French Yoghurt Cake

May 16, 2012

Is it safe to claim the title of Queen of Lemon Cakes yet? I think my love of lemony cakes has been well established and I hope I’ve turned a few of you onto to the magic that is citrus-y baked goods in the process.

I saw this recipe in the May issue of Bon Appétit as I was flying back from Michigan one sleepy morning. Of course I knew I’d have to make it. There have been cakes with butter, cakes with cream, but not yet a lemon cake made with thick Greek yoghurt and oil. I had to try it and happily it didn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s a gorgeous cake, specked with lemon zest and packed full of flavour.

French Yoghurt Cake
from Bon Appétit, May, 2012


  • Oil, to grease pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher/coarse salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease pan with vegetable oil. Dust with flour; tap out excess.
  2. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Using your fingers, rub the lemon zest into the sugar in a large bowl until sugar is moist and fragrant. Add yoghurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients with a rubber spatula just to blend. Don’t over mix.
  4. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50–55 minutes.
  5. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack and let it cool completely. Best bit: Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate May 16, 2012 at 7:49 am

I JUST MADE THIS YESTERDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And wow, it’s pretty freaking good, isn’t it??!?! Gah. Simple as blinking an eye, too. Dangerously simple.

Great minds think alike, my dear. :-)


sarah May 16, 2012 at 8:47 am

This looks delicious! I love lemon-y cakes.


Marisa May 16, 2012 at 8:56 am

I also just made this cake! For Mother’s Day. I made Dorie Greenspan’s version and she had a variation to bake it in a 9 inch pan, cut it in half and sandwich with a layer of lemon curd and frost with whipped cream. It was a BIG hit! So great. The version I used was also slightly different from yours in that part of the flour was replaced with almond meal. She claims that *everyone* in France bakes this cake and has a version of this recipe – which is saying something because apparently most French people don’t bake much at all in favor of popping in to their local patisserie!


Eileen May 16, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Ooh, I could definitely use a thick slice of lemon yogurt cake right about now. Looks great!


Kathryn May 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

This looks just lovely.


Jessica May 17, 2012 at 9:45 am

I’m definitely going to try to make this. It looks so light and delicious and I love lemon!


atoastandtea May 25, 2012 at 4:28 pm

I just made this (and wrote a post about it) and it is lovely – so bright tasting! It is also incredibly easy, so I will be putting it in the rotation for any last minute cake-demanding occasions that arise!


Jane May 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I made this cake twice today. It’s a fantastic cake, moist, crumbly, subtle lemony flavour, with a lovely crunchy crust! It is now my number one favourite!! Thanks for sharing it.


Jen May 31, 2012 at 6:10 am

When I saw this recipe on your blog, I knew I had to try it. Boy this cake doesn’t disappoint, so yummy. And I never would have thought to use greek yogurt. Thanks for sharing!


Kayti June 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Can I freeze this or make it ahead? My father-in-law’s birthday is in three days and I’d like to make this tomorrow.


Angharad June 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Hi Kayti, I’ve recently made a chocolate cake ahead of time and froze it for several days. I’ve never done that for this particular cake though so I would do some googling to research the effectiveness of freezing this type of cake. If you do decide to freeze it, be sure to leave several hours (up to 8) for defrosting. Good luck!


Kelli July 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Yours looks fluffy and makes me want to go steal the slices I have set aside for my coworkers!


Jess May 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Made this yesterday! Really good. I left it in for the full 55 minutes on accident – I prefer my cakes a little gooey/slightly undercooked at the top so I was originally going to take it out at 50 – but it was still good! I don’t think I’ve ever made a cake recipe that involved yogurt that didn’t taste good, haha.

Next time I might do a simple glaze over the top, and/or poppyseeds! Thanks for the recipe!


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