Meyer Lemon and Orange Flower Yogurt Cake

February 1st, 2009 by megan · 14 Comments

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I know, the title of this post is a little over-descriptive. But how could I leave out the three most critical components of this cake? (Actually, what I really wanted to name it was Meyer Lemon, Orange Flower Water, and Vanilla Bean Yogurt Cake…but that’s a bit of a mouthful.)  Meyer lemons are in season right now, at least in the sunnier climes. Living in Brooklyn I can’t really claim that I’m cooking seasonally because they’re trucked in from a bazillion miles away, but I had a whole bunch of them left over from a catering event that I did. So I’m using ‘em! Orange flower water is often found in Middle Eastern desserts and is made from bitter orange blossoms. If you haven’t tried it, I really recommend seeking some out; it has a flowery, orange-y flavor and smell (hence the name “orange flower water”, I suppose).  It can often be found in Middle Eastern shops, or in really well-stocked grocery stores.

Pretty Meyer Lemons

Pretty Meyer Lemons

Meyer lemons are actually a cross between regular lemons and oranges (or possibly mandarin oranges – I don’t think they know for sure). If you can’t find Meyer lemons, you can substitute the zest of one orange (that is, use the zest of two regular lemons and one orange in place of the 3 Meyer lemons). You can also leave out the orange flower water entirely. The recipe is adapted from one in Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City.

Meyer Lemon and Orange Flower Yogurt Cake

Meyer Lemon and Orange Flower Yogurt Cake


3 Meyer lemons
3/4 cup whole milk yogurt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon orange flower water
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour the inside of a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan (or you can be lazy like me and spray with cooking spray).
  2. Grate the zest of the lemons (preferably with a microplane zester), taking care not to zest any of the bitter white pith underneath. Juice 2 of the lemons. (Use the juice of the third lemon for something else; maybe some lemonade?)
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, and orange flower water.
  4. Add the vegetable oil, Meyer lemon zest and juice, and the scraped vanilla bean seeds.
  5. Add the flour and baking powder, and whisk until just combined (don’t over whisk at this point, or the cake will be tough).
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (The cake may start to brown excessively on the top; if this happens, cover with foil and continue baking.)
  7. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a cooling rack, remove the pan, and cool completely before slicing.


MsGourmet Feb 1, 2009 at 10:09 pm

Yum… might have to wait until it cools down here before i have a go at making this!

Carol Feb 1, 2009 at 10:27 pm

I have a little greenhouse in my yard here near Puget Sound where I grow Meyer lemons. They actually grow like crazy and will produce fruit year ’round — and since the shrubby little trees don’t get very large, they do well even in a house or apartment, as long as they have a nice sunny spot by a window or beneath a skylight. Good news for city cooks! You can raise your own.

Joan Nova Feb 2, 2009 at 8:15 am

I’m just getting acquainted with Meyer Lemons. The scent is so enticing.

Paul Feb 2, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Looks yummy. We made some banana/walnut/blueberry muffins yesterday. My first legitimate baking venture. Turned out alright. I’ll try this recipe as well.

gastroanthropologist Feb 2, 2009 at 2:45 pm

This cake looks so moist! I find that meyer lemons are so much more juicier than their normal lemon counterparts.

The Duo Dishes Feb 4, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Yes, this has got to be a lovely, sweet, moist cake. You can see all the pretty zest bits!

Marc @ NoRecipes Feb 4, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Mmm yumm! I’ve been working on perfecting a similar cake that uses beer instead of yogurt:-)

katie Feb 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm

my roommate just brought a bag of meyer lemons home from his house! Although, I am not sure they are actually meyer lemons because the rind is thick and the juice lackluster. Nevertheless, when you have dry lemons what do you make?

Poundcake :) I think I will try this one because I have a lot of yogurt to get rid of. greek ok?

Also, I like the fact that there is oil in the recipe, which gives a good moist consistency. birth of the chiffon cake.

ps. i have also been doused with flower water at a morrocan restaurant before… it was weird

megan Feb 4, 2009 at 5:26 pm

meyer lemons are so much juicier and sweeter and yummier than regular lemons! and apparently easy to grow!

beer, huh? I like the sound of!

Yeah, I used Greek yogurt and it was fine! If the juice and rind of your lemons isn’t too meyer lemon-y, I’d recommend adding a bit of orange rind…

Carol Feb 4, 2009 at 8:32 pm

True Meyer lemons…at least the ones I grow here at home…have a very thin rind and are more roundish than regular lemons. But then…bet you knew that already! I can’t wait to try this recipe. Beer AND Meyer lemons may give it a Hefeweissen-esque vibe. Talk about having your cake and drinking it too….

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