A Yogurt Cake — That’s Almost All Yogurt

Would you believe there's only 3 tablespoons of flour in this yogurt cake?
Would you believe there’s only 3 tablespoons of flour in this yogurt cake?

I’ve made many a yogurt cake — but never one that was nearly all yogurt and only a smidge of flour.

This “Yogurt Cake” is so different.

Rather than yogurt being a mere supporting ingredient to give the cake extra moistness, it is the star here in abundance, creating a light, fluffy texture almost like an airy, crustless cheesecake.

The recipe is from “Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean” (Ten Speed Press, 2021), of which I received a review copy.

The incomparable cookbook writer, who was born in Egypt and now lives in the United Kingdom, has been chronicling Middle Eastern cuisines for decades, and educating all of our palates along the way.

Her latest cookbook showcases the classics she loves to prepare for friends and family, which are imbued with the flavors of Provence, Cairo, Sicily, Morocco and beyond.

Take a taste of everything from “Gazpacho Andaluz,” “Spicy Bulgur and Nut Salad,” and “Spiced Saffron Rice” to “Octopus in Red Wine and Potato Salad,” “Chicken in a Spicy Honey Sauce Buried in Vermicelli,” and “Apple Parfait with Calvados.”

This batter for this Turkish yogurt cake includes a whopping 1 2/3 cups whole milk Greek yogurt, 4 eggs (with the whites whipped separately), sugar, lemon juice and zest, and all of 3 tablespoons flour. Yup, that’s it.

Fluffy and tangy.
Fluffy and tangy.

As it bakes, it will rise like a souffle, before settling down again. Roden instructs to bake it until it is only lightly browned. But I took it slightly beyond that, only because I like the caramelized taste. Feel free to do you, though.

This is definitely more cheesecake-like than cake-like. Think a Japanese cheesecake, only much more moist and more egg-y in texture. All that yogurt gives it a very bright and tangy taste, too.

No wonder it’s a treat that Roden says she and her family make all the time.

It's baked in a cake pan with a removable bottom for ease.
It’s baked in a cake pan with a removable bottom for ease.

Yogurt Cake

(Serves 6 to 8)

4 eggs, separated

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 2/3 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt

Grated zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round nonstick cake pan with a removable bottom.

Using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.

In another bowl, using the same mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick and pale. Add the flour, yogurt, lemon zest, and lemon juice and beat to a homogeneous cream.

Gently fold the egg whites into the yogurt mixture and pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned — watch it carefully for the last few minutes of cooking so that it doesn’t brown too much. The cake will puff up like a souffle and then subside. Let cool a little before lifting it out onto a serving plate.

Serve the cake warm or cold.

For garnishing: For a beautiful accompaniment to the yogurt cake, briefly rinse 1 pound strawberries, hull, and cut them in half through the stem end, then sprinkle with 5 tablespoons superfine sugar and the juice of 1/2 lemon and let sit for 1 hour before serving.

From “Claudia Roden’s Mediterranean” by Claudia Roden

More Yogurt Love: Greek Yogurt Sorbet by Janet Fletcher

And: Greek Yogurt Cake

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6 comments

  • Wow, that sounds, and certainly looks, absolutely delicious. To my eye, your level of browning appears perfect! Hoping you will tell us that at least a little bit of the lemony flavor shines through in the finished product. If so…perfection!

  • Hi Carroll: Yes, indeed, you definitely get a wonderful tangy taste from the lemon and the yogurt. πŸ˜‰

  • Looks delicious! We have cholesterol issues, and I wonder if I can use fat free yogurt? Thank you!

  • Hi Cathy: I’m not sure how well that will work since fat-free yogurt also has stabilizers in it to make it thicker. Also, fat-free may impact the taste and mouthfeel, since yogurt is the main ingredient in this cake. You could try it, but I can’t guarantee what the results may be. If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it came out.

  • This recipe is on my list for VERY soon!! I’m sure it’s excellent and sort of not over-indulgent.

  • Hi Rosemary: It is surprisingly light tasting. You won’t have that feeling of having a brick in your stomach like you do when indulging in NY-style cheesecake, as delicious as it is. πŸ˜‰

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