Prepare yourself for the most delicate and moist lemon cake you’ve ever made. This is a recipe I took from Palestine on a Plate cookbook by Joudie Kalla. BTW I highly recommend anyone who wants to cook beautiful meals to grab this book. It’s filled with traditional Arabic cuisine that sometimes have a fun modern twist (like this cake!).
I loved this recipe so much, I had to do a dedicated post on it. I first made it for guests at a dinner party I threw, and everyone straight swooned over it! Ever since, my fiancé begs me to whip this up so he can have it with his coffee. This cake is the most perfect pairing with coffee.
Orange blossom water syrup (used to glaze the cake and act as a sticky base for pistachios) is a traditional Arabic ingredient that is used in many sweets. *Note, I only used the tiniest amount of the syrup on my cake, I just brushed it on top of cake ever so slightly. I wouldn’t recommend using all of the syrup according to recipe because your cake WILL turn out wayyy too sweet!! But I made the entire batch according to the recipe and saved the rest of syrup for future cakes.
I knew I would love this recipe because of the Greek yogurt in the batter. I love Greek yogurt in pastries, in fact, you can find my blueberry muffins recipe here which also incorporates Greek yogurt. One thing to note, is that since the recipe contains yogurt, the expiration date becomes shortened. This cake will last no more than three days out in an airtight container.
LEMON YOGURT CAKE with PISTACHIO CRUST
Recipe courtesy of Palestine on a Plate by Joudie Kalla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (I zested two lemons for this amount)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, finely chopped
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ma’zaher (orange blossom water)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (I baked it on 375 instead–do what will suit your oven best), and line a 9 x 5 1/2 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl.
3. Mix the yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and lemon zest together in a separate bowl. Slowly whisk this into the flour mixture, then add the vegetable oil, and fold everything together gently.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for about 45-50 minutes (I baked for 35 mins and it came out perfect, I recommend checking cake after 35 min.), or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
5. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the lemon juice, sugar, and 3/4 cup water in a saucepan and bring to a light simmer until all the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, then add the orange blossom water andset aside.
6. When the cake is ready, leave it to cool for 5-10 mins, then prick the top all over with a forj and drizzle syrup over the top (*See my personal note above, I do not use all syrup). Scatter with pistachios to finish. The cake will keep well for 2-3 days if stored in airtight container.