Cake & Cheesecake | May 7, 2011

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Lemon Yogurt Cake
Lemon Yogurt Cake

Final installment of our Mothers Day Dinner, 2011.
What’s a dinner without dessert? Since most moms are watching their weight, I chose this yummy, simple, Lemon Yogurt Cake. It’s made with yogurt and oil, instead of butter, is moist and delish, without being too high in calories. It’s wonderful served with fresh berries of any kind. You can make it today or tomorrow and it will still be fresh on Sunday*. I recommend storing it covered in the fridge, then just slice and serve on Sunday. Want some extra fat? Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Oh – side note, One of my bff’s sent an email around asking:what we loved most about being a mom, or what you have learned by being a mom. I loved the responses- here are a few for your pondering, laughing and crying pleasure…

-What my children do, is not as important as who my children are.
-Sometimes, all you can do is tell them that you love them, and that you’ll love them no matter what.
-When you’re a mom, your life and time are not your own, but that’s OK, because I’m having the time of my life!
-Just when you know all the answers, there are no more kids at home to try them on!
-Just when you know all of the answers, all of the questions change!
-If I don’t want the blame for their mistakes, I can’t take credit for their successes.
-The capacity for human love is, evidently, unlimited.
-This whole mothering thing is a giant set up for heart-break, they will never love us as much as we love them. We give them our hearts for a couple decades, and then they run off with them!
-There could never be a more importantjob than taking helpless babies and helping them to grow into good and happy people. Nor a more difficult, more thankless, more more rewarding, or more fulfilling one in all of humanity.
-I am happy I am over one of the worst mothering days ever. The day I tried to use a book called “Potty Training in a Day” to train my twins. That is bunk. When my husband got home, I was sitting on the kitchen floor, with the two little potty chairs, books, food and all the items needed to train the children. As he came through the door, I began to cry and yelled “I am worth more than this!” Oh how wrong I was. Being a mother is worth it all.

I am blessed to be surrounded by women who, just like my mom, are examples of courage, integrity, virtue, charity, kindness, hope and love. From my close childhood friends, to my sisters in law, to my neighborhood friends, each has taught me something about mothering, by the way they live and love each day. They’ve mothered my kids and loved them no matter what, and my kids have felt their love.
Thanks for being you.
Happy Mother’s Day.
love you,

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Barefoot Contessa- At Home
Course Breakfast, quick and easy dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword bread, breakfast, brunch, dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


for cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 extra large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

for syrup:

  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice for syrup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • for glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2 inch loaf pan. Line bottom with parchment paper. Grease and lightly flour the pan.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk the yogurt, 1 cup of sugar, eggs, lemon zest and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold in the oil, making sure all ingredients are incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a pick inserted comes out clean.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small sauce pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside. When the cake is done, allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Carefully turn cake out onto rack that is place on top of a baking sheet, to catch excess syrup and icing. Place cake right side up, and pour syrup over cake, allowing the syrup to soak into the cake. Combine the glaze ingredients, and pour over cake after cooled a bit more.

Recipe Notes

-Serve with fresh berries and cream, if desired.

-You could also bake this in a 9 inch springform pan.

-*If you are making this ahead, prepare to the pouring syrup over the cake stage. Cool, then place the cake in a Ziplock in the refrigerator. On the day you are serving, Make the glaze, pour over and serve.

26 thoughts on “Simple Lemon Almond Poppy Seed Cake

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Recipe Rating

  1. This is the exact recipe for Poppy-seed Cake my mom always makes. It turns out so moist and delicious every time. We never put icing on it as we like it just as well without!

  2. Melanie and I made this today. We loved the cake, but have a question about the frosting. We only used one lemon and it was too sugary, would the juice of two lemons have made the difference? Also, it didn't cover the whole cake? Oh well. We still ate two pieces each… Thanks for the recipe. Definitely a keeper!

  3. You know how I like the lemon! This is one of the few times when you tell me the recipe is simple and then it ACTUALLY IS.

    I may even try it. I'm not so sure about purchasing poppy seeds, though. I'm scared. Yeah, I don't know why, just am.

    My grandma's name is Marge. Yes, it's a great name.

  4. Amazing what recipes bring so many comments!
    Tiffany and Mel, I'm not sure why you didn't have enough frosting for the whole cake? Last time I made this, I used the juice from two lemons, but other times I have just used juice from one…I always thin it a bit with milk, if I need to as well (I'll add this adjustment) . It's not a thick layer of icing, as you can see. You should have had more than enough to frost the top. hmmm. Maybe too many tastings before frosting?? 🙂

  5. I cannot wait to try this. Lemon poppy seed is my sons favorite flavor, and the addition of almond will add a nice light flavor-thank you!


  6. I saw this recipe and made it yesterday…. Everyone loved it. Thank you so much. It was a great cake! I am not a huge lemon person, so next time I think I'll just use a vanilla icing, but the cake is just divine!!!! So springy and refreshing especially with the berries!

  7. Si!!

    My sister Sarah told me about your blog, it is so darling. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. I am so excited to cook your food. Thank you thank you!! I have missed seeing you since I moved!

    Jenny Rigby Peterson

  8. I am always skeptical of any recipe with a boxed cake as well, but like you I have a few that I love. This sounds great and it's "doctored up" nicely. I think I am going to have to give it a try! Great blog- I just joined Utah Hive and found you.

  9. Si, I made this yesterday for our Easter dessert-everyone LOVED it!
    I was surprised there was so much almond extract in it, but I guess that's one of the things that made it SO good!


    Saw this when you posted it and instantly wanted to make it.. but like someone up there, I guess the thought of buying poppyseeds intimidated me. I finally made this tonight at my sister's and it was *divine* Some of their relatives from out of state were staying over and they said it was amazing and just fantastic."The best cake I've ever had" I agree. I'll post all about it tomorrow on my blog. Of course I took pics;) Thanks for the recipe!

  11. Made this last week. Perfect recipe! Has stayed moist for a week. I would make no changes except that I would go easier on the lemon juice in my icing next time since my icing was thin but I didn't want to add anymore sugar. Still tasted incredible!

  12. I made this for my son’s 5th birthday, his request, and it turned out wonderful. The cake seemed a little dense at first but after we cut into it we discovered a light, fluffy and perfectly lemony flavored cake. It was a hit foe the whole family, even our 1 year old. Thank you ABK for sharing your wonderful recipes.

    1. Candace,
      So glad you loved the cake! This has been a favorite of ours for years as well! Happy baking and thanks for reading ABK!

  13. 5 stars
    Made this tonight for our ward picnic. It was inhaled! Great recipe. I only had less than a tablespoon of almond extract left but it was still almond-y enough! Thank you!! Love having back-pocket recipes like this winner!

    1. You’re very welcome Karen, this is such a great recipe to make for big crowds. I hardly ever have leftovers! Thanks for sharing and for reading ABK,

  14. I have a question about the recipe. In the ingredients it says 1 small 3.4 oz instant vanilla _ pudding icing ingredients. this puddingicing ingredients, is this part of the icing or part of the cake. Not sure.

    1. Hi Margaret, thank you for pointing that out, I will fix it on the recipe. The vanilla pudding mix is a part of the cake.

  15. 5 stars
    Made this for a birthday and it was a complete hit! There was not a crumb left which meant everyone loved it just as much as I did! It was easy, beautiful, and delicious! Can’t wait for a reason to use this recipe again! Thanks for sharing!