Greek yogurt can be a great ingredient to use in baking. Like buttermilk and sour cream, it adds a subtle tang to baked goods and helps to keep them both moist and tender. I also often eat it for breakfast with fruit and granola, use it to make homemade frozen yogurt and for making other delicious goodies, so I always have it in my fridge. This Greek Yogurt Lemon Poppyseed Loaf Cake uses a generous amount of yogurt in the batter and you can really see its impact on the finished product. The loaf is moist and dense, much like a pound cake. Unlike a pound cake, however, this loaf is less rich and uses a lot less butter. The yogurt is the “secret” ingredient that gives the cake its texture.
Lemon and poppyseed is a classic combination, especially for muffins and tea cakes, like this recipe. Poppyseeds don’t add much in the way of flavor to a loaf, but they do add a hint of crunchiness to each bite and give the bread a pleasantly speckled look. The lemon in this cake comes from fresh lemon zest. There is no juice in the recipe, so you can store your zest lemons for another use – like making lemonade! If you don’t have fresh lemons, you can substitute 2 teaspoons of lemon extract for the zest, though the zest is going to give you the brightest flavor.
The batter is fairly thick and rises up during baking to give the loaf a nice, high dome. If you want to ensure you get a perfect crack down the center of your loaf, you can use this buttery technique. You can also finish off the loaf with a drizzle of lemon glaze made with fresh juice from your leftover lemons and some confectioners’ sugar, if you want to dress this loaf up for tea time or dessert. Personally, I really enjoy a slice for breakfast or as a late-morning snack, as the lemon flavor pairs very nicely with a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Greek Yogurt Lemon Poppyseed Loaf Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp fresh lemon zest
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup plain greek-style yogurt (full or nonfat)
1 tbsp poppyseeds
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until well-combined. Whisk in melted butter, lemon zest and almond extract. Whisk in one third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the yogurt and the poppyseeds. Whisk in another third of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining yogurt and the rest of the flour. Mix just until no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow loaf to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 1 loaf.