Bursting with fresh lemon flavor, a tender crumb from a full cup of yogurt, and sweetness from maple syrup, this Lemon Yogurt Cake is the most delicious breakfast or snack—or dessert.

Sliced lemon yogurt cake on plate with berries.

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

One of my kids is a super fan of lemon baked goods, and she especially loves lemon quick breads, so this lemon cake has been in regular rotation in our house recently. It’s so easy to stir together in a bowl without any special tools, it’s crazy tender from the inclusion of a full cup of yogurt, and it’s bursting with fresh lemon flavor.

It also has the option to add a lemon glaze for more sweetness and lemon flavor. The cake can be made ahead and served for breakfast, snack, or dessert, and is such a great option for Easter brunch, Mother’s Day breakfast, or any day that you’re craving lemon deliciousness.

The cake is lightly sweetened and great paired with fresh berries such as raspberries, blueberries, or diced strawberries.

I love using Stonyfield plain yogurt here since it is mild in flavor and has the perfect creamy consistency. Plus, Stonyfield yogurt is made with high-quality organic ingredients and has a flavorful yet not-too-tangy taste. We started using it when our kids were babies, and it’s still a regular on our grocery list.

(You may also like my Yogurt Bark and Protein Banana Bread.)

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Ingredients You Need

Here’s a look at what you need to have on hand to make this recipe so you know what to get out or pick up from the store.

Ingredients for lemon yogurt cake on countertop.
  • Whole-milk plain yogurt: I use plain regular whole-milk yogurt here as the base for this yogurt cake. The whole milk adds moisture, which contributes to the final (wonderful) texture and adds protein and calcium.
  • Maple syrupMaple syrup lends sweetness to this recipe. You can also use honey (for kids over age 1) or use the same amount of granulated sugar and add 2 tablespoons milk.
  • Unsalted butter (melted and slightly cooled): I prefer to bake with unsalted butter so I can control the salt level. You’ll want to melt it and let it cool just slightly before adding it to the rest of the batter.
  • Eggs: I use large eggs in baking. This recipe works best using eggs and not an egg replacer.
  • Vanilla extract: Pure vanilla extract adds a lovely layer of flavor. You can also use artificial vanilla if that works better with your food budget.
  • All-purpose flour: I use all-purpose flour here to keep things light and fluffy. You can also use the same amount of whole wheat pastry flour.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: Using a combination of these helps to ensure the cake bakes through and rises. Be sure to use baking soda that’s fresh and active.
  • Fresh lemon and lemon zest: Using a combination of these ensures that the cake is fresh and lemony in flavor.
  • Lemon drizzle: There’s an option to make a simple glaze using confectioners sugar and lemon juice to add extra flavor.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here’s an overview of how to make this recipe so you know what to expect. Scroll down to the end of the post for the full recipe with the specific timing and amounts.

how to make lemon yogurt cake in grid of images.
  1. Whisk together the wet ingredients to make a smooth mixture. Use a fine microplane to zest the lemon, grating only the yellow exterior (not the white underneath) for the best flavor.
  2. Add the dry ingredients and stir together to make a smooth, even batter.
  3. Add to a greased loaf pan and spread evenly.
  4. Bake, covering with foil two-thirds of the way through baking to ensure the top of the loaf doesn’t overbrown.

You’ll want to let this cake cool completely, out of the pan and on a wire baking rack, before slicing. You can then add an optional drizzle.

how to make lemon yogurt cake in grid of images.

How to Store

Once cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

You can also freeze the cut cake in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in 15-second increments in the microwave.

Sliced lemon yogurt cake on plate with berries.

Best Tips for Success

  • I like using whole-milk regular yogurt in this recipe. To make this with Greek yogurt, add 2 tablespoons milk to ensure the batter isn’t too thick.
  • Gluten-free: Substitute cup-for-cup gluten-free flour in place of the wheat flour.
  • Top with Lemon Drizzle if desired: Stir together 1/4-⅓ cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
  • This is a lightly sweetened cake. To make it sweeter, add ¼ cup sugar to the batter.
  • Test the center of the loaf with a cake tester at the end of baking to ensure it comes out clean so you know it’s baked all the way through.

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Sliced lemon yogurt cake on plate with berries.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Bursting with fresh lemon flavor, a tender crumb from a full cup of yogurt, and sweetness from maple syrup, this Lemon Yogurt Cake is the most delicious breakfast or snack—or dessert.
5 from 46 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Cuisine American
Course Breakfast
Calories 184kcal
Servings 10

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-milk plain yogurt
  • cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (melted and slightly cooled)
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest

    (from one lemon)

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon Drizzle (optional; see Notes)
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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×5-inch baking pan (metal is best) with nonstick spray.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, maple syrup, butter, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Gently stir the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture.
  • Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, then cover very loosely with foil. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. (Make sure the foil is curved over the loaf pan so it doesn't touch the batter. Adding the foil ensures the loaf doesn't overbrown.)
  • Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen from the pan and carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
  • Slice, or add the Lemon Drizzle, let harden, then slice.

Notes

  • Once cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
  • You can also freeze the cut cake in a freezer bag with as much air removed as possible for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature or in 15-second increments in the microwave.
  • I like using whole-milk regular-style plain yogurt in this cake recipe. To make this with Greek yogurt, add 2 tablespoons milk to ensure the batter isn’t too thick.
  • Gluten-free: Substitute cup-for-cup gluten-free flour in place of the wheat flour.
  • Top with Lemon Drizzle if desired: Stir together 1/4-⅓ cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 184kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 182mg, Potassium: 117mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 11g, Vitamin A: 215IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 82mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was excellent – made cupcakes and the drizzle – Yum – My question is could I make this in a square brownie pan or cake pan? Temp and time ideas?

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious! I didn’t have maple syrup, so I used white sugar and I ran out of baking powder so I used a baking soda and lemon juice mixture. The texture was very nice! So good! Will make again! My husband said it was “perfect”

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious!! I’ve made this twice in 24 hours! The seater tool is a must..first time tried with a box grater that had a zester side.. picked up a zester tool today after work. Thank you!!!

  4. This may be one of the most delicious cakes ever. My entire family gobbled this up and love every single bite. I am going to try and make them as mini muffins so my kids can easily grab on the go and maybe try with whole wheat flour as well. Cannot wait to add this recipe to my weekly rotation of YTD recipes I make. Thanks for a great share!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve made this 3 times and it is absolutely delicious, but I can’t get it to rise! I’m at a little over 5,000 ft elevation, but I don’t think that’s the problem. Any ideas?

  6. Can you replace whole milk yogurt w dairy free option like So delicious coconut milk unsweetened yogurt?

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