Preparation Time: 10 - 20 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Moist and delectably lemony, this little cake is sure to please the citrus lovers. Not too light and yet not dense, this cake is a great summertime dessert and would be welcome as part of an Easter or Passover dinner. Consider drizzling with a berry sauce (blackberry, blueberry and red raspberry are recommended) and serving with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or Reddi-Whip.
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt (can also use 2% Greek yogurt, if you must)
- 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided (or an equal amount of Splenda or Truvia (see note))
- 3 extra large eggs (or equivalent amount of Egg Beaters)
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup canola oil (or other neutrally flavored oil)
- 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the Glaze (Optional):
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 2 1/2" loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease the paper and flour the pan.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the yogurt, oil, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and sugar until well-blended.
Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until the dry ingredients disappear. Do NOT overmix or else your cake might end up too dense or it may collapse during baking!
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 - start checking the cake at about 40 or 45 minutes, depending on how hot your oven bakes. I use convection baking for cakes and they tend to be done anywhere between 5 - 10 minutes before the listed time in my recipes.
While the cake is baking, make the lemon syrup. Cook the 1/3 cup of lemon juice and the remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack that has been placed over a sheet pan or a piece of waxed paper. Take a thin skewer or a cake tester to poke small holes into the cake; the lemon syrup will penetrate deeply into the cake, allowing it to infuse a rich lemony flavor. Gently spoon the lemon syrup over the top of the cake. Let the cake cool completely before slicing and serving.
If you are using the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake - however, this cake is so good with just the lemon syrup, it doesn't really need the glaze...but of course, it's up to you!
This cake gets a nutritional boost from the addition of Greek yogurt; 1 cup of the yogurt I used provides roughly 46 grams of protein. That translates to about 3 - 4 grams of protein per slice.
You can also reduce the amount of refined sugar in this recipe by omitting the glaze and substituting Splenda or Truvia for the sugar in the lemon syrup. 8 packets of Truvia equals 1/3 cup sugar. If you desire, you can reduce the amount of refined sugar even more by using Splenda for Baking or the new Truvia for Baking. Make sure to follow the package directions so you substitute the correct amount.
Should you need to make this recipe gluten-free, you can try using your favorite gluten-free flour blend (at your own risk) to do so. Keep in mind you will probably have to reduce your oven temperature or adjust your baking times accordingly, or both. I don't specialize in gluten-free baking, so I cannot testify as to what the final result may be.