This homemade lemon cake is so moist, tender, soft, and delicious! Yogurt, fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice is inside the cake and in the glaze on top. This lemon cake is the best dessert for summertime or anytime.
I was *almost* not going to post this lemon cake recipe today. I was not happy with how the pictures turned out and I took my cake out of the oven just 1-2 minutes early, which resulted in the middle sinking slightly. Which, if yo know me at all, you know that I am a perfectionist when it comes to baking and how food “looks”.
But then I tasted this lemon cake and I was literally blown away. I make a lot of stuff so for something to stand out to me requires an insane amount of superior deliciousness! I hesitate even sharing this because I know you may think I am wasteful and “how could I do that” but I had to throw away this cake. I know. I know. It’s terrible. But I knew that if this cake sat in my kitchen then I would eat every last bite….. you guys, it is so good!
It’s a homemade lemon cake that’s made with yogurt which keeps the cake so moist and tender. It also has oil in it which is essential for a tender, crumb-like cake. While it’s still warm you pour this sweet yogurt lemon glaze over the top. You may be tempted to drink that glaze by the cup, but try to hold back because it’s even better when on the cake, haha 🙂
Lemon desserts just happen to be my very favorite. They’re sweet but light at the same time thanks to the bright citrus flavors. I mentioned earlier about how my cake sunk slightly in the middle which would usually mean it’s ruined, but not with this cake. The slightly underdone middle was actually my favorite part because it was just like a lemon bar! That softer, sweet, citrus filling that lemon bars have. That’s exactly what it tasted like.
I am not saying undercook it on purpose, just pointing out that if yours sinks slightly in the middle then don’t worry! If I would have kept mine in the oven for 2 minutes longer, it would have been fine. I was late picking up my daughter from preschool so I had to just take it out so I could go get her.
Tips for making lemon cake
- If wanted, you can use 1/4 cup applesauce + 1/2 cup oil. It cuts down the fat slightly. I prefer using the entire 3/4 cup oil because it yields an incredibly tender, crumb-like cake.
- You will need 4 lemon for this cake. Be sure and zest them first.
- When zesting the lemon, take care to only zest the outside yellow layer. Do not zest the white part underneath the yellow skin as that tastes really bitter.
- Here is a tip I always use when dealing with fresh citrus juice. Sometime the lemons can be hard to get the juice out of. Like if the lemon is not a “juicy” lemon. Put the lemon between the palm of your hand and the counter. Roll it on the counter while pressing down to release the juice. You will start to smell the lemon juice. This helps the juice come out of the lemon so that you will have enough for the recipe.
- If you do not have a citrus zester you can use the small holes on a cheese grater.
- You can use regular yogurt or Greek Yogurt for this recipe. I prefer using regular yogurt as I don’t care for the thickness and sour flavor of Greek yogurt. You can also use plain, vanilla or French vanilla yogurt. I used Yoplait French Vanilla yogurt when I made this lemon cake.
For more lemon dessert be sure and try out these : lemon lovers layered cake, triple layer lemon pudding pie, no bake lemon cheesecake cream pie, and my personal favorite these lemon cream crumb bars.
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (about 3 lemons)
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon plain or vanilla yogurt
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by spraying with cooking spray and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the lemon zest and sugar and lightly rub together with your fingers or a fork until well combined. This helps release the oils in the zest which helps with the lemon flavor. Add in the eggs, oil, yogurt, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix together well using a spatula, whisk, or wooden spoon.
Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. The middle should not be "jiggly" at all. It should be rounded and domed and cooked (use the toothpick to test).
While the cake is baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and pourable. Let the cake rest for 10 minutes after baking and then pour the glaze over the warm cake.
You can serve this cake warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Store leftovers covered in the fridge. It will stay moist for several days.
I tried making this cake again using lemon yogurt and I would NOT recommend it. It sounds like a great idea but the artificial lemon flavor from the yogurt was all you can taste. Stick with plain yogurt, vanilla yogurt or even French vanilla yogurt.
You can use regular yogurt or Greek yogurt. I prefer using regular yogurt as I don't like the thicker, more sour flavor of Greek yogurt.
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