Lemon Almond Cake

Yogurt, fresh lemon and almond give this sunny Almond Lemon Cake a unique flavor and texture that everyone will love. Perfect for brunch, tea or dessert!

angled shot of slice almond lemon cake with text overlay for facebook


 

I’ve long been a fan of yogurt, replacing it in my favorite savory recipes for anything that calls for mayonnaise or sour cream, but also in sweets and baked goods. Don’t knock it until you try it- hubby didn’t even notice a difference! 

Yogurt in Baked Goods

Yogurt is a versatile and delicious ingredient that deserves to be celebrated! You can even make your own yogurt at home super easy in the Instant Pot.

A recipe that I have prepared several times now is the Almond Lemon Cake, a versatile sweet treat that complements coffee or tea and can be served for any meal or course of the day. Some might call it a lemon pound cake, however the crumb is slightly less dense. 

Simple to prepare, I prefer to get my arm workout in and hand beat with my trusty whisk rather than lug out any heavy machinery. You can still use your stand mixer or an electric hand mixer if you prefer. 

I always have all of the ingredients lying around to make a lemon loaf cake, especially an extra large container of plain Stonyfield yogurt, making it a no-brainer for last minute meals. I have also substituted other citrus flavors and vanilla for almond in a pinch.

Why You’ll Love This Cake

There are infinite reasons that this cake is loved by all, but here are a few of our favorite reasons.

  • Light and fresh – I don’t know about you, but I love anything with lemon. The lemon flavors of this cake are light, bright and fresh and perfect for spring and summer.
  • Easy – The ingredients are simple, and you don’t need a special cake pan to make it. Just a loaf pan and that’s it.
  • Easily customizable – Although we love this recipe exactly as is, there are plenty of ways for you to make it your own.
close up angled shot of sliced almond loaf cake

Almond Lemon Cake Ingredients

All of these basic ingredients can easily be found at your local grocery store. You might even have some of them on hand already.

  • Unsalted butter – I always prefer to use unsalted butter when baking. If using salted butter, just leave out the salt. Room temperature butter is best to work with. You’ll also need soft butter for greasing the pan.
  • Flour – Regular all purpose flour is what we need for this lemon almond cake recipe. I’ve never made a flourless lemon almond cake or gluten-free lemon cake, but feel free to experiment.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – Baking soda releases tiny bubbles into the cake during baking to make it light and airy. Baking powder acts as a leavener.
  • Coarse Kosher salt – If using unsalted butter, this is a must to really bring out the flavors of your cake. If using salted butter, you can omit this altogether.
  • Almond meal – This can be found near the flour in your baking aisle. But check the section below for instructions on how to make your own too.
  • Lemons – You want these lemons to be relatively large. All we need them for is the zest and a little but of juice- but don’t throw out the lemons! Use them to make lemon curd, add lemon slices to the top of the cake or even make a lemon cream cheese frosting. Take this up a notch by using preserved lemons.
  • Granulated sugar – Just good old plain white sugar is all we need for this delicious cake. I’ve never tried using a sugar substitute in this recipe, but feel free to experiment.
  • Eggs – When baking, it’s always best to use eggs that are room temperature. Always assume that a recipe is calling for large eggs if it doesn’t specify. Some recipes call for only egg yolks or beaten egg whites, but we use the whole egg.
  • Almond extract – To really amp up the almond flavor of this cake, we need almond extract. This is easily found near the vanilla extract down the spices aisle.
  • Yogurt – Use either plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt, not Greek yogurt for this almond flour lemon cake. Vanilla flavor can also be used, as can lemon for extra lemon-y goodness.
  • Confectioners’ sugar – Also known as powdered sugar, we will use this along with some lemon juice and yogurt, to make the delicious icing.
straight on shot of slice of almond lemon cake

Make Your Own Almond Meal

Almond flour is very expensive, partially because almonds are so expensive! You can save a little bit of money buy making your almond meal or almond flour, which are the same thing and used interchangeably.

  1. Almond flour is the easiest to be made in the food processor. Use one cup of raw or blanched almonds in  a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse for 50-60 times in 1-second increments.
  2. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl of the processor every 10 seconds to make sure that they are ground evenly. 

One cup of raw almonds will result in about 3/4 cup almond meal. Of course since almonds are all different shapes and sizes, this can vary greatly. 

two slices of almond lemon cake on a plate

How to Make Almond Lemon Cake

No cake pan? No problem! This cake is made in a loaf pan and it’s surprisingly easy to make.

  1. Prepare oven and pan. Preheat the oven with a rack in the center position. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Sift dry ingredients. Into a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the almond meal and lemon zest.
  3. Beat wet ingredients. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in the almond extract.
  4. Add dry ingredients. Slowly beat in half the dry ingredients, then the yogurt, then the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Raise the speed to medium and beat for a few minutes to develop some structure.
  5. Bake the cake. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until risen and golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool. Let cake cool in the pan on a rack. Slide a knife around the perimeter and invert the cake onto the rack. Cool completely, then flip right side up.
  7. Ice the cake. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the yogurt and then the lemon juice until the icing is smooth, thick, and drips slowly from the whisk. Wave the whisk over the cake to drizzle lines of icing, or scrape the icing over the cake and smooth with an offset spatula.

What to Serve with Almond Lemon Cake

I usually serve this cake after dinner as dessert. The fresh lemon flavor makes it perfect for spring! You can serve it exactly as is, sliced.

But if you want to take things up a notch, serve each slice of this cake with some homemade whipped cream and fresh berries. You could even serve with a scoop of ice cream if you’d like.

angled shot of sliced almond lemon cake

Variations

We like this almond lemon cake recipe exactly as written, but feel free to change things up to your liking.

  • Toppings – You can really top this cake with anything you’d like to. Top with a lemon syrup, poppy seeds, almond flakes, raspberry sauce or any other thing that pairs well with lemon desserts.
  • Icing – Instead of the basic glaze I used, you can substitute it with a lemon cream cheese frosting, regular cream cheese frosting or even buttercream if you’re looking to go ultra sweet.
  • Citrus – You could totally swap out the lemon for orange or even key lime if you’d like to switch things up totally.
straight on shot of stack of almond lemon cake slices

Storage, Make Ahead and Freezing

Storage: Once the icing firms, cover the cake with plastic wrap. It can be kept at room temperature for up to 48 hours, or covered with a layer of foil and refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Make ahead: I would make this Almond Lemon Cake no more than 24 hours in advance. Any cake is best served fresh.

Freezing: You can also freeze this cake. Be sure to wrap tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a plastic freezer bag for best results. You can freeze for up to 3 months.

angled shot of stack of sliced lemon loaf cake

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use all flour and no almond meal?

I have not tried it personally, but others have and reported success. We’d love to hear how it worked for you! 

Can I just use almond meal and make this into a gluten free recipe?

I do not suggest doing this. This recipe needs the gluten in the flour to rise and bake properly. 

Can I omit the lemon all together?

Don’t like lemon? Sure! Make this into an Almond Loaf Cake instead! Omit lemon zest in the cake batter and use milk or water for the lemon juice in the glaze. 

What can  I substitute for almond extract?

If you don’t have almond on hand, you can surely use vanilla extract. You can even use lemon for even more lemon flavor. 

collage of almond lemon cake for pinterest

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Iced Almond-Lemon Loaf Cake

4.91 from 31 votes
Yogurt, fresh lemon and almond give this sunny loaf cake a unique flavor and texture that everyone will love. Perfect for brunch, tea or dessert! 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 9 slices

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature, plus soft butter for greasing the pan, 1¼ sticks
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt not Greek

For the icing:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt not Greek
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the center position. Generously butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  • Into a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk in the almond meal and lemon zest.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed. Beat in the almond extract. Slowly beat in half the dry ingredients, then the yogurt, then the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 to 2 minutes to develop some structure.
  • Bake the cake. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until risen and lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.
  • Cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Slide a knife around the perimeter and invert the cake onto the rack. Cool completely, then flip right side up.
  • Ice the cake. Sift the confectioners’ sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in the yogurt and then the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the icing is smooth, thick, and drips slowly from the whisk. Wave the whisk over the cake to drizzle lines of icing, or scrape the icing over the cake and smooth with an offset spatula.
  • Store. Once the icing firms, cover the cake with plastic wrap. It can be kept at room temperature for up to 48 hours, or covered with a layer of foil and refrigerated for up to 5 days.
  • If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was! 

Nutrition

Calories: 395 kcal, Carbohydrates: 53 g, Protein: 6 g, Fat: 17 g, Saturated Fat: 9 g, Cholesterol: 72 mg, Sodium: 318 mg, Potassium: 168 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 30 g, Vitamin A: 485 IU, Vitamin C: 0.7 mg, Calcium: 98 mg, Iron: 1.8 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 395
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: almond lemon cake
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and food lover behind Savory Experiments. She is obsessed with butter, salt and bacon and spends all her time in the kitchen and behind a camera. Jessica is a contributor to PopKitchen by Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal Food + Travel and more!

Read More About Jessica

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe numerous times this is my #1 favorite texture and tasting lemon cake it is perfect!

    1. Yay! That is what we love to hear- if you like this one, check out some of the others. Key lime, strawberry and vanilla.

  2. 5 stars
    Your cake looks amazing! Moist and perfect next to a cup of coffee. Pinned to make this asap 🙂

  3. What a great dessert! I love that you used yogurt twice in this recipe. I bet it’s moist and delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    This looks tasty. How do we manage to totally space the resolutions? I resolved to make something from my mom’s recipe file each month. I’ve made 1 so far. I’ll try to do better. Thanks for sharing.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,
    Linda