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 absolutely delicious and my new favorite loaf cake. It will be a hit in any household, EVEN if, like me, you somehow forgot to add the maple syrup. (Oops.) Spreading a bit of creamed honey on it was magical (as was homemade lemon curd). This will be a regular visitor in our breadbox.

  2. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe 5x since I saw it posted on Instagram. It’s loved by both my husband and my toddler. So so good and super easy to make

  3. 5 stars
    Very easy to make and delicious ! My toddler and husband both enjoyed it. My husband couldn’t believe how moist it was.

  4. Easy and good! I even forgot to put 2 ingredients in (toddler distracting) and I ended up adding them into the baking dish! Loved that I had all the ingredients already. Wondering if I could add brown sugar.

  5. Great recipe ! Thanks Amy. Can dress it up for a special occasion (Easter) yet simple enough for any day! Yummy and simple

  6. 5 stars
    So delicious! I soaked with a lemon drizzle and it was so moist, I could have eaten the whole thing! Big hit with the kids too! Will definitely be making again.

  7. 5 stars
    Made this for Easter and it was perfect. Not too sweet and just the right amount of lemon. Best part – enjoying leftovers through the week.

  8. Was really excited to make this today, but I clearly must have done something wrong (there was toddler help involved…). Cake ended up sinking and being very dense; almost custard-like. Delicious flavor, so will try again. Any thoughts as to what went wrong?

    1. Oh no! The only reason I know of that would result in that is if the baking soda didn’t activate, which can happen if it’s not fresh. I hope that helps!

    1. For standard muffins, I would do 375 degrees F for about 14 minutes. For minis, same temp and 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!

  9. 5 stars
    So easy to make with ingredients I already had in the house. My lemon loving grandkids loved it and I was happy that it was nutritious as well as delicious. It was one of the options for Easter Brunch!

    1. I haven’t made it that way, but I would reduce the amount a little to ensure that the cake isn’t dry. Or add 2-3 tbsp milk.

  10. 5 stars
    Big hit at our preschool playdate. Kids and adults both loved it! As for the lemon zest, I did need 2-2.5 lemons to get the full 2T of lemon zest, so keep that in mind when prepping your ingredients.

    1. Hi- I haven’t tested it that way and I suspect it might not bake through properly. Maybe check the King Arthur Flour website to see if they have a recommendation for how to sub cake flour for all purpose in recipes. Enjoy!

    1. I haven’t but I bet it would work well. I usually do 375 degrees F with 1/4 cup batter for each standard size muffin, then bake for 14-16 minutes.