Winter Cake with Lemon and Orange


In the thick of winter break, my home a literal war zone of nerf guns, sweaty socks, pillow forts and forgotten granola bar wrappers, I decided there was only one way to survive: lock my beloved children out of the house for a few minutes and go to my happy place.

So that’s exactly what I did. I shooed them out the door with their nerf guns and pogo sticks and promised a yummy snack in a little while. I turned a blind eye to the mess swirling around me and cranked the music up loud. I set to work making a simple French-style yogurt cake from one of my tried and true favorite cookbooks; A Homemade Life.

The quiet didn’t last but two minutes before they were back running through my house, but I had found a little moment of zen, so it didn’t matter. Let them run and yell and carry on like feral monkeys. I have fresh lemon zest, a wooden spoon, tangy yogurt and an oven beeping letting me know its ready for my little creation.

This cake is special for two reasons: it’s incredible simple to make and likely have all the ingredients on hand. The other is the bright citrus flavor is perfect for these dreary January days. Pulling double duty as a lovely dessert with a little dollop of whipped cream and a few raspberries or as a decadent breakfast treat, this cake is exactly what you need.

I used orange and lemon zest in the batter for extra flavor. Just lemon or just orange would be lovely too. You could even get really wild and go with grapefruit. I used a 9-inch round cake pan but a loaf pan works too. You might have to adjust your baking time a little. You know the cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.


Winter Cake with Lemon and Orange

·         1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

·         2 teaspoons baking powder

·         Pinch of salt

·         2 teaspoons lemon zest

·         2 teaspoons orange zest (save orange for garnish)

·         ½ cup plain whole-milk OR Greek yogurt

·         1 cup sugar

·         3 large eggs

·         ½ cup vegetable oil

·         ¼ cup powdered sugar

·         ¼ cup lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with butter or cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar and eggs stirring well. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and fruit zest. Whisk until combined. Add the oil and stir well. At first it might look like the oil won’t absorb into the batter, but it does! Just keep stirring.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes until the cake is lightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice and powdered sugar together. Pop the cake out of the pan after it has cooled for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert the cake so it sits upright. Spoon the lemon syrup over the top of the cake allowing the cake to absorb the liquid. If some runs down the sides or edges, that’s fine.

Garnish the cake with orange zest and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Serve warm if possible.