Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Yogurt Cake

If you have read my blog for a while now, you are pretty familiar with the fact that I adore the Barefoot Contessa. Some people love Kobe or Tom Brady, some love Meryl Streep, some love JT, Adele, Ryan Gosling, or Bono. But me, I love Ina.


One thing, well, there are many things, but one thing in particular that you will never see on my blog are the words “recipe adapted from the Barefoot Contessa”. 

I love taking a basic recipe idea and tweaking it to add my own unique touches – that is half the fun of cooking. And I will ALWAYS give credit where credit is due but I will never adapt Ina. It can’t be done. I can’t add anything that she hasn’t already perfected. At least according to my taste buds and that is why I love her. Well that and the fact that I feel like I could pull up a chair in her barn (LOVE the barn) and talk with her for hours over coffee and oh, I don’t know, Lemon Yogurt Cake.

And that is just what I am going to share with you today. What a coincidence. Lemon Yogurt Cake, one of my absolute, all-time, favorite “tessa”, as my five-year-old calls her, recipes. We watch her show quite a bit if you couldn’t guess.


Originally, I had planned on sharing the crustless Quiche recipe I’ve been working on but it still needs some work before I put it out there; the finished product is too “liquidy”. Oh, if only I could pick up the phone and give Ina a ring …

“Ina, hi, it’s Dani. I’m great. Yes, the kids are fine. Thanks for asking. How’s Jeffrey? So glad to hear it. Listen, what are your thoughts on mini-crustless Quiche that turns out  just too soft and liquidy?”

And yes, she would know just what I mean by “liquidy”.

You have your dreams. I have mine.


The Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Yogurt Cake


So why is this one of my favorite Barefoot recipes?


Lemons. I love lemon anything.

No mixer, just a whisk and a bowl – that I love!

It is light, made with yogurt and vegetable oil but it still has an incredibly rich flavor.


And the lemon simple syrup … WOW!

In prepping for this post, I happened to discovered yet another thing I love about this recipe;

it is forgiving.

What do I mean exactly? Well, you know when you are outside weeding and suddenly you think “OH CRAP! MY CAKE” and run for the back door, bursting into the kitchen to find your assistant lying on the couch, remote in hand as he glances up and casually says “mommy dat stove been beepin”.

Forgiving like that.

Just keepin’ it real. And I can say crap – my kids don’t read my blog yet.



Lucky for him, he’s just too cute to fire.

Lemony. Quick. Easy. Moist. Light. Delicious. AND Forgiving. That is why I love this cake.

Note: the only thing I do a little differently than Ina (I know, I can’t believe I’m saying that) is simply that I don’t often add the glaze to the top as we are not big “frosting” people. We like the cake as is, moist with a bright lemon tang that is just right and not overwhelming. Although the glaze is a nice touch and I do add it when I’m making the cake as a gift.

In retrospect, this probably would’ve been a good time to add the glaze. Then you might have never known about the over-baking. Mistake covered up. But that’s just not my style. I’d rather have a little fun with it.


Besides, Ina is so good that even when life happens and you overbake one of her recipes, all is not lost and you can still …


I promise, I’ll bake a prettier one with glaze and update the post; just for you guys and for Ina. Her wonderful cake deserves a little bit better representation. But for now, let’s just bask in the freedom of admitting we aren’t perfect. And that’s okay! Besides, this is nothing. Oh the epic kitchen fails I could share with you – maybe someday.

Of course, you are MOST welcome to comment and share any of your memorable kitchen failures. I would LOVE to hear about them. We can be blissfully less than perfect together.

29 thoughts on “Barefoot Contessa’s Lemon Yogurt Cake

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      So nice to know and I’m with you, I have never made anything of hers that wasn’t incredible. Have you tried her baked shrimp scampi? Amazing! Thank you for the photo compliment, your garden photos are always so beautiful!

  1. Instant Mama

    I love forgiving recipes. Love them. I can so relate to your “moment” as I have many, many of them myself. As I sit at the table and hear my kids say, “yum, these beans are good” I breathe a deep sigh of relief because I know that extra “smokey” flavor was not intentional. Ahh, the joys. Keep the pictures – they’re great!

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      It is nice to have forgiving or at least appreciative kids, too. I made some oatmeal banana cookies a couple of days ago and we’ll just say that the recipe still needs some work. But my kids can’t get enough of them! “Mommy, you’re the best baker!” At least they are eager taste testers if not completely reliable. So nice to hear from you.

  2. gotasté

    over baked? It looks perfect to me. This cake can only be delicious. same here. i love lemon anything. don’t think i have eaten a yogurt cake before…

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      Just a little “crispy” and brown around the edges. It is so beautiful and perfect when baked just right. Amazingly, it was still good. I love baking recipes with yogurt or sour cream, they add so much moisture and great flavor!

  3. Mrs. DeYarmond

    Oh my goodness this lemon yogurt cake looks awesome ! It seems that it’s really simple but so delicious ! I love all of your photos that make the cake appearing so pretty ! That’s perfect 🙂

  4. My French Heaven

    Oh Danielle!! It looks so moist and delicious. I haven’t had breakfast and this is torture!! What a lovely post! Thanks!!

  5. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

    Thanks Stephane and so nice to hear from you! I loved the post about your youngest nephew’s christening. You bring two of my favorite things, France and family to life so beautifully. This is by far the most moist cake I have ever made – even slightly over baked, it was delicious. An incredible recipe. Sorry about the breakfast torture, I know how that goes.

  6. lerskin

    I love this post! I also love Ina – in fact I wrote a post of my own awhile back that you might enjoy entitled “Ina Garten Stole My Life”. ( ) A few days after I posted it, my 2 year old granddaughter saw Ina on TV and said,”Grandma!!” So that proves it :] Anyway, if you are ever in my neck of the woods, which is Lijiang, China, stop by, I will make you some Lemon Yogurt Cake and tea, and we can chat.

    1. Welcome Company with Danielle Post author

      I just followed your link and loved your “Ina” story. I was also completely drawn into your story and look forward to keeping up with your incredible calling for His work in China. I would LOVE to pull up a seat in your Lijiang kitchen and share a little yogurt cake, tea and wonderful conversation. I have a feeling we would have quite a lot to talk about. Blessings to you!


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