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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  • 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. 😉

  • 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. 😉

  • I will make this over the weekend. ‘Looks fantastic.

  • Hi Nancy: Enjoy! It’s light and so delicious. 😉

  • Could I reduce the sugar without compromising the texture and stability? Thanks!

  • Hi Angela: I haven’t tried reducing the sugar amount. However, info that I’ve found online says you can reduce sugar in most cake recipes. They advise cutting it by 10 percent as a starting point. See this article, https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/blog/2017/04/26/reduce-sugar-in-cake, which states: “The easiest way to make this 10% reduction? Remove 5 teaspoons from each cup of sugar called for in the recipe.” The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup sugar. So, roughly 8 tablespoons, which means you’re consuming probably 1 tablespoon per slice of cake, which isn’t horrendous, all things considered. Hope that helps. Happy baking! 😉

  • I made this and it was quite good, but my diabetic husband couldn’t have it so I made it again (twice) with some alterations. One time I used vanilla Greek yogurt, added 1 tsp of vanilla, and substituted the sugar for an artificial sweetener (Swerve). It was excellent. The next one was a bit more creative. I used strawberry Greek yogurt, the Swerve, a tsp of vanilla and the I added a Tablespoon of sugar free jam. This one was fantastic and it will be my “dietetic” go to dessert especially topped with some fresh strawberries.

  • Hi Sandy: I love how you made this recipe your own, especially the additions of the strawberry yogurt, sugar-free strawberry jam, and fresh strawberries. Even more, I love how you made a version that both you and your husband can now enjoy. Kudos! 😉

  • This was so easy and delicious!! Thank you for the recipe. I served it with cut up strawberries and yum!

  • Hi Monica: I’m so glad you enjoyed it. This cake is so light that it’s perfect for this time of year, especially because it pairs so well with all manner of berries and stone fruit.

  • Mine came out runny. It leaked out of the removable pan bottom all over my stove and–after baking–out of my stovetop.

  • Hi Jan: I’m so sorry to hear that. I’m not sure what happened there. I will say that I use a very tight-locking springform pan akin to this on: https://www.amazon.com/Kaiser-springform-Diameter-Non-Stick-Cut-Resistant/dp/B06WLHN65Z/ref=asc_df_B06WLHN65Z/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=475772672046&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5973723251002981965&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9032151&hvtargid=pla-423182202678&th=1
    I think only one time has that pan leaked, and it was very minimal. Sorry you had to clean up such a mess. When the recipe works, though, it does produce a wonderful cake with the lightest texture.

  • Can I make this the day before? Should it be kept in the fridge or just an airtight container? Thank you

  • Hi Linda: Yes, you can bake it the day before. The recipe in the book didn’t actually state how to store it, but I refrigerated mine. You can serve the cake cold, room temp or warm. Hope the helps. Enjoy!

  • Sounds delicious, but I might add flaked coconut to the recipe. Does that sound weird?

  • Hi Luise: I think flaked coconut would be delicious in this. You’ll have to tell me how it comes out with that addition. Happy baking!

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