Lemon Yoghurt Cake (Grain Free)

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Quirky Cooking Lemon Yoghurt Cake (Grain Free)

Who doesn’t love a tangy, moist, lemon cake, with sticky lemon syrup drizzled over and cream or ice cream on top, and a cup of tea on the side? You guys obviously agree with me, because when I shared this recipe in our newsletter a few months ago it went crazy! Well, good news, here it is on the blog so it’s easier to find now… AND my sister and I played with the recipe and improved on it, so it’s even better now! Woo hoo!! 

Quirky Cooking Lemon Yoghurt Cake (Grain Free)

Cake photos by Tash Marie Little Bit of Thyme

For those who didn’t see the original newsletter recipe, here’s the story behind this cake…

A few months ago my 18 yr old son, Simi, was going for his drivers licence (P plates) test. Everyone told us that it’s practically impossible to pass the test first go (especially for young guys, as the instructors are pretty tough on them), and most of his friends took two or three goes to pass. Simi was feeling very nervous, and saying he was sure he wouldn’t pass… so of course I gave him a bit of a pep talk about not talking himself into failing, doing the very best he can, keeping positive, staying calm… and meanwhile I prayed HARD that he would pass because my GOODNESS I was making a lot of trips to take kids to and from work every day – often six trips in a day!! I was so ready to have some help with all the taxiing.

As he drove off with the instructor I said to my daughter Cassia, “Let’s make lemon cake and homemade ice cream while he’s gone!” Because I figured if Simi passed the test we could celebrate with cake and ice cream, and if he didn’t pass we could console ourselves with cake and ice cream. Win win!! πŸ˜€ (Although I didn’t know if the cake would actually work, as it was a new experiment…)

Quirky Cooking lemon cake and ice cream

Checking if the ice cream is ok. Yep, it’s awesome. πŸ˜€ Ice cream recipe is in Life-Changing Food

Thankfully, not only did the cake work BEAUTIFULLY, but Simi also passed his test!! FIRST GO!!!! Do you know how happy that made me??? (If you have kids you are constantly driving everywhere, you will understand the joy of having an extra driver in the family!)

Quirky Cooking Jo and Simi

He passed his test!!!!!!

So this is our celebration cake. We recommend serving it with homemade ice cream (there’s a dairy free recipe in Life-Changing Food) with friends, family and neighbours – because in my opinion, that’s the best way to eat cake! But it’s delicious on its’ own too, with a quiet cuppa in a cozy corner. We hope you enjoy. 

Quirky Cooking Lemon Yoghurt Cake (Grain Free)

Tips for best results…

  • Check your scales: Baking requires much more exact measurements than say a soup or a casserole – make sure your scales are working properly before you begin.
  • Oven: Every oven is different, so we recommend you keep an eye on the cake as it cooks, as you may need to tweak the cooking time to suit your oven. We use a Falcon Australia oven, on the fan-forced setting. If you know your oven cooks a bit slow, change temp to 180C, and cook until lightly browned on edges and top (see photos below), then cover with foil/lid and cook until skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the cake is firm when pressed gently in the centre. If you find after it’s cooled that it’s still a bit too moist, just pop it in the fridge and leave overnight – it will firm up as it gets cold.
  • Texture: Nut meal cakes are not the same texture as a fluffy, white wheat flour cake – they are denser and moister, and are better cooked a day ahead as they will firm up as they cool. Don’t be discouraged if it falls a little as it cools – that’s also quite usual with grain free cakes. It will still taste amazing!
  • Ingredients: Blanched almond meal is preferable to whole almond meal in this recipe as you’ll get a lighter result, although whole almond meal may work. If you use sunflower seed meal instead you’ll find the cake will turn a funny green colour, just so you know… which is why we didn’t. πŸ™‚ (I think it would be heavier texture too.) I haven’t tried it with egg substitutes, I think it would end up too dense – but you could maybe halve the recipe and use chia ‘eggs’ plus a little baking powder, and cook in muffin cups.
  • GAPS: This cake is suitable for Full GAPS, or if you leave the bicarb soda out it’s ok for Stage 4… it would probably be best to cook as cupcakes if not using the bicarb soda.
  • Cupcakes: The recipe is PERFECT for cupcakes! Fill cupcake papers to 3/4 full and cook at 180C for about 20 mins, or until done. No need for a water bath. They freeze beautifully too!

Quirky Cooking Lemon Yoghurt Cake (Grain Free)

Lemon Yoghurt Cake (Grain Free)
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Cake
  1. butter or coconut oil for greasing tin
  2. 3 large (60g) eggs
  3. 100g honey (or pure maple syrup)
  4. zest of 2 lemons (finely zested)
  5. 70g lemon juice
  6. 300g blanched almond meal
  7. Β½ tsp bicarb soda
  8. 280g Greek yoghurt (or thick coconut yoghurt for dairy free)
  9. 120g extra virgin olive oil
Syrup
  1. 70g lemon juice
  2. 60g honey (or pure maple syrup)
  3. 2 Tbsp water
  4. zest of 1 lemon (finely zested, or sliced thinly with sharp knife)
Also need
  1. 20cm round cake tin (not spring form or it will leak!)
  2. baking paper
  3. a large, high-sided baking dish*
Thermomix Method
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line the base of a 20cm cake tin with baking paper, and grease the sides with butter or coconut oil.
  2. Place eggs and honey into TM bowl, insert butterfly whisk, and mix 4 mins/speed 4.
  3. Add lemon zest and lemon juice and mix another 2 mins/speed 4. Remove butterfly.
  4. Add almond meal, bicarb soda, yoghurt and olive oil to bowl, and mix 20 sec/speed 4.
  5. Pour batter into the lined cake tin and place it into the baking dish.
  6. Pull the centre rack halfway out of your preheated oven and carefully place the baking dish on it. Using a kettle, pour very hot water carefully into the baking dish until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the cake tin. Gently slide the oven rack back into place, taking extra care not to slosh the water around.
  7. Bake for 45 mins, or until lightly browned on top.
  8. Gently slide oven rack out and carefully cover cake with foil (not touching cake) or a pot lid. Slide rack slowly back in, and cook another 25-30 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. (It will be slightly moist inside, but the top and sides of the cake should be golden brown and firm to touch.)
  9. Remove cake from oven and leave covered while preparing syrup.
Syrup
  1. Place lemon juice, honey or maple syrup, and water into a clean TM bowl and cook 5 mins/Varoma/speed 2.
  2. Poke holes all over cake with a thin metal skewer and pour half the hot syrup over the cake. Wait until it sinks in, then pour over the remaining syrup. Cover cake and allow to sit and cool for 30 mins.
  3. Run a butter knife around the side of the tin to loosen cake. Release from pan.
  4. Decorate cake with zest. Slice and serve with cream or yoghurt.
Conventional Method
Cake
  1. Follow step 1 as above.
  2. Whisk eggs and honey with an electric mixer until fluffy, then add lemon zest and juice and whisk another couple of minutes.
  3. Add almond meal, bicarb soda, yoghurt and olive oil to bowl, and mix until smooth.
  4. Pour batter into the lined cake tin and place it into the baking dish. Continue as above.
Syrup
  1. Place lemon juice, honey or maple syrup, and water into a small saucepan and simmer over low heat for 5 mins. Continue as above.
Notes
  1. * For ample water circulation, the baking dish should be wide enough to leave a 2-4cm edge around the cake tin, and the sides should be high enough to hold about 4cm of water.
Quirky Cooking https://www.quirkycooking.com.au/

60 Comments

  1. Jillian says:

    Sounds yummy! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    It helps so much when your children can drive themselves around, both of my children now have licences.

  2. Denise McIntosh says:

    Sounds wonderful & i just have to make this

  3. Nat says:

    Hubby wants to know, can we substitute the yoghurt?
    He doesn’t do yoghurt anything!

  4. Felicity says:

    Thanks for the recipe Jo!
    I tried it with sunflower seed meal and coconut yoghurt but texture seems a little too soft even with a little extra baking time. Was nicer served chilled in the fridge. Let me know if you have any suggestions for fixes??
    Thank you 😊

  5. nabila says:

    what is 300 gram in cup form Jo

  6. Gail says:

    How much bicarb? It’s missing in the recipe and I am halfway through making it πŸ˜‚

  7. Marisa says:

    Could the olive oil be replaced with butter/ghee or macadamia oil?

  8. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Jo, may be a silly question, but what is bleached almond meal? Do you just measure out the almond meal and soak in cold water then drain off?

    • Jacqueline says:

      *Blanched

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Jacqueline! Blanched almond meal means the skin has been removed from the almonds before making into the almond meal. It is pale in colour (not brown). If making your own blanched almond meal, you would need to buy blanched whole almonds (skin removed). πŸ™‚

  9. Rebecca B says:

    Oh wow I am inspired, will try to make this tomorrow.

  10. Leanne says:

    Can you please tell me what I can use instead of almond meal?
    At the moment I can only eat Pecans or Walnuts.
    Also, no wheat, barley or buckwheat.
    I’m really looking forward to making something a bit delectable – a treat I can look forward to.

  11. Sharon O'Dwyer says:

    Hi can you freeze this and would you have to freeze it before adding the syrupπŸ€”

  12. Michelle says:

    My cake cracked during the first part in the oven….any tips for what to do next time to prevent this?

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Michelle! It may have cracked from the heat of the oven (ie it rose too quickly). Perhaps reduce the oven temp a little next time. πŸ™‚

  13. Skye says:

    Hi Jo, do you think this would cook (steam) in the varoma ok? Or would it be too harsh on the cake? 40 mins or so?!?

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Skye, that’s a good question! Hmmm…it may work but it would probably take quite a long time as the cake is quite high in the pan. You would need to keep steaming it and checking with a skewer. Might work better as small individual cakes. xx

  14. Leanne says:

    I love this recipe but my son in law is on an carb free diet. What is the carbs stats for this recipe

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Leanne, glad you love the cake! πŸ™‚ We don’t do carb or calorie calculations on our recipes so you would need to find a carb calculator online and type in the ingredients to work it out. xx

  15. Justine says:

    Hello, made this yesterday and the taste is lovely but it’s very β€˜wet’. Do you have any tips on why that might be?

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Justine! πŸ™‚ This cake should be very moist anyway as it is cooked in a water bath and has a syrup poured over, but if it is very wet, it may just need more cooking time. xx

  16. Laura granger says:

    How do I make blanched almond meal? Can you buy it?

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Laura! You can make blanched almond meal by milling blanched (skinless) whole almonds. Or, you can buy it in the shops (it should be pale, not brown, in colour). πŸ™‚

  17. Naomi says:

    Hi, just wondering if you think this would work in a square or rectangle cake tin? Wanting to make it for my sons birthday cake and have it in the shape of a leggo brick!

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Naomi! πŸ™‚ We haven’t tested the cake in anything other than a round cake tin so we can’t say for sure. Certainly give it a try but check it cooks through in the middle. Let us know how you go. Lego cake sounds wonderful and happy birthday to your son! πŸ™‚ xx

  18. Michelle says:

    I am so looking forward to making this cake on Friday. It looks delicious as much as it sounds.
    Lemon is my favourite ingredient.

  19. Dani says:

    I have just made this to take to a family event tomorrow! I can’t wait to try it!!!!! It smells so good. I’m always so nervous serving something to others that I have never made before, but being dairy free I like to try new deserts always and it pays off to take a sweet I can actually eat πŸ˜‰ It was cooked all the way through but feels very very wet after the syrup so I hope I did ok!!

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Dani! πŸ™‚ How did everyone like the cake? It is quite moist once the syrup is added but certainly should hold it’s shape as per the pic. xx

  20. Erica says:

    Can I sub the yoghurt with my thick kefir? I do a second ferment with lemon peel ( sometimes orange)

  21. Chirene says:

    Hi there

    Do you think it would work as muffins? I don’t own a cake tin but this looks so delicious I’d love to try it

  22. viv coffey says:

    JO this looks delicious but substitute for the almond flour and the eggs? can’t do dairy, so thought coconut yoghurt? anyone have any suggestions. looks so yummy.

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Viv! πŸ™‚ Please see the notes section in between all the pics. If you give it a go with any of these variations, please let us know how it turns out. xx

  23. Mell says:

    OMGoodness….B.E.S.T. C.A.K.E. E.V.E.R!

    Thanks so much Jo. I’ve made this recipe a few times using either lemons & oranges. Both flavours are delicious.

    This is the first grain free cake both my children (9yo + 7yo) have eaten and wanted more.

    Freezes great too!

  24. Anne Kendrick says:

    Hi Jo this sounds wonderful! I am egg free so have a question, how do I replace the eggs with chia β€œeggs”? I am new to this πŸ™‚

    • QuirkyJo says:

      Hi Anne! πŸ™‚ To make chia eggs you combine 1 tbsp chia with 2.5-3 tbsp water, per egg. In this recipe, you would need to halve the amount of ingredients and make as muffins though we haven’t tried this yet so can’t say for sure how well it would work out. If you give a try, let us know how you go! xx

  25. Joel says:

    Hi Jo,

    Made this cake recently and it was a delight! My family really enjoyed it. Loved the refreshing zesty punch of the syrup and moist texture of the cake. Served warm, we found it paired really nicely with a ginger variation of your dairy free ice-cream from LCF actually. Thank you for sharing!

  26. Sandi says:

    I was halfway through making cake and realised I only had half the amount of almond meal 😩. I had a packet of tigernut flour and added the other 150 gm of that and omg amazing.

  27. Annique says:

    Can I use kultured Wellness fermented yoghurt in this recipe

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