Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lemon Cake for the Ages

Tonight, I am baking the lemon cake for a friend who is leaving our place of employment in search of more productive waters. She's obviously going to do great in her new job and she's probably going to make a ton of new friends so I wanted to bake a little something for her to remember me by. How do I know this lemon cake will make me unforgettable? I have experience and proof. When I was living in Chicago my friend JP came to visit. JP, like me, spent most of her time living out of a hotel room so I decided to make a homemade meal during her stay. For dessert one night, I made this Lemon Yogurt Cake and for a year I had requests from JP to mail said cake to whatever city she was staffed in. Even today, she said she was watching the Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten making this cake on TV and she thought of me. So THAT is how I know my friend is not going to forget about me when she leaves our company. This cake is THAT good. Thank you, Barefoot Contessa.

Lemon Yogurt Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 1/3 cups sugar, divided
3 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze:nocoupons
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 176 degrees Celsius. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.
1. When whisking in the flour, don’t worry about getting all the lumps. You just want to make sure the flour is mixed into the batter. Overmixing will make the cake tough and chewy.
2. Before pouring the syrup over the warm cake, make 6 small holes into the cake with a cake tester/meat thermometer for better absorption of the lemon syrup.
3. The cake must be completely cooled and the syrup mostly absorbed before putting the icing on the cake. I know 1 cup of powdered sugar to 2 tbs of lemon juice seems like a lot but don’t mess with the ratio too much. You need that much sugar for the icing to set. You want a drizzly consistency so that the frosting drizzles thickly off the spoon. If it’s too thick, add a couple of drops of lemon juice and mix well before trying again. A little liquid goes a long way.

Great with a black or green tea.


  1. Loved the cake! It was deliciously moist yet firm, sweet yet tangy.

    Thanks for doing this for me Kim! I look forward to trying many more of your confections:)

  2. Yes, it’s true the cake is that good. I miss you in the states Kim, but more than I miss you - I miss your awesome baking. Thanks for the dummy proof instructions, now I can finally stop stalking you for lemon yogurt cake.