Lemon Turmeric Tea Cake is a bright, zesty, and simple dessert you're going to love! It's tangy, moist, and just the right amount of crumbly! Perfect for spring and summer.
If you've never thought of adding turmeric to your cakes before, you're in for a surprise! It gives baked goods a delicious and bright yellow color, without impacting the flavor.
Lemon Turmeric Tea Cake is tangy, fresh, and not too sweet. It can be served as a breakfast, snack, or dessert!
This recipe is adapted from Alison Roman's cookbook "Nothing Fancy". I have made a few changes to it, and I'm obsessed with how it turned out.
Why you'll love this recipe
- Quick and easy to make. This recipe requires just 10 minutes of preparation, yet it's elegant and impressive.
- Perfect for spring and summer. This lemon cake is the best dessert for when the weather gets warmer and you want to eat something on the lighter side.
- Simple ingredients. You can make it from scratch with just 10 ingredients, with no mixer or any other equipment needed.
- Melts in your mouth. Because we're using olive oil instead of butter, this cake turns out super buttery, light, and tender. Take a bite and you're in heaven!
Ingredients and notes
- Yogurt: Use full-fat yogurt or sour cream, low-fat yogurt won't work here.
- Lemon juice: Make sure to use freshly-squeezed lemon juice and not the bottled stuff. It's not the same.
- Olive oil: You can also use canola or another neutral-tasting oil.
- Flour: Use all-purpose flour for best results.
- Baking powder: Originally, this recipe requires double the amount of baking powder, which I felt was not needed, and left a metallic aftertaste. Just 1 teaspoon is enough.
- Black pepper: It helps you absorb the benefits of turmeric by 2000% more. You'll need just a pinch and you won't taste it at all.
How to make lemon turmeric tea cake
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease a loaf pan and line a piece of parchment paper in the center. This will help the cake not stick to the pan and will make it easier to remove later.
To a bowl, add eggs, olive oil, yogurt, sugar, and lemon juice. Mix well. Then, stir in the lemon zest.
To another bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and turmeric.
Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix just until combined.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes. Halfway through, check if it's already browned on top, and cover with foil if needed.
Once ready, take it out of the oven. Remove from the pan and let it cool completely.
Then, make the glaze by combining white sugar and lemon juice together. Drizzle over the top and let it sit for 10 minutes to harden.
If you'd rather skip the glaze, you can serve it with a dollop of whipped cream on top or maybe some vanilla buttercream.
- Use a scale! I have never made this recipe measuring the ingredients in cups because they can be incorrect. With baking, you really want to be as precise as possible for the best results.
- If you're using cups, make sure to measure the flour correctly. Use the spoon and leveling method. If you don't know about it, you can read more here.
- Don't overmix the batter! This is key for a light and fluffy cake. Overmixing causes cases to be dense, so stop mixing the moment you see that everything is combined. It's okay if there are a few clumps.
- Cover the pan with foil after 30 minutes. Every oven is different so you should keep an eye on it.
Insert a toothpick in the center of the cake, and if it comes out clean, then it's ready. Always make sure to check the center, not just the edges, since it takes longer to cook.
You should let the cake cool completely before icing it. Otherwise, the icing won't set and the cake may become soggy.
Turmeric is added here mainly for color, and while on its own it tastes spicy and peppery, you can't taste it in here. It's rather complimentary to the tangy lemon flavor.
Yes. This cake can be frozen in an air-tight container for up to 3 months. Let it thaw overnight before serving.
Butter vs. Oil for Cake
You may notice that most cake recipes require you to use butter. And that is because butter tends to give a bit more flavor and richness than oil. But, when it comes to texture, oil is the way to go.
This is because oil is lighter than butter and is made of 100% fat (whereas butter is 80% fat and 20% water), and it locks in moisture. Cakes made with oil are more tender, moist, and crumbly, and keep better as the days go by. A cake made with butter will start to dry out after 2-3 days.
That's why this lemon cake is made entirely with extra-virgin olive oil. It gives us both flavor and great texture.
More Cake Recipes and Desserts
And if you love lemon-y desserts, check out my Vegan Lemon Pie recipe!
Lemon Turmeric Tea Cake Recipe
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup (185g) full-fat yogurt
- ½ cup (113g) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly juiced
- 2 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups (210g) white all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of black pepper (optional, but reccomended)
For the glaze (optional)
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice (or more as needed)
- Pre-heat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Grease a 10x5 loaf pan and line a piece of parchment paper in the center for easier removal (see photos in the blog post above).
- To a medium bowl, beat eggs with yogurt (or sour cream), olive oil, lemon juice, and sugar. Stir in the lemon zest.
- To a smaller bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients- flour, baking powder, turmeric, salt, and black pepper.
- Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients (and add any salt or black pepper that's left in the sifter). Using a spatula, mix them together just until combined. Don't overmix. It's okay if there are a few clumps.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. After that, check the lemon cake to see if it's getting too brown on top and needs to be covered with foil. Cover with aluminum foil if needed and continue baking for 20 more minutes. It's ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the turmeric cake rest in the pan for exactly 5 minutes, then loosen the edges with a knife and remove. Let it cool completely before icing (about 2-3 hours).
- In the meantime, prepare the glaze by sifting powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon juice and mix. It should be pourable but still on the thick side. Ice the cake by drizzling the glaze all over the top. Wait for 10-15 for the glaze to harden and decorate as desired.
- Use a scale! I have never made this recipe with measurements in cups because they often can be off. With baking, you really want to be as precise as possible for the best results.
- If you measure with cups, make sure to measure the flour correctly. Use the spoon and leveling method. If you don't know about it, you can read more here.
- Don't overmix the batter! This is key for a light and fluffy cake. Overmixing causes cases to be dense, so stop mixing the moment you see that everything is combined. It's okay if there are a few clumps of flour.
- Cover the pan with foil after 30 minutes or so. Every oven is different, so keep an eye on it, because it tends to brown quickly toward the end.