Lemon Yogurt Cake
1 box lemon cake mix
1 C water
3 large eggs
½ C canola oil
Filling ingredients :
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
4 oz mascarpone
4 large eggs
¾ C sugar
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz mascarpone
1 C whole milk
1 package lemon instant pudding mix (3.4oz)
1 C unsalted sweet cream butter, softened
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon extract
3 tbsp lemon zest
3-4 C powdered sugar
3-5 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Large piping bag with star tip
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking dish with pam baking spray
Follow the back of the cake box to prepare the cake batter
Once batter is made, pour it into the baking dish and set aside while you make the filling
Using a medium bowl, beat together the ricotta, lemon zest and mascarpone cheese until combined and smooth
Beat in the sugar and vanilla until smooth
Beat in the 4 large eggs one at a time
Spoon this mixture on top of the batter
Carefully try to spread the ricotta mixture over the batter. It’s fine if you can’t
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. (Or until the cake batter has risen to the top of the ricotta layer. Test to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake.
Remove the cake from the oven
Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Using a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese until smooth
Gradually beat in the milk until smooth
Beat in the lemon pudding packet until smooth and combined
Set aside to allow the pudding to thicken
Once the cake has cooled, spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cake
Place into the fridge while you make the frosting
Using a standing mixer, beat all ingredients together until combined, smooth and slightly stiff
Scoop into the piping bag
Pipe dollops of frosting all over the cake to completely cover it
Cut and serve!
Here are 15 of the most frequently asked questions about Lemon Yogurt Cake:
What type of yogurt works best in this cake?
When it comes to the yogurt that forms the base of this moist, tender Lemon Yogurt Cake, you’ll want to choose a variety that offers tart flavor and rich texture without overpowering the bright citrus notes. Some top options include:
Plain Whole Milk Yogurt – Offers a nice, mild tangy flavor without additional sugars that allow the lemon to shine. Whole milk gives slightly more luxurious mouthfeel and moisture compared to low or nonfat. Avoid Greek yogurt here as it can make things too tart.
Vanilla Bean Yogurt – Tiny vanilla bean flecks provide lovely aromatic background notes complementing lemon wonderfully without competing flavor, allowing citrus top billing.
Lemon Flavored Yogurt – An amplified lemon essence comes from incorporating yogurt already intentionally lemony in flavor itself. The similar flavor compound alignment intensifies overall citric impression exponentially.
Fruit Flavored Yogurt – Berries like raspberry or strawberry swirled into yogurt lend pretty pink/red marbling and pleasant fruitiness interplaying with lemon for more dynamic eating experience.
Go with subtler yogurts that offer a plain canvas allowing lemon ingredients pop brightly. Steer away from overpowering honey or fruit flavors that clash stylistically when seeking perfect harmonious dessert cake intricacy.
Can I use Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt?
You can use Greek yogurt in this Lemon Yogurt Cake recipe, but there are some important differences to consider. Here is a comparison:
Flavor – Greek yogurt has a much tangier, tart flavor than regular yogurt. It may overwhelm the bright citrus notes instead of complementing them.
Texture – Thick, strained Greek yogurt can make the cake very dense rather than light and tender. The moisture content also differs.
Appearance – Unstrained Greek yogurt features a loose, wet whey layer that can create an unappealing grayish liquid in the cake batter. Stick to plain regular yogurt for looks.
Moisture Content – Greek yogurt is strained so it lacks the moisture and fat that makes regular yogurt lend such a soft crumb to cakes. Extra ingredients may be needed to compensate.
Substitution Ratio – Use a 3:4 substitution ratio of Greek yogurt to regular yogurt called for. For example, use 3/4 cup Greek yogurt to replace every 1 cup regular yogurt to help account for thickness.
While using Greek yogurt won’t ruin the cake, its bold tang and drier consistency do alter the intended flavor and texture profiles considerably. For true light and subtly citrusy lemon cake, regular plain yogurt works best.
Do I really need both lemon zest and lemon juice?
Using both lemon zest and lemon juice is highly recommended when making this Lemon Yogurt Cake recipe. Each ingredient provides unique qualities that enhance the bright lemon flavor in important ways:
Lemon Zest – The finely grated outer yellow peel contributes essential oils that give the cake an intensely aromatic lemon essence. This accentuates the lemon’s fragrance and flavor with every bite without adding excess liquid.
Lemon Juice – The strained, pulpy juice provides bright acidity to cut through the sweetness of the cake. This gives each bite a puckering tartness contrast to balance out the sugar.
Flavour Balance – The zest supplies pure lemon oil concentrate while the juice offers acid tartness. Using both achieves optimal lemon flavor intensity in a from-scratch cake without commercial extract.
Moisture Impact – The astringent juice aids structure and moisture but too much liquid risks sinking/dense textures. Zest oils nicely round out and lift lemon presence without making things soggy.
Visual Appeal – Tiny yellow flecks of zest scattered throughout look gorgeous against the creamy cake base, promising bursts of citrus with every bite. This enhances appetite appeal dramatically.
For the most dynamic true-to-life lemon flavor and aroma, use fresh zest to infuse essential oils and a reasonable amount of juice to provide enough lip-puckering brightness even lemon meringue pie would envy.
What can I substitute for the lemon ingredients?
If you don’t have fresh lemons on hand for making this bright citrus cake, there are a few suitable ingredient substitutes to provide tart flavor in place of the zest and juice:
Lemon Extract – Start with 1 tsp clear lemon extract added to the batter, tasting after baked then adding more drop by drop if you desire more intense lemon flavor.
Lime Juice/Zest – Lime juice with some grated lime peel provides very similar tart citrus taste and aroma to lemons if those are more readily available. Adjust sweetener to balance acidity.
Yogurt – Swapping in an extra 1/4 cup of lemon flavored yogurt boosts overall impression of lemon essence through doubling down on the creamy citrus component already present from plain yogurt called for.
White Vinegar + Vanilla – A combination of a teaspoon or two of mild white vinegar to acidify along with 1/2 tsp vanilla extract for a slight background sweet lift together creates quasi-lemon impression you can build from.
Preserved Lemons – Mashed preserved lemon peel and a small bit of the vinegar brine instead of fresh juice imparts wonderfully complex flavor for a uniquely regional twist on the concept of “lemon cake”.
While lemon juice and zest are best for flavor authenticity, in a pinch you can improvise citrus accents through extracts, alternate fruits or creative combinations capturing at least the tart spirit. Lemon yogurt cake adapts deliciously!
How much glaze should I pour over the cake?
When making a lemon glaze to drizzle decoratively over the top of this deliciously moist Lemon Yogurt Cake, it’s easy to get carried away, but less is often more when it comes to perfecting the lightly sweet citrus topping. Here are some tips:
– Only use about 1/2 to 2/3 cup glaze total to finish a standard 9×9 or round 8-inch cake. Too much will saturate and compromise the tender crumb.
– Apply glaze while cake is still slightly warm rather than piping hot. This allows glaze to become fluid but prevents ultra-thin melting for clean appearance.
– Drizzle with a spoon, moving it slowly back and forth across top allowing thick glaze drape over edges but reserving some iciness white peeking through in areas.
– Garnish with extra lemon slice fans or zest sprinkles while glaze remains sticky if desired so they adhere.
– For marbled effect, carefully spoon a few dollops randomly spaced then use toothpick to marble and stretch through surrounding areas without overblending swirls.
No need to douse this citrus cake in sweet syrupy glaze from edge to edge. Allow beautiful naked cake texture shine through! Strategically drape glaze for tempting lemon essence in every nibble.
What’s the best way to store this cake after baking?
To best preserve the quality and fresh-baked texture of a homemade Lemon Yogurt Cake, proper storage methods are key once it cools after that first 24 hours of eager snacking. Here are some top tips:
Cover Well – Once totally cooled, wrap cake tightly in plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface to prevent air exposure from accelerating staling. Then seal again enrobing in aluminum foil for an additional moisture barrier if planning to freeze.
Refrigerate – For maximum retention of soft, tender crumb over 3-4 days, refrigerate entirely enveloped cake pan and all. The chill environment dramatically slows moisture loss and texture changes.
Freeze Early – Freeze any leftover cake portions in the first 1-2 days after baking while still peak fresh. Well sealed and frozen, it keeps optimally for up to 3 months.
Thaw Slowly – Transfer frozen cake slab to the refrigerator to thaw gradually over 6-8 hours minimize textural degradation. This gives moisture time to evenly redistribute. Room temp thawing risks condensation dousing.
Revive with Heat – Brief 5 second increments zapped in the microwave or popped into warm oven revive abandoned refrigerated cakes wonderfully to near just-baked splendor!
With diligent yet easy TLC given to leftover lemon yogurt cakes through constant chilly housing and strategic freezing/defrosting, the bright citrus flavors and tender crumb can deliver true joy long after initial baking magic for memorable snacking.
How long does the cake stay fresh at room temperature?
While it’s always best to store leftover cake in the refrigerator or freezer, a Lemon Yogurt Cake left out at room temperature on the counter will generally stay fresh and tasty for 2-3 days. Here are some tips:
Day 1 – Cake is at peak level of moistness and flavor on the first day after baking. Texture is soft and crumb tender.
Day 2 – Cake begins drying out slightly around the edges but the lemon yogurt center remains pleasantly moist. Good for snacking but best sliced off edges.
Day 3 – Rapid staling leads to fairly dried out, unpleasantly firm cake at this point. Using a microwave or oven for brief reviving is required to restore decent texture for palatability.
Beyond 3 Days – The cake dries out too much, taking on an oddly spongy texture with off-flavors developing. Mold risk also increases the longer it sits out. Best to discard the cake at this point.
For Next Time:
– Cool completely 1-2 hours after baking uncovered.
– Then wrap well in plastic wrap, bag and refrigerate where it keeps optimally moist for up to 5 days.
So if you do indulge in a few rounds of snack time and accidentally leave the rest out overnight, consume within 2 days before the lemon essence fades and texture suffers with extended room temp, low humidity storage.
Can I use milk instead of yogurt in the cake batter?
You can substitute milk for the yogurt in this lemon cake recipe, but there are a few important differences in what the yogurt uniquely provides that milk will not:
Tart Tang – Yogurt lends pleasant acidity that balances sweetness and brightens citrus flavors beautifully. Milk does not offer the same rounding out of flavors.
Creamy Richness – Higher milkfat content in yogurt gives considerably more luscious moisture, fat soluble flavor infusion and supple, tender crumb compared to leaner milk.
Leavening Boost – Cultured yogurt aids oven spring and rise. The fermentation process generates air pockets that lift the batter. Milk doesn’t contribute added lift.
Protein for Structure – Higher protein content in yogurt also allows more gluten development for better stability and moisture retention helping prevent a heavy, dense or collapsed crumb texture.
Substitution Rate – If using milk, replace 3/4 of the yogurt quantity with milk at equal volume while adding 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice per 1 cup milk used to compensate acidity loss.
While milk can work decently as a substitute in standard cake batters, yogurt plays an especially integral role in this lemon cake recipe lending signature tartness, tenderness and improved batter reactions that liquid milk simply cannot fully replicate on its own without some adjustments.
Is it better to use all-purpose or cake flour?
The optimal flour to use when baking up a tender, delicate Lemon Yogurt Cake is all-purpose flour instead of cake flour. Here’s why:
Protein Content – Cake flour is lower in protein (around 6-8%) than all-purpose (10-12%). This light, citrusy yogurt cake benefits from the slight extra structure all-purpose flour provides.
Absorption Ability – Since there are already several wet ingredients between the yogurt, eggs, lemon juice and oil, using all-purpose flour allows better absorption capacity preventing an overly slack batter.
Reliable Results – The versatility of all-purpose flour makes it less likely to collapse when incorporating citrus juice or risk a soggy crumb than more delicate cake flour prone to getting too wet.
Easy for Beginners – All-purpose flour is far more readily available than specialty cake flour in most home pantries. One less specialty ingredient to source!
Tender Enough – This moist yogurt lemon cake doesn’t require ultra fine crumb anyway. All-purpose flour bakes up delicate enough for this quick bread method while still providing some rise and sturdiness.
You can certainly experiment with cake flour, but be prepared to tweak ratios. For most foolproof lemon cake that rises as intended with melt-in-your-mouth tender texture, reach for good old reliable all-purpose flour every time!
Should the eggs be at room temperature before baking?
Allowing eggs to come to room temperature before baking up this Lemon Yogurt Cake batter helps ensure optimal texture, rise and final crumb tenderness. Here are the benefits to using room temp eggs:
Promotes Even Rising/Mixing – Cold eggs from the fridge incorporate unevenly into creamed butter and sugar, risking sunk flattened sections. But at a warmer state they become smooth and homogenous once stirred.
Improves Billow & Oven Spring – Warmer room temperature egg whites reach fluffy whipped peaks three times faster! This enables the leavening ability that gives batter appropriate air pockets to rise beautifully.
Avoids Shocking Yeast – If using quick-rise or other yeast, dramatically colder temperatures risk inhibiting rise reaction leading to dense or collapsed spots versus nice even lift throughout.
Prevents Curdling Dairy – Creaming cold eggs into other ingredients like softened butter or tangy yogurt can cause it to solidify back up which would otherwise get smoothly suspended at a steady ambient room temp state during mixing.
So for ease, elegance and efficiency, be sure to transfer refrigerated eggs into a room temperature place at least an hour before baking to ensure your Lemon Yogurt Cake creations achieve lofted, delicate end results free of dense uneven texture pitfalls.
How do I test when the cake is done baking?
Testing for doneness on this Lemon Yogurt Cake requires paying attention to multiple indicators, not just setting a timer, to guarantee the interior bakes through while preventing unpleasant dryness. Here’s what to look for:
Appearance – The cake surface will transition to a light golden tone once done baking through. Edges may take on slightly darker golden brown appearance but shouldn’t look burnt. Even browning ensures even baking.
Firm Jiggle – Carefully shake the cake pan. Finished cakes should still jiggle slightly in the very center but will spring back smoothly without pronounced liquid-like waves which would indicate underbaking. Side edges may pull away from the pan.
Toothpick Test – Insert a wooden toothpick touching the centermost section. It should emerge clean without wet batter clinging to it. Crumbs are okay, but visible thin batter means more bake time is still needed to set the interior.
Texture – Use your fingertips to gently test center firmness through light top pressure. Pay attention to changes from sunken softness to dry denseness signaling ideal finished texture once cooling condensation replaces inner steam.
The precision required means don’t solely rely on estimated bake times. Employ multiple senses through sight, sound, smell and touch combined with an accurate thermometer read to determine prime dessert perfection!
Can I substitute oil for the melted butter in this recipe?
You can substitute vegetable oil or canola oil for the melted butter in this Lemon Yogurt Cake recipe. However, there are some important differences between butter and oil to consider:
Flavor – Butter provides richer flavor that gives incredible depth to baked goods. Oil can make things more one-dimensional tasting in comparison.
Moisture – Butter lends necessary moisture for tender balanced texture. Replacing all butter moisture with oil risks dryness if liquid isn’t compensated for elsewhere.
Fat Distribution – Butter integrates into the batter through suspension in tiny globules whereas oil slickly coats ingredients which can diminish leavening.
Flakiness – Butter creates steam pockets as milk solids brown while oil bakes up more cakelike texture without those desirable flaky layers.
Substitution Rate – Replace butter 1:1 with oil at same volume. Or do half butter, half oil to retain some butter flavor while increasing shelf life provided by stability of oil.
So for the very best flavor and iconic tender, delicate texture associated with superb lemon yogurt cakes, butter cannot be beaten! But combined with oil or 100% oil-based still makes a decent backup alternative in a last minute bind without total recipe destruction.
What can I substitute for the granulated white sugar?
There are several suitable sugar substitutes that can work nicely in place of regular granulated white sugar when baking up this Lemon Yogurt Cake:
Coconut Sugar – Made from coconut palm sap, this natural brown sugar substitute adds gentle caramel notes that pair wonderfully with tart lemon flavors and has slightly fewer calories per teaspoon.
Maple Sugar – Another minimally refined sugar offering warm, buttery sweetness from maple syrup origins. Blends beautifully into the cake batter lending comfort food character.
Date Sugar – Dried, ground date paste offers wholesome round sweetness with faint tropical impression from this dried fruit source. More nutrients than plain sugar counterparts.
Monkfruit Sugar – This zero-calorie commercial sweetener comes from an Asian melon and bears no aftertaste. Measure for measure granulated sugar swap works beautifully for reduced calorie and carb intake.
Brown Sugar – Either light or dark varieties lend a more intense molasses-like flavor and aroma which can enhance lemon’s bright citrus essence through contrast.
Experiment with substituting a quarter to half the white sugar called for in this cake with an intriguing alternative sweetener boasting unique flavor profiles to reinvent this classic treat in deliciously creative ways!
How do I make this cake dairy-free?
Making this moist Lemon Yogurt Cake completely dairy-free is very achievable with just a few simple ingredient substitutions:
Non-Dairy Yogurt – Use coconut, almond or soy yogurt in place of the regular dairy yogurt. Go for unsweetened plain varieties to allow the lemon shine.
Plant-Based Milk – Substitute the dairy milk called for in the glaze with unsweetened almond, oat or soy milk for stellar results.
Vegan Butter – Swap out regular butter for vegan butter sticks made from plant oils. They mimic richness and moisture butter provides. Most major brands offer dairy-free options now.
Egg Replacer – To make this cake fully vegan, replace the eggs with “chia eggs”, commercial egg replacer powders, or blended silken tofu which mimics the moisture and binding action.
Dairy-Free White Chocolate – For glaze variations with white chocolate, use dairy-free white chocolate style chips or meltable discs made with coconut milk and oils instead of cocoa butter.
With so many phenomenal plant-based ingredient options widely available now like vegan yogurts and butter sticks, adjusting this classic cake to suit dairy-free diets is easier than ever while still achieving incredible flavor and moist tender crumb when leveraging smart substitutes.
What kinds of frosting or filling pair well with lemon yogurt cake?
There are so many delightful options when it comes to topping off the tender crumb of Lemon Yogurt Cake. Everything from sweet fluffy buttercream frostings to vibrant fruit fillings pair fabulously between cake layers or specatucarly atop the finishing touch. Some best matches include:
Lemon Curd – For true decadence, layer dollops of smooth, sweet-tart lemon curd made from real juice and zest between cake then top with candied lemon slices perhaps.
Berry Compote – Bright raspberry, strawberry or blueberry compotes made from gently cooking fresh berries offer gorgeous color and fruit essence contrast.
Cream Cheese Frosting – This tangy frosting flavored with zest harmonizes with the cake beautifully. Or swirl in some lemon curd for next level citrus interplay.
Whipped Cream – Sweetened whipped cream lightens things up yet satisfies with pleasant dairy accent. Shave some white chocolate curls over the top for even more elegance.
Candied Lemon Peel – Adding texture, this garnish also provides little hits of intense oil essence when biting into tiny bits candying the exterior. A fun twist on the flavors already present!
Let this versatile, moist lemon cake be your canvas for creativity – everything from chocolate ganache drizzles to coconut rum glazes pair nicely if your imagination strikes!