze over the top and sides of the cake.pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.
Note: If you don’t have a pastry brush, just gently pour the glaze overtop. If your Meyer lemons don’t yield enough lemon juice, fill the rest of the measure with water and cook a bit longer.