Lemon Yogurt Cake - Spanish Sabores

Lemon Yogurt Cake

If you’re a fan of quick and easy desserts that you cannot mess up — this is your cake! The easiest lemon yogurt cake recipe comes from Spain, where it is a staple of family gatherings, picnics, and afternoon coffee breaks. It’s famous for its flavorful lemon taste, moist crumb, and how easy it is to whip up in minutes!

Slice of lemon yogurt cake on a china plate with an ivory knife.

Spain’s lemon yogurt cake has many names — some simply call it yogurt cake (bizcocho de yogur) while others have deemed it 1, 2, 3 cake (bizcocho 1, 2, 3).

Why 1, 2, 3 cake?

Traditionally, Spanish home cooks made this cake without exact measurements. Instead, it was 1 container of yogurt, and then using that container, they’d add 1 container of oil, 2 containers of sugar, and 3 containers of flour as well as 3 eggs. 1, 2, 3! It’s also a reference to how quick and easy this yogurt cake is to prepare.

I first tasted this lemon yogurt cake from my sister-in-law. She makes it frequently for her family, sometimes substituting orange for lemon. I was surprised at just how moist and flavorful it was — something I think comes from the combination of the lemon zest and yogurt.

My weakness is delicious snacking cakes like this one (my apple olive oil cake is another of my favorites). There’s no heavy glaze on top, so they feel almost healthy (right?!).

I hope you’ll give it a try and enjoy the results as much as I do!

Two slices of Spanish lemon yogurt cake on pretty pink and white plates.

Key Ingredients

Ingredients for lemon yogurt cake with text labels for each ingredient.

Key Ingredients: Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs, yogurt, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and olive oil.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Sugar: Here in Spain we generally bake with white refined sugar, but you can experiment with other sugars if you wish.
  • Olive Oil: We bake a lot with olive oil in Spain (usually extra virgin) meaning our baked goods have a delicious and unique taste and are a bit more healthy than if we used other oils. But if you prefer to use another vegetable oil you may. Sunflower oil, Canola oil, and walnut oil all work well.
  • Vanilla Extract: This is totally optional and actually not very traditional in Spain. But I love vanilla so I add it!
  • Yogurt: I use full-fat Greek yogurt for this recipe. I think it contributes to the moist texture of the cake. But you can use any plain, unsweetened yogurt or even sour cream.

Lemon Yogurt Cake: Step by Step

Making this Spanish lemon yogurt cake could not be easier! It’s really only four main steps.

Step 1: Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.

Step 2: Combine the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, and yogurt in another bowl.

Lemon yogurt cake step by step instructions in a grid.

Step 3 & 4: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones, little by little. Stop whisking when they are totally combined. Then slowly stir in the oil until it is just mixed in (don’t over mix).

Lemon yogurt cake in a bundt pan on an oven rack.

Step 5: Now just put the batter into a greased cake or bread loaf tin. Bake for 30-45 minutes (it will depend on the pan you use). Check with a toothpick after 30 minutes and every 5 minutes after and remove when the toothpick is clean. Let it cool for about 10 minutes before removing it from the pan.

A slice of lemon yogurt cake on a pink and white plate with an ivory knife.

Recipe Tips & FAQs

What size pan should I use?

A 9-inch loaf pan or a bundt pan both work well. But here in Spain, we use whatever we have, and just keep an eye on the cake for cook time!


Can these make cupcakes?

Of course! Just use cupcake tins and cut down on the baking time — start checking after 20 minutes.


How can I freeze this cake?

Simply allow the cake to cool completely and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. Freeze for up to three months and thaw completely before eating.

What does yogurt do to a cake?

Yogurt is a fantastic addition to cake batter, as it adds moisture and fat (when using full fat yogurt). Cakes baked with yogurt are generally very moist and flavorful, and aren’t dry or crumbly. This moist and delicious texture can also be achieved by using sour cream.

Lemon yogurt cake in a bundt pan.

Serving Suggestions

There is nothing better than a slice of this delicious lemon yogurt cake and a nice hot cup of café con leche! If you prefer your coffee without milk, try a strong café americano.

I love having this cake after a traditional Spanish lunch. It’s the perfect ending to a delicious meal of Spanish roast chicken or an assortment of Spanish tapas.

More Spanish Cake Recipes

If you love the sound of this Spanish yogurt cake, then you’ll love these other Spanish cake recipes!

  • Tarta de Santiago: This delicious almond cake is one of the most famous cakes in Spain.
  • Basque Cheesecake: Another of Spain’s signature cakes, the Basque burnt cheesecake is a creamy and delicious work of art!
  • Apple Olive Oil Cake: One of my favorite snacking cakes, this olive oil based recipe is easy and so flavorful!

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See this recipe step-by-step in my web story!

A slice of lemon yogurt cake on a pink and white plate with an ivory knife.

Lemon Yogurt Cake

The easiest lemon yogurt cake recipe for a moist and flavorful result every time!
5 from 6 votes
Print (images optional) Pin Rate
Course: Cake, Cakes, Dessert, Sweet, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 10 slices
Calories: 276.13kcal

Ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour (180 g)
  • ½ tsp kosher salt (sal grueso or sea salt work too)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (8 g)
  • 1 cup yogurt (240 ml) Use unsweetened, full-fat yogurt for the best results. I like Greek yogurt.
  • 1 cup sugar (200 g)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp lemon zest from 1-2 lemons
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract (2.5 ml — optional)
  • ½ cup olive oil (120 ml — preferably extra virgin — see notes for substitutions)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease your baking pan of choice and optionally line with parchment paper.
  • In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking power.
    Flour, salt, and baking powder whisked together in a bowl.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest.
    Lemon yogurt cake batter in a metal bowl with a whisk.
  • Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Stop when everything is fully combined and the batter is smooth.
    Adding dry ingredients to wet cake batter in a metal bowl with a whisk.
  • Slowly stir in the oil, stopping as soon as everything is mixed together.
    Lemon yogurt cake batter in a metal bowl with a whisk
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and place in the oven on the center rack for 30-45 minutes. Make sure to check with a toothpick starting at 30 minutes and remove from the oven as soon as the toothpick comes out clean.
    Lemon yogurt cake in a bundt pan - close up shot
  • Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, and then remove it from the pan. Enjoy!
    Lemon yogurt cake in a bundt pan.

Notes

Substitutions
  • Sugar: Here in Spain we generally bake with white refined sugar, but you can experiment with other sugars if you wish.
  • Olive Oil: We bake a lot with olive oil in Spain (usually extra virgin) meaning our baked goods have a delicious and unique taste and are a bit more healthy than if we used other oils. But if you prefer to use another vegetable oil you may. Sunflower oil, Canola oil, and walnut oil all work well.
  • Vanilla Extract: This is totally optional and actually not very traditional in Spain. But I love vanilla so I add it!
  • Yogurt: I use full-fat Greek yogurt for this recipe. I think it contributes to the moist texture of the cake. But you can use any plain, unsweetened yogurt or even sour cream.
Notes
  • Pan size: a 9-inch loaf pan or a bundt pan both work well. But people in Spain use whatever they have, and just keep an eye on the cake for cook time!
  • Cupcakes: these can even be cupcakes — just use cupcake tins and cut down on the baking time — start checking after 20 minutes.
  • To freeze: this cake freezes well. Simply allow to cool completely and then wrap tightly in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil. Freeze for up to three months and thaw completely before eating.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 276.13kcal | Carbohydrates: 35.85g | Protein: 4.45g | Fat: 13.04g | Saturated Fat: 2.45g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 52.29mg | Sodium: 231.92mg | Potassium: 77.88mg | Fiber: 0.55g | Sugar: 21.24g | Vitamin A: 95.73IU | Vitamin C: 0.64mg | Calcium: 87.8mg | Iron: 1.27mg
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Did you give this lemon yogurt cake a try? Let me know what you think!

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