Happy March everyone! The sun is finally out in Northern California after a great deal of much needed rain. I’m anticipating spring and summer produce but for now, I’m still enjoying the last of the winter citrus.
Lemons grow year round in Northern California and there is an abundant supply. Lemons add just the right amount of brightness to get us through the end of winter blues.
For this post, I am sharing one of my favorite lemon cakes. It’s made with simple ingredients such as yogurt, milk, fresh lemon juice, zest and sugar.
There are many wonderful lemon cake recipes out on the web. Ina Garten’s famous lemon cake is a classic in our house. We love to make it in the summer and serve it with raspberry coulis. I also think this recipe for lemon yoghurt cake by Allergy Girl Eats looks delicious too. It uses honey and rosemary! For this cake, I added dried ginger. It’s subtle but I think adds a hint of spice which pairs nicely with lemons. I also used pasture raised eggs and two tablespoons of lemon zest to maximize the vibrant color and flavor of lemons.
This cake is dense like a pound cake but without all the butter. Instead I used healthier fats such as olive oil, yogurt and whole milk. I also added almond flour for extra protein which lightens up the cake. A small amount of baking powder is used here so the cake doesn’t rise as much as a standard loaf. However, I love that it’s a petit loaf cake which is perfect for snacking on with tea or coffee, hence the name “lemon tea cake”.
If you are allergic to nuts, I’ve made this version successfully by replacing almond flour with all purpose flour and adjusting to a longer bake time. Either way, it produces a dense but tender cake.
You can eat this cake unglazed but the glaze makes a small amount, enough to lightly coat the cake while adding a triple hit of lemon. Plus it comes together so quickly that it’s a must!
Free From: peanut & sesame. *Nut free option–See Notes below
For the cake:
- 2 tablespoon grated fresh lemon zest (about 4 lemons)
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup almond flour.*See Notes
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten 1 at a time
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup full fat plain yogurt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil* See Notes
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon water, room temperature
Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a standard 8 1/2 x 4 1/4 loaf pan with parchment paper.
Using a microplane, zest lemon into sugar. Use your hands to mix well and distribute oils from the zest. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients together; flours, baking powder, salt and ginger. Set aside.
In a medium size measuring cup or bowl, mix wet ingredients: eggs, milk, yogurt, vanilla, lemon juice and olive oil. Whisk in sugar/lemon zest mixture. Incorporate together well.
Pour into loaf pan. Tap a few times to release any air bubbles. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until light golden brown on top and edges pull away from sides.
While cake is baking, prepare glaze. Using a small whisk or fork, mix sugar and lemon juice together. Add water. It should be pourable.
Let cool in loaf pan for at least ten minutes. Remove and cool on baking rack.
Let cool completely before glazing. If your bread is warm, glaze will not adhere properly.
Once cool, pour glaze on top, letting drip onto sides. Glaze will harden. Slice. Enjoy!
- For a nut free lemon cake, substitute 3/4 cup almond flour with 3/4 all purpose flour. Bake for 65-75 minutes or until center is firm and toothpick inserted into the middle is clean or with a few crumbs. Sides should pull away and top should be lightly golden.
- Use a light, neutral tasting olive oil
* If you make this recipe, tag me on Instagram or send me a comment! I love hearing from you!