lemon yogurt cake with cranberries

lemon-cranberry yogurt cake

The day after I wrote about the delicious Korean pancake, I came down with the cold to end all colds. And 12 days since the day I fell sick, I am still dealing with its remnants, which manifest themselves in pressure in my sinuses so bad, I have an upper jaw toothache. The same cold that managed to make me cough up a lung, develop a case of nasty pink eye, that very same cold has been unresponsive to antibiotics and other medicine. I’m seeing my doctor today again for hopefully stronger meds – I should be getting frequent flier miles there. I’ve used up numerous tissues and might be on the government’s special monitor list for buying too many decongestants. I swear, I’m not making anything out of them!


And so without a doubt, this long weekend was to be spent at home, recuperating and gaining my strength back. My boss also asked me to babysit her two pugs for a day, and while the dogs are very cute and friendly, I must say, I am a large dog person after all. For one reason or another, we couldn’t leave the pugs at home to take a walk outside – one of the dogs looked as if he was going to have a heart attack when he realized we might be leaving. So I sent KS off to watch the new Indiana Jones, while I puttered around the kitchen. We had some lemons left over and some yogurt I had to put to some good use in order not to throw it out, and so I once again, relied on Ina Garten’s recipe for her lemon yogurt cake, which I have made with blood oranges and Deb over at Smitten Kitchen made with grapefruit and other citrus things.

I omitted the glaze from my cake because I find that glazes generally ruin baked goods for me. I dislike glazed cakes the same way I dislike frosted cookies – I find them overly sweet. Without the glaze, the cake is a wonderful morning accompaniment to coffee, or stands as a snack on its own. And were I to make any other enhancements, I would say, use about half the oil the recipe asks for and you will wind up with a lovely, moist, seductively-scented cake. I can’t resist lemons in anything – and with the sun shining and the warm weather finally settling in, this lemon cake just makes me want to grin from ear to ear.

lemony decadence

Of course, no cake of this nature for me would be replete without cranberries, as I like a little bit of tartness in the otherwise sweet dough. As some of you might know, each November, I buy about 6 bags of cranberries, use about 2-3 bags on the holiday itself, and then freeze the remaining 3 bags. They last me about a year and make a fantastic addition to things like pumpkin bread, apple pie and the above creation.

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa

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 confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Gr

ease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 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.

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.

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.

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

Note: I find the glaze to be overly sweet and it ruins the cake for me, but I realize that most people enjoy glaze on their cake. So I kept it as part of the recipe, but omitted it on my cake.


  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    This yogurt cake is one of my very favorite Barefoot recipes. I generally don’t glaze it, either — the cake is rich enough without the added sweetness of the glaze. The cranberries are a nice touch.

  • EB

    Too funny– same as you I’ve been battling this crappy ass cold (which left me voiceless) for almost a full 2 weeks. The only thing that made me feel better after a full week and a half was to get in the kitchen and cook. I rocked ice cream because it made my throat feel better. Sicko *ahem* side-effects be damned.
    I’m impressed that you were up for baking! This looks like a perfect snack to have with yet another mug of tea.
    Feel better!

  • Dana

    I love the sweet-tart combination going on here. This looks really delicious. Sorry to hear you’ve been sick — UGH!

  • radish

    EB – the ice cream looks wonderful – hope you feel better. My cold has morphed into a sinus infection that is now hurting my teeth – fun! I am however mobile and feel good generally, so happy about that.
    Dana – thank you for the sympathies – the cake is a cinch to make and tastes great. I would urge to use half the oil in the recipe though – the cake tastes better that way. I’m also curious to try using olive oil and see how the taste will change.

  • Christine

    Man, I never comment here, but as someone who is apparently trying to kill down the same craptastic cold as you, you have my empathy.
    It’s been eight days here straight and I was sick for a couple of days two weeks before this one set in. Bah. My total and complete empathy. Let’s hope it isn’t much longer for either of us.
    I am jealous though as I was not wise enough to save any cranberries from fall and so this cake will not be nearly as tasty. As I also love tart…maybe I’ll give it a go with some chopped rhubarb for my tart fix. Or maybe I’ll just be lazy and live vicariously.
    Feel better!

  • Y

    I love that picture of the cranberries bobbing in the cake mix. Hope you have managed to feel better since. Cake usually helps :)

  • Joy

    Oh my goodness! So sick! This post is a few days old and I can only hope you’re feeling better these days! You cranberry cake looks absolutely divine! I love how the fresh cranberries float to the top creating a lice topper. No need for glaze at all!

  • radish

    Christine – after a second course of antibiotics (avilox rocks!) I am feeling better. I might even go for a run tomorrow! I hope you are better as well! I like the idea of rhubarb – let me know if you get to it. And thank you for commenting.
    Y – also thank you for the good thoughts, I am feeling MUCH better.
    Joy – I agree, the berries look cute that way! I’m hopefully going to bake something soon again. Maybe tomorrow.
    Sorry it took me SO long to get to your comments – work has been 14-16 hour days this week and I had absolutely no time to even make tea, let alone cook a meal (i had my meals at work!)

  • Cynthia

    Can’t wait to try this. I love this combo, which is why I even opt for those crap, crappy excuses for scones at Starbucks.

  • Shi

    Hi there!
    I have made Ina’s Lemon Yogurt Cake and it was very good! Everyone loved it! I can’t wait to try your version of the Lemon Yogurt Cake! Btw, how much cranberries did you put into your cake? Are they fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries? I didn’t see it in your recipe.

  • radish

    hi Shi, i used roughly 3/4 cup to 1 cup of cranberries. I’m a huge fan of a bite of tart in my baked goods. I hope you like it as well!

  • Cara

    hey, I’m a songwriter turned baker for the day! My Dada is super picky and its his B-day Nov.30th I told him to pick some key ingredients, like they do on those cooking shows, and I would make him something new and exciting. I can’t wait to try this recipe. I will let you know what my picky father has to say about it too! Wishing myself luck ;)

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