Lemon Yogurt Cake

 

low-fat-lemon-yogurt-cake

The Dude Diet remains on hiatus this week as Logan is still crushing South America. Despite our “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, I know he’s getting weird down there, and I am in the process of coming up with a Beach Body Blitz program that will be instituted immediately upon Logan’s return. In the Dude’s absence, I thought I’d take the opportunity to talk about the original love of my life…wassup, MOM?

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I think it’s important to put the following message out into the universe: I love my mom, and I appreciate her for being the incredibly badass woman that she is. Considering the fact that we live approximately 80 blocks from each other, I don’t see my mom nearly as much as I’d like. This is obviously because we both lead very busy and important lives (and neither of us has really figured out the subway). Despite this physical separation, I feel like my mom is always with me. Not in a creepy ghost-like way, but more in the way that I think about her when something particularly funny happens, or when I see something beautiful she would love, and every morning when I look in the mirror and know she would hate what I’m wearing and then feel obligated to change.

Reflecting on my relationship with my mom, I feel incredibly lucky. Sure, we bicker and we annoy the crap out of each other from time to time, but overall, we have an incredibly strong bond. She is also responsible for most of the smart life decisions that I’ve made. In fact, she’s the one who pushed me to stay at Le Cordon Bleu and get my diploma, so she’s basically the reason you’re reading this blog. I’ll pass along your thanks.

In the spirit of appreciating our mothers this Sunday, I’ve compiled a list of some of my mom’s best attributes…

10 Reasons My Mom is Awesome:

  1. She thinks that food is a cure-all. Cakes will help with depression. A really good trail mix will save you from starving to death if you keep it in your purse. Mashed potatoes will help if you think you may have swallowed glass. (Don’t worry, it turns out I did not actually swallow glass in the aforementioned scenario, but you see my point.) I am 100% on board with this philosophy.
  2. She gives really good hugs. This is an undervalued skill. Bad huggers are the worst.
  3. She believes in wearing full pajama sets. And she will regularly rock said pjs until past noon during the week and all day on weekends. It’s a look. Thanks to her, I own approximately 67 of my own pajama sets.
  4. She has unbelievable personal style. My mother is the best-dressed woman alive. This stylistic flair has been mildly uncomfortable at times (i.e. the time she wore leather pants to my parents’ day in high school), but it has mostly worked in my favor. I’m very grateful for having had her style me for the past 26 years. Without her help I might still be wearing Juicy Jumpsuits and showing as much cleavage as possible.
  5. She is hilarious. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
  6. She is honest. This is an incredibly rare quality these days. You can always count on my mom to tell it like it is. I respect this, even when I really don’t want to know how she “honestly” feels about my haircut/relationship/exercise habits.
  7. She’s super hot. Thank God. This means (if everything goes according to plan) that I will age like a goddess.
  8. She brags about her kids behind their backs. Each of my siblings has always thought that a different child was my mom’s favorite. I’ve realized that this is just because we are privy to my Mom gushing to strangers over whatever kid is not present. Example, “This is my daughter Serena. [Insert pleasantries.] Elliot, my prince, is at Penn. He’s very charming.” However, my brother informed me that she is always bragging about me to people when she’s with him. I’m sure she does it with my sister too. I love this. Thanks for bragging about me mom, I brag about you too.
  9. She stands up for what she believes in. Even when the odds are stacked against her. I think I admire this quality the most. My mom is a tough bitch.
  10. She believes in me. I can’t express how grateful this self-employed blogger/aspiring international celebrity is for the support.

As you can see, my mom is the bomb. Therefore, I’ve been racking my brain all week trying to figure out what to get her for Mother’s Day. My Mom is probably the hardest woman on the planet to shop for, and I’ve been understandably panicky about finding a present. Then I remembered something that she said to me when I was younger regarding Mother’s Day: ”Just make me something and get me a nice card.” Do a Lemon Yogurt Cake and a blog post count?

low-fat-lemon-yogurt-cake

My mom loves lemon-flavored things, so I figured that a lemon cake would probably be my best bet for this particular baked present. I wanted something a little more exciting than a traditional lemon pound cake, so I decided to go the yogurt cake route. This lemon yogurt cake is one of the best lemon cakes I’ve ever tasted. The cake itself is dense and incredibly moist (sorry for using that word), and it’s a far cry from the many dry, bland lemon cakes that I have sampled over the years. I had to call in an outsider to taste this cake yesterday because I couldn’t quite put my finger on the texture. She nailed it instantly, saying the center was almost like a bread pudding. (Thanks, Lara.)

I used non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt in this recipe, which was a game-changer. I substituted extra yogurt for the oil in the original recipe, and I’m pleased to report that it was a truly inspired idea. The cake remained just as delicious and spongey without any of the fat. This is good news for everyone, since cake eating doesn’t seem to mesh well with beach season.

My mother’s biggest complaint about lemon cakes is that they’re too sweet and they aren’t lemony enough. I’m banking on this cake avoiding that criticism since it involves both lemon syrup and lemon glaze. Poking holes in the top of the cake makes sure that the syrup really penetrates, and this masterpiece is bursting with lemon flavor. It’s the perfect balance of tart and sweet.

low-fat-lemon-yogurt-cake

I’ve mentioned many times that baking isn’t really my thing. Therefore, trust me when I say that this cake is pretty easy to throw together. You don’t need seven bowls and a fancy mixer for this bad boy, just a can-do attitude and an appreciation for lemons. I like to serve this with some fresh berries, but you could also throw some raspberry sorbet or ice cream on top, or just eat it on its own. Serve it at brunch or tea or slather some jam on it for breakfast. It tastes even better after being refrigerated, so it’s the perfect make-ahead option. I highly suggest making it tomorrow and eating it with your mom this Sunday. Happy Mother’s Day, friends!

Lemon Yogurt Cake: (Serves 8)
Ingredients:
For the cake:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 eggs
1 ½ cups non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt (regular yogurt is fine too)
For the lemon syrup:
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup lemon juice
For the glaze:
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
2½ tbsp lemon juice

Preparing your Lemon Yogurt Cake:

*Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

-Line an 8½ inch loaf pan with parchment. (This will keep the bottom of your cake from burning. If you don’t have parchment, don’t flip out. You’ll probably be fine without it, but I would suggest placing your loaf pan on top of a sheet pan when baking to be safe.) Grease and flour the pan.

-Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice, eggs, and yogurt.

low-fat-lemon-yogurt-cake-step-by-step-recipe -Little by little, whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they are all incorporated.

-Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan.

low-fat-lemon-yogurt-cake-step-by-step-recipe

-Bake your cake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick/fork comes out clean.

-While your cake is in the oven, prepare the lemon syrup. Place ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup lemon juice in a pan and let cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

-When you take your cake out of the oven, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Poke several holes in the cake using a fork/toothpick. I’m talking a lot of holes, people. The more holes in the cake, the more the lemon syrup will soak into the cake. Pour the lemon syrup over the top of the cake. It should seep into the holes and around the sides of the pan. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for another 10 minutes.

low-fat-lemon-yogurt-cake-step-by-step-recipe -Carefully remove the cake from the pan and place it on a baking rack over parchment or a sheet pan. Allow it to cool completely.

low-fat-lemon-yogurt-cake-step-by-step-recipe

-For the glaze, whisk the lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake.

low-fat-lemon-yogurt-cake-step-by-step-recipe

*If you would like to decorate with candied lemon slices. Bring ¼ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a boil. Add the lemon slices and lower to a simmer. Simmer until the lemons rinds become translucent (about 10-15 minutes). Drain and cool. Place on top of cake in an artsy way.

low-fat-lemon-yogurt-cake-step-by-step-recipe

-Slice and serve your cake. I like to throw some fresh berries on top because it looks fancy and I like lemon-flavored things with berries. Who doesn’t?

low-fat-lemon-yogurt-cake

*I find that this cake tastes even better after being refrigerated for at least a few hours. Do with that what you will.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Yield: 8

Ingredients

  • For the cake:
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt (regular yogurt is fine too)
  • For the lemon syrup:
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • For the glaze:
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2½ tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line an 8½ inch loaf pan with parchment. (This will keep the bottom of your cake from burning. If you don’t have parchment, don’t flip out. You’ll probably be fine without it, but I would suggest placing your loaf pan on top of a sheet pan when baking to be safe.) Grease and flour the pan.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium-sized bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, lemon zest, 2 tbsp lemon juice, eggs, and yogurt.
  4. Little by little, whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until they are all incorporated.
  5. Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan.
  6. Bake your cake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick/fork comes out clean.
  7. While your cake is in the oven, prepare the lemon syrup. Place ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup lemon juice in a pan and let cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
  8. When you take your cake out of the oven, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Poke several holes in the cake using a fork/toothpick. I’m talking a lot of holes, people. The more holes in the cake, the more the lemon syrup will soak into the cake. Pour the lemon syrup over the top of the cake. It should seep into the holes and around the sides of the pan. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for another 10 minutes.
  9. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and place it on a baking rack over parchment or a sheet pan. Allow it to cool completely.
  10. For the glaze, whisk the lemon juice and confectioner’s sugar until smooth. Pour over the top of the cake.
  11. If you would like to decorate with candied lemon slices. Bring ¼ cup sugar and ½ cup water to a boil. Add the lemon slices and lower to a simmer. Simmer until the lemons rinds become translucent (about 10-15 minutes). Drain and cool. Place on top of cake in an artsy way.
  12. Slice and serve your cake. I like to throw some fresh berries on top because it looks fancy and I like lemon-flavored things with berries. Who doesn’t?

Notes

I find that this cake tastes even better after being refrigerated for at least a few hours.

http://domesticate-me.com/lemon-yogurt-cake/

 

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  • Looks fantastic!

  • London calling

    Great and easy to make, endless compliments for this when I made it so thank you!

    • Serena_Wolf

      Amazing! I love to hear that!

  • Lipika

    Hi Serena!
    This cake looks Lemony!!!
    Cant wait to try it right NOW!
    Just one question tough – No butter or oil???
    Thanks

    • Serena_Wolf

      Hi Lipika- I actually replaced butter and oil in this recipe with Greek yogurt! It makes for a slightly denser cake, but it’s delicious and so much healthier. Hope you try it!

  • I’m making this now but as much as I bake, which is considerable, I realize I don’t really know how to measure yogurt or sour cream properly. Is the right way to use a dry or wet measure? Thanks, Serena!

    • Serena_Wolf

      Tess, love the afternoon baking! I actually just used a dry measure for the yogurt, which I find is easiest (since it’s rather solid). Let me know how it turns out!

      • It was terrific! My guests all loved it, as did I. I even candied the lemon slices and served it with blueberries and raspberries. It is amazing how moist this cake is without butter or oil. You are a true food genius!

        • Serena_Wolf

          Hahaha, thank you, Tess! I love hearing your success stories! And way to go the extra mile with the candied lemon slices. I’m sure your guests thought you were a goddess.

  • Melinda VN

    I was going to make this for Easter, but I only have plain Greek yogurt. Will that work or should I definitely get the vanilla?

    • Serena_Wolf

      You can definitely use plain Greek yogurt! The cake will be slightly less sweet, but it will still be awesome. You can also add half a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract to the mix if you have it.

      • Melinda VN

        Worked like a charm! I added the vanilla to the yogurt and then also added a little honey to the yogurt too to make it a bit sweeter. Came out great thank you!

  • Kris

    Hi,

    Great recipe , can’t wait to try it out. I love the fact that this is a low fat recipe. But is there a way to make it less dense or pudding like at the center ?

    Thanks!

    • Serena_Wolf

      Hi Kris- So, the cake itself is dense, but it’s not actually pudding-like in the center (so no need to worry about that). Unfortunately, because this is essentially a pound cake, it’s not really something that can be transformed into a light/airy cake. However, you could try replacing the AP flour with cake flour, which would definitely lighten things up at least slightly!

  • Lauren

    Making this for Mother’s Day. Thanks Serena!

    • Serena_Wolf

      Hope it was a great success! xo

  • Cindy

    Could your replace the oil for applesauce?and Use cake flour instead of using regular flour

    • Serena_Wolf

      Hi Cindy- You can definitely replace the cake flour for regular flour. (It will make the cake slightly less dense.) There’s actually no oil in the recipe, so no need for applesauce!

  • Bangalore Florist

    I am so excited to make this recipe
    Cakes to Jalandhar