Yogurt Cake with Lemon, Olive oil, and Lemon Liqueur

Light and aromatic, it is the perfect dessert that my mother used to make. In our family it was simply called Tou Yiaourtiou (the one with yogurt), to distinguish with another, more elaborate festive dessert my mother and aunts prepared with store-bought lady-finger cookies and a heavy margarine-based cream –butter was not a common ingredient in Greece then. I use lemons from my garden and I suggest you seek organic lemons for this and my other recipes. If you cannot find organic lemons, wash your lemons thoroughly.

Bake it the day before you plan to serve it so the flavors can completely infuse the cake.


Serves 12


For the cake

2/3 cup light olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons for greasing pan

3 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs, separated

1 cup sugar

Fine zest of 4 lemons

1 cup thick yogurt

1/2 cup lemon juice


For the lemon syrup and the topping


1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/3 cup water

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup home made Lemon Liqueur or any citrus-flavored liqueur

1 cup home made Lemon Marmalade or any citrus marmalade

1/2 cup toasted almonds, coarsely ground


Preheat oven to 375°F.
Brush a round spring form pan with oil and cut a disk of parchment paper to cover base. Brush the paper with oil.
In a large bowl stir together the flour, the baking soda and the salt. Set aside.

Using a standing mixer, or hand-held mixer and a stainless-steel bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Set aside. Do not rinse the beaters yet.

In another bowl, using the un-rinsed beaters, mix the egg yolks and the sugar until creamy. Add the olive oil, the lemon zest and the yogurt, and beat until incorporated.

Add half of the flour mixture and work briefly to incorporate then add the remaining flour and the lemon juice.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the beaten egg whites into batter, working until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and even the top with a spatula.

Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool 15 minutes on a rack.


Make the Syrup: While cake bakes, in a small saucepan combine the lemon juice, the water and the sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.

When the cake is cool enough to handle but still warm, invert it onto a serving platter, peel off the paper and prick the surface all over with a toothpick. Using a spoon, douse the cake with syrup, making sure you cover the surface evenly.


Sprinkle with the lemon liqueur, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand until it is completely cold. Spread the lemon marmalade over the cake, and, if you like, sprinkle with toasted almonds. Cover and let stand at room temperature a few hours or overnight before cutting to serve.




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