lemon yogurt olive oil cake

My birthday was yesterday, so tonight I’m having a little birthday dinner with my family. I decided to cook my own dinner rather than going out. I like a tradition I’ve noticed at a few food blogs of making an elaborate cake for one’s own birthday – most days in life do not call for elaborate cakes, but one’s birthday seems an appropriate excuse to make just the cake one would enjoy the most, right?

This cake is by no means elaborate, but it has a gorgeous, bright lemon flavor. One can’t really talk about cake and health in the same sentence, but with olive oil and tangy Greek yogurt, this is certainly healthier than the buttercream-laden grocery store concoctions I loved so much (so much!) at birthdays as a child. And my adult palate finds it way more enjoyable.

I sampled some before dinner (it’s my birthday cake; I’ll eat it whenever I please!), and I can say it is a perfect complement to a cup of afternoon coffee. It would also be an easy dessert to bring to any bbqs you may be attending this weekend – I know citrus is really a winter food, but it also seems summery and refreshing (like lemonade!). Not only is this cake easy to make (no mixer required!), but it is also easy to transport and not too messy to eat standing up. Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Lemon Yogurt Olive Oil Cake

I don’t have a lot of notes to add here – I used Greek yogurt with 2% fat (I’m sure 0% would work as well) and a pure olive oil (not extra-virgin). There will be a lot of glaze, but you should use it all, as it makes the cake super moist and adds an extra lemon punch (and this is a very lemony cake, so “punch” is an appropriate descriptor here).


For cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (~2 lemons)
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup olive oil (plus extra for greasing pan)
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For glaze:
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (~3 lemons)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 177 C. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into the bottom of a loaf pan. Oil and flour the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Place the 1 cup sugar and lemon zest into a large bowl. Work the zest into the sugar with your fingers until the zest is evenly distributed – and it will smell amazing! Add the oil, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla extract and whisk together. Carefully fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until the streaks of flour are gone – there will still be lumps in the batter. Don’t overmix.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth with spatula. Bake in center of preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, until the cake is a lovely light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 15 minutes on a wire rack. Remove the loaf from the pan and turn right side up on the cooling rack. While the cake is still warm, place a plate or baking sheet under the rack, and brush the glaze on top of the cake (a pastry brush is ideal for this – you could also poke holes with a toothpick to help the glaze sink in). Allow to cool completely before cutting. It can be stored in an airtight container.

If you want to dress the cake up a bit to serve, some freshly made whipped cream and strawberries would get along with it very nicely. Enjoy!

Adapted from Eating for England and Smitten Kitchen

10 Comments on “lemon yogurt olive oil cake”

  1. trialsinfood says:

    This cake looks wonderful! Happy belated birthday!

  2. sugaredpecan says:

    This one is a keeper!

  3. Spoon Feast says:

    Lemon is one of those flavors I can’t get enough of. Your birthday cake looks delicious.

  4. Karista says:

    This looks so yummy and the color is so cheerful. A most lovely birthday cake!

  5. kyleen says:

    Happy belated birthday! This lemon yogurt olive oil cake looks scrumptious!

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