Lemon Cake Recipe

Versions of this simple cake are made all over Italy, to be eaten at breakfast with coffee or tea. Similar to pound cake, this cake differs mainly in that the fat used is olive oil instead of butter, which, surprisingly, results in a cake with an even richer and more unctuous character. Yogurt adds a subtle tang. Use your best extra-virgin olive oil.

1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Step 1: Put oven rack in centre position and heat oven to 325°F. Lightly oil a 9” springform pan.

Step 2: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

Step 3: With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl on high speed for 5 minutes, or until pale and thick. Add yogurt and zest; beat to combine. With mixer on medium speed, add oil in a quick, steady stream. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture just until blended. Whisk batter by hand to make sure that all ingredients are incorporated.

Step 4: Pour batter into pan. Bake, rotating pan once, until cake is golden, centre springs back to the touch, and edges pull away from pan, 40-45 minutes. Let cool in pan for a minute or two on rack, then release from pan and let cool completely on rack before slicing.

Flavour tip: Whether you are baking or making a sauce or salad dressing, capture the flavourful oil that lies just beneath the peel of a lemon, lime, or orange by zesting the citrus directly into the bowl with the other ingredients.

Reprinted with permission from Olives & Oranges by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox (2008 Houghton Mifflin Company).