meyer lemon yogurt cake with toasted pine nut crumble

January 4, 2012

The first weekend of 2012 brought freshly shucked oysters, crisp California wine, sweet sunshine, and some of the best company a lady could ask for.

It was also a weekend filled with warm fires, burritos galore, and lots of backyard-grown Meyer lemons.

Backyard citrus trees. Why California rocks – number 486. Meyer lemons are the darlings of the lemon world. They are super juicy with a slightly sweet flavor and have a beautiful golden yellow skin. I was honored to receive two bags of these über-local and freshly-picked little beauties to bake with to my hearts content.

My brain has been dreaming about a baked good with a lemon and pine nut combination for a good long while now. I have a fondness for simple cakes that are full of flavor but only require a whisk and a bowl. I didn’t want to interfere with the simplicity of the cake but I wanted to include pine nuts; thus the buttery nut crumble was born.

With bright lemon flavor and a dense but tender crumb, this cake is everything you want on your dessert plate for a morning treat, with afternoon tea, or as the perfect secret midnight snack.

Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake with Toasted Pine Nut Crumble
Makes one 9-inch cake

Inspired by Ina Garten

For the crumble:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pine nuts
4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
zest from one Meyer lemon

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Greek yogurt
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
juice + zest from two Meyer lemons
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350 and generously butter and flour a springform pan. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a small dry skillet on medium high for about 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool and then roughly chop the nuts.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, salt, and chopped pine nuts in a small bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until large clumps form. Then let the crumble chill in the fridge while you make the cake.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl whisk the yogurt, sugar, eggs, zest, juice, vanilla and oil until combined. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the yogurt mixture until incorporated. Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle the crumble evenly over the cake.

Bake for 55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean and the top is lightly browned.


{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica W. January 5, 2012 at 5:07 pm

So happy the lemons were put to good use! California misses you already, Lil. This looks totally amazing.


Lillie January 5, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I’m wearing the sweater, eating a slice of cake and missing you big time. Thank you for an awesome sf weekend! P.S. If anyone is interested – the cake is even better on day two. 🙂


lucy January 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm

i want that cake and i want the plate it’s on. so good!


Lillie January 6, 2012 at 12:02 am

The plate is from my grandmother. There is a great collection of highball glasses too. She would be proud that I’ve used both since being in Seattle! 🙂


Stephanie January 7, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I made the cake with lemon soy yogurt. The cruble “fell” to the center & then into the bottom of the cake. Otherwise, it was just as moist & light. Thanks for the tip!


Lillie January 9, 2012 at 1:35 am

That’s great to know – thanks for testing the cake with soy yogurt!


Lisa @ Sweet as Sugar Cookies January 8, 2012 at 7:56 pm

That topping would really make me smile.


Lillie January 9, 2012 at 1:36 am

thanks! 🙂


Tamaso January 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm

wow this looks delish…


Lillie January 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm

This cake is unreal with Meyer lemons but I’ve made a version with blood orange and olive oil that is equally amazing. I’ll get that recipe up soon. 🙂


Mason February 18, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Got really jazzed thinking you were going to make something with oysters. Then was kinda let down 🙁 ….But then, Pine Nuts! You totally saved it. Whew… such a roller-coaster.

Can I make an oyster request though? Make anything. I shuck my own at home (kind of a pain and it takes a couple dozen to get good at it) and then it’s totally worth it. I would love to do something more interesting than raw oysters on the half shell with cocktail sauce. Ideas?

Fun class yesterday by the way. I might have a new favorite drink.



Lillie February 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Ha! Happy to hear I didn’t let you down completely. I’m glad you could join us for the class and that I could inspire a new drink for cocktail hour!


Sati September 26, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Hi Lillie! I made this cake last night- the crumble is just brilliant. Great addition to give the cake a little somethin’ special. I wanted to comment that my cake came out more dense than I would have liked. It was delicious and moist, but I was hoping for that crumbly moistness rather than the packed kind. If that makes any sense at all. Did you intend for people to use a mixer with this recipe or just whisk it by hand? Also, what size spring form did you use? (I let a friend borrow mine and used square glassware instead. Probably affected the cake, too.) Anyway, thanks again for the recipe-you’ve got some sweet ideas.


Lillie September 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Hi Sati! I am so glad to hear you enjoyed the crumble addition. I could put crumble topping on most everything. 🙂 To answer your questions: I used a 9-inch springform but the cake should have been fine in a square pan. The cake is quite moist from the yogurt and oil but I suspect the density is coming from over mixed batter. Gently fold the wet and dry together (with a very light hand) and it’s fine if some streaks of flour remain when you pour into the pan. Hope this helps and thanks for reading BMUB!


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }