I think I’ve made this cake about 4 or 5 times over the past year.  It was the One, the first baked good that made me feel like a competent oven user.  Prior attempts at making cookies, cakes, and pies left me feeling defeated and mostly discouraged (“Mm… this is very biscuit-like”  “It’s good if you pour some of the juice out of it”).  Luckily, I was directed to Smitten Kitchen, the first and probably only blog I still read consistently, and my baking woes came to an end…. most of the time…. I’ve tried many recipes from this blog, but the grapefruit yogurt cake is probably my most favorite one to make.  It’s simple, straightforward, and always yields a superior moist product.  I reduced some of the measurements from the original recipe, specifically for the sugar and vegetable oil.  Still came out great!  There’s also a Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake, probably identical recipes except for the citrus fruit, but I’m too lazy to compare ingredients/methods.  Sorry.  For whatever reason, I forgot that these two existed on the same website and so the entire time I was cooking my cake, I was referring to the grapefruit recipe instead of the lemon one.  Like I said unintentional and probably no difference at all.  Moving on.

Pictured above is one of my many thousands upon thousands of food blog fans.  Her eyes are blocked out to protect her privacy.  I don’t want her public life to suffer as a result of her private struggle with self-control.  I mean, clearly.  She couldn’t even wait for this photo to be taken before lunging for her piece. Tsk tsk.


1 1/2c unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt (regular worked for me as well)

1c plain whole-milk yogurt (can replace with buttermilk)

1/2- 3/4c sugar plus 1 tbsp sugar

3 large eggs

3 tsp lemon zest

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/3c vegetable oil

1/3c fresh squeezed lemon juice


A grater

2 mixing bowls

A baking pan

How to Make:

Preheat oven to 350C.  In one bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt.  In the other, combine the sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla extract.  Mix until homogeneous.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients a little at a time, making sure to mix evenly.  Add vegetable oil and “fold” into the batter (basically I just tried to lift the batter up along the sides until the oil was no longer its own layer in the mixing bowl).  Pour into the baking pan .  Bake 50-60 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick into the center of the cake and it comes out clean.

Cook 1 tbsp sugar in 1/3c lemon juice until all sugar has dissolved.  Set aside.  When the cake is fully cooked, let cool a few minutes and then pour the lemon juice/sugar mixture over the top.

There’s a recipe for glaze on the Smitten Kitchen website if you’re into that.  Also, I have in the past accidentally added the citrus juice to the batter itself before baking, and the cake still turned out very good.  Good luck!