Lemon Yogurt Cake with Ginger Thyme Syrup

For Easter I was invited to my friend Cecelia’s friend Lois’ house. I’ve spent holidays with Lois and her motley crew before, so I knew exactly what I was walking into.

Lois the type of lady (hi, Lois! I know you’re reading this!) that I want to be when I grow up. She knows how to cook a damn good meal, she can entertain a group of 20 and when she finally settles into a chair near you she’s lovely to talk to – smart and graceful and full of wisdom.

I had asked my friend Cecelia if I should bring anything to Easter, knowing that if I did I’d want to impress. It was just a matter of what to make. I wanted something simple (for the sake of my sanity and busy schedule) and worthy of an Easter dinner (meaning, probably not simple). I went straight to my file of bookmarked recipes in my Google Reader looking all the way back to late 2009. March 2010 delivered just the recipe I’d been looking for: a simple lemon yogurt cake, kicked up with a ginger thyme syrup.

Now. Never mind that I burnt the syrup the first time I tried making it and had to soak and boil my poor pot three times before all that hardened sugar came out. That was just me not paying attention in the kitchen (hm…what is that smokey smell coming from behind me?).

The cake itself was easy peasy and despite the nearly hour-long baking time, came together quite quickly. The syrup, the second time around of course, was equally easy but required a lot of standing, stirring and close care and watching.

Let’s talk about that syrup. It does absorb into the cake, like the recipe says, quite nicely. But I don’t know if I’m totally sold on it for my second go at this recipe. I am huge fan of a nice lemon glaze which I think would go quite nicely drizzled over this cake. Being that it already is a moist cake with a strong crumb (meaning, it makes a large crumb that doesn’t fall apart in your fingers), I don’t think you really need a syrup to make it more moist. On the other hand I don’t think a cake can ever been too lemon-y. So next time I may go for a lemon or ginger glaze. And some chopped thyme leaves sprinkled haphazardly all over the cake.

No matter what you do with this cake, it’s perfect for dinner parties, BBQs or midnight munching with a girlfriend.


Lemon Yogurt Cake with Ginger-Thyme Syrup

from The Kitchn

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup plain, whole milk yogurt

Pre-heat oven to 350°F Grease and flour a large (9 x 5 x 3″) loaf pan. Or do like I did, and The Kitchn did, and line it with parchment paper and leave it all hanging out there so it’ll brown in the oven and be “rustic” looking when it comes out.

Lightly whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.

In another large bowl, using an electric beaters if possible, beat butter until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, then add lemon juice and zest. Beat in yogurt. Mixture may curdle, but don’t worry–it will come together when the dry ingredients are added.

Add dry ingredients and mix gently just until blended.

Spoon into pan and place in oven. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until done. The cake will be golden brown on the outside and spring back when you lightly press the middle with your fingers.

While the cake is baking, you’ll make the…

Ginger Thyme Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2″ piece of fresh, peeled ginger, sliced into coins
  • 3 large sprigs of thyme

Combine all the ingredients in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring gently until the sugar dissolves. Lower the heat a little and cook until the syrup has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes total. Strain out the ginger and thyme and keep warm until the cake is out of the oven.

Alejandra’s Note: This absolutely isn’t the same if you reheat it…just warning you now. Not that it isn’t still lovely but putting the syrup on the cake as soon as possible is pretty important.

Remove cake from the oven, turn out onto a rack and let cool 5 minutes. Place on a serving plate and spoon some of the syrup over the cake, allowing it to soak in. You will most likely not use all of the syrup but it’s very nice to whisk a tablespoon or so into some heavy whipping cream to serve along side the cake. Or you can keep it in the refrigerator, where it will come in handy for cocktails.

2 thoughts on “Lemon Yogurt Cake with Ginger Thyme Syrup

  1. Hi, Alejandra, Thanks for the kind words. I figure I need at lest 20 more years practice to get close to where I want to be, but with the Lemon Yogurt Cake in my arsenal now I can march forward with confidence. I had hoarded the last of the cake you brought for Easter and took it with me on my trip to Michigan that next week. Since I didn’t want to waste time on the 17 hour trek I ate while driving (safely). The cake crumbled a little, but each morsel (heavy crumb?) was like an amazing taste microcosm of the entire cake and I found myself reveling in the tiniest bit. It sustained me on the journey and when I returned to find the recipe – well, there was a bit of magical fun in that. It also gives new meaning to the expression ” a few crumbs from the table”. I’m making the cake for Bill’s reunion with his musical group next month at our lake cabin. I’ll let you know how it holds up to 60’s folk music and pine scented breezes. I think I already know.

  2. Hello Alejandra! With a little help from Google, I was able to find your site. It’s beautiful. It was so nice to meet and chat at Domenica’s party last Sunday. I hope we get a chance to continue the conversation soon. Meanwhile, I’m going to explore more of your site and seriously consider making this lemon yogurt cake!!

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