Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake

updated Apr 21, 2020
Lemon Yogurt Cake
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lemon yogurt cake
Credit: Quentin Bacon

Despite my reputation for starting all my recipes with a pound of butter, I really do look for ways to make desserts lighter. When I came across a delicious yogurt cake by cookbook author Dorie Greenspan, I decided to see if I could update my favorite lemon cake with her method of using yogurt and vegetable oil instead of butter. Not only is it good for you, but you don’t even need an electric mixer to make it!

Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home is Kitchn’s April pick for our Cookbook Club. See how you can participate here.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

Makes1 loaf

Nutritional Info


  • 1 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 cup

    plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 1 1/3 cups

    sugar, divided

  • 3

    extra-large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons

    grated lemon zest (2 lemons)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup

    vegetable oil

  • 1/3 cup

    freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup

    confectioner's sugar

  • 2 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into one bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it’s all incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

  3. Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.

  4. When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool.

  5. For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.

Recipe Notes

Reprinted from Barefoot Contessa at Home. Copyright © 2006 by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, Penguin Random House). Photographs © 2006 by Quentin Bacon.

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