Low-Fat Lemon Yogurt Birthday Cake

by Eve on March 6, 2012

Low-Fat Lemon Yogurt Cake

Today is my awesome hubby’s 37th birthday! I asked him what special foods he wanted on his birthday and he immediately responded with Lemon Yogurt Cake and Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy. So you know what? That’s exactly what we’re having.

I made the Lemon Yogurt Cake on Saturday and I’ll be baking it again later today. This recipe originally came from my favorite Ina Garten cookbook,Ā Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You’ll Make Over and Over Again. She made a twist on a traditional recipe and this past weekend I took her lightened recipe and made it even lighter!

Low-Fat Lemon Yogurt Cake

I used Chobani low-fat 2% Greek yogurt instead of Ina’s recommended whole milk yogurt. I also cut the oil in half by using applesauce, which did not take away from the delicious lemon flavor like I initially thought it might. I hope you try this recipe soon, I know you’ll love it. If you don’t like lemons, you can do the same with a different citrus like oranges or even grape fruit.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Low-Fat Lemon Yogurt Cake
Recipe type: Dessert, Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain low-fat 2% yogurt
  • 1⅓ cups sugar, divided
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup plain unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8½ by 4¼ by 2½-inch loaf pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the low-fat yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, applesauce, and vanilla.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the ⅓ cup lemon juice and remaining ⅓ cup sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
  6. 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 syrup mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in. Cool the cake for another 20-30 minutes.
  7. For the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and lemon juice and pour over the cake.


I used Chobani low-fat 2% Greek yogurt, but you can use whatever kind of yogurt you like. Just be sure you DO NOT use fat-free yogurt. The cake does need a small amount of fat or it will be hard and dense instead of soft and fluffy.

Make sure that the bowl for the wet ingredients is larger than the one with dry. This is because you’ll be adding the dry to the wet, so you have to be sure the bowl is big enough to handle everything once it’s mixed together. Trust me, I learned this the hard way!

Before it goes into the oven, give the loaf pan a little shake so that it settles down and doesn’t have tons of bubbles.

It will look golden brown once it comes out of the oven. Don’t freak out when it cracks in the middle. That’s just because it’s a loaf, so it will look similar to a loaf of bread when it finishes baking.

If you don’t have a baking rack to put over the baking sheet, you can easily use the rack from your toaster oven if you have one. If you don’t have a toaster oven, just improvise by putting a few spoons upside down over the baking sheet and gently lay the loaf over the spoons. What you want to do is just raise the cake up a little so that when you add the lemon syrup and glaze, the cake doesn’t absorb everything at the bottom. If you don’t raise it up a little, you’ll end up with wet gooey cake and nobody likes that. (unless it’s soaked in rum of course!)

To serve, I added a little lemon zest and topped with vanilla ice cream {not pictured}. Now that is a grown-up birthday cake, y’all.


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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsay @ Chobani March 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Happy Birthday to your hubby! He must be a smart man to request a zesty lemon yogurt cake šŸ˜‰ Our creamy 2% sure does add a ‘lil special something to this moist & fluffy cake. Thanks for including us in your kitchen, and please feel free to email me if ya ever need a fresh supply– birthday or no birthday!
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Eve March 7, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Thank you, Lindsay! He really is smart, this cake is delish. And I just might take you up on that!


Jess March 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm

This looks divine.
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Eve March 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I was surprised he didn’t want chocolate, but I was happy with this choice. It really is delish!


Jackie March 6, 2012 at 8:02 pm

How delicious! I do love lemon cakes… or lemon anything really.
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Eve March 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Me too! Have you tried the lemon wafer cookies from Whole Foods? They’re to die for.


Jackie March 7, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Sadly we don’t have a Whole Foods near me. I think that the closest one is about 1 1/2 – 2 hrs away.
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Eve March 7, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Oh no! A true lemon lover needs to try these. Send me your address to beautifulspitup@yahoo.com. I’ll hook you up.


Twitter: vanitacyril
March 7, 2012 at 1:52 am

not only does this look awesome, but i have all these ingredients at home NOW. just wonderful. passing the recipe along to my oldest. Thanks Eve
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Eve March 7, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Sweet! Let me know how it goes if she makes it.


Hubby March 9, 2012 at 10:52 am

My wife’s Lemon Cake is my favorite!


gin March 29, 2012 at 6:26 am

I am so behind reading this blog and I wish I was not because I would’ve known about this cake sooner! It looks AMAZING!
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Eve April 2, 2012 at 8:34 am

You should totally try it. It’s delish!!


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