Cheese and Yogurt Cake with Lemon Zest

The other day I was going through my old notebook recipe collection and this recipe caught my attention. I had all the ingredients available so I decided to give it a try for the first time since the recipe found its way into my precious collection almost two decades ago. I don’t even remember where I got it from. The poor thing was called Piroq, which in Russian means Pie, so I had to brand it with some type of fancy name to make it sound appealing and attractive. And this is how the cake got its new name – Cheese and Yogurt Cake with Lemon Zest. Is it fancy enough?:)

The recipe did not call for any baking powder or soda, which I found bizarre. But I still decided to stick to the original and I am glad I did. My cake turned out beautifully. It didn’t rise much but I still loved its soft and moist texture. Tasted and looked almost like cheesecake. Then this idea about no baking powder started to bug me and two days after we devoured the fist cake, I knew I had to make another one (since I am a Daring Baker), this time using what I thought was the missing ingredient – baking powder. I also used 4 eggs instead of 5 and added more flour. Result? My cake did not rise a bit, and was more dense and heavier in texture than the previous one. A lesson taught. I am now sticking to my good old recipe I have a pleasure of sharing with you.

Note: Per Deeba‘s suggestion (thank you, Deeba!), I am submitting this recipe to the Sugar High Friday, a monthly event created by Jennifer of The Domestic Goddess. This month’s theme is Citrus and the event is being hosted by Helen of Tartelette.



1/2 pound (250 g) unsalted white cheese (I used part skim milk cheese. If you are in Azerbaijan, use kesmik/tvoroq)
1/2 cup (4 oz/113 g) butter, melted
5 eggs, at room temperature
a pinch of vanilla powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
coarsely grated zest of one lemon
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 350?F (180?C).

2. In a large mixing bowl, coarsely crumble (break up into small pieces) cheese using your hands. Add butter, eggs, vanilla powder and flour. Using a mixer, beat at medium speed until well blended. It should take you only a minute or less.

3. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and yogurt and beat with a mixer until well blended. Add lemon zest and mix.

4. Gradually add the yogurt mixture (step 3) to the cheese mixture (step 2) and mix. The batter will be quite thin, and this is how it should be.

5. Lightly coat a 8 1/2 (21 cm) x 4 1/2-inch (11 cm) loaf pan with cooking spray. Pour the batter onto the prepared pan and place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the cake is lightly golden on top and spongy when lightly pressed, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. You will notice the cake will only rise a little – this is normal. Remove the cake from the oven. Allow to cool in the pan, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Cool completely before serving. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar and sprinkle with lemon zest, if desired. Enjoy your cake with a cup of hot tea!


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  1. Farida this look what’s a really yummy recipe!!!!
    I don’t know if Amy said you she Tag me in Look what Imade!! and I post about this only if you want to see a look that the Blogs I try recipes.
    I like so this Tah and I find so interesting!! Like it! xxxxGloria

  2. How interesting! I’ll definitely have to give this a try this weekend – who doesn’t need another recipe with cheese, right? Yum.

  3. This looks a very tasty cake indeed with lots of wonderful flavours to complement each other 😀 Great pics too

  4. glad to receive your comment!
    you can also follow me on tastespotting every post published there is in english too.
    I’m going to create a tag to recognize all english post not only Db challenge.
    see you!
    ops, just forgotten, this is on my wish list right now I’m busy with strawberry and have to wait for my father-in-law lemons (he has about 20 lemon trees).

  5. This looks lovely and lemony, perfect with a cuppa!

  6. What a dense, moist looking cake! It’s gorgeous!

  7. mmmm…. It looks delicious! Dense and moist are the best cake combination. Too bad, I love to eat more than I love to cook. 🙂

  8. Oh, yay! I have a bowl of Meyer lemons calling out to me demanding to be baked into something amazing. Thank you for sharing, hun. Hope you had a great Mother’s day.

    xoxox Amy

  9. This sounds really good. I am curious about the cheese…I wonder what I could substitute here?

  10. Farida, it looks wonderful, tangy & sweet are great dessert combos.

  11. This cake sounds really interesting. It looks nice and dense and good.

  12. This looks beautiful… i agree that it looks dense, which i like! must be the cheese. i guess a ricotta could work too?

  13. This is sinfully good!

  14. Mmmm, looks like something I would looove! Lemon and yogurt, yum! Problem is that I haven´t been able to localize unsalted white cheese here 🙁 …..just a wild idea: could I use cottage cheese, you think?

  15. Your cake looks delicious and wonderfully moist! I bet it taste great!



  16. A daring Baker indeed! 🙂

    Oh how I am craving a bit of sweetness right now!

  17. Farida, the cake looks wonderful…give me cheese anytime 🙂

  18. holy cow!

    that looks amazing. cheese, yoghurt. the cow’s one amazing animal and you’re an amazing cook. all my favourite dairy with lemon. brilliant recipe!x

  19. Gorgeous photography + Gorgeous sounding cake = a very hungry Kitchen Goddess 😉

    I can’t wait to make this, but I need to go shopping first.

  20. I’ll go with this Farida. It looks great. Would our Indian cottage cheese be the equivalent of the cheese you’ve used? BTW, have finally posted the top 10 you tagged me for; I’m really sorry it took this long & I’ve learnt my lesson! It was fun through my own blog(cringing at times)…thanks for the experience! Lov Deeba

  21. Sorry, me again. Tartlette is hosting SHF & her theme is lemon…am sure it would be the perfect entry! Cheers

  22. looks like a lovely cake, really moist!

  23. Almost a cheesecake works for me! Sounds great 🙂

  24. Farida, that looks so good!!

  25. This looks fab, Farida! Anything with yogurt and lemon is amazing to my taste buds! I am gonna have to bookmark this recipe now! 🙂

  26. Gloria: Thank you for stopping by! I am so glad you participated in the recipe tag. I loved the ones you picked! Mis saludos a Chile!

    Parsnipsaplenty: I love baked goods with cheese. Enjoy!

    Rosie: Thanks a bunch!

    Enza: I’ll watch out for your English posts. I do not mind peeking at your Italian posts either ? I can learn some Italian from you

    Nicisme: Glad you like it!

    Elle: Thank you!

    Teaescapade: Glad you like it. Too bad you won’t bake it

    Familiabencomo: Good reason to use up your lemons Enjoy! Happy belated MD to you too!

    Gretchen: I think you can use any kind of white cheese as long as it is not salted. Something of the feta cheese texture would be fine, but not the feta cheese itself.

    Truenorth67: Peter, glad you like it.

    Kevin: Thank you!

    Jonathan: I think ricotta cheese should work fine, as long as it has a dry texture, similar to feta cheese.

    Cynthia: Sinful indeed

    Vonsachen: Cottage cheese should be fine as long as it is not too liquidy. Ideally, a harder, a sort of crumbly type of cheese similar to feta cheese is preferable. But I think you should be fine with cottage cheese.

    Rosa: Thank you!

    Pixie: I wish you lived close by – a piece of this cake, actually… the entire cake could be yours

    Sunita: Thank you! Cheese is always good, isn’t it

    Diva: You are so funny Glad you like the recipe!

    Kitchengoddess: George, glad you like it. As to photography, believe me I am still angry at myself and my camera for not so brilliant pictures I am taking Still learning

    Deeba: I am not quite familiar with Indian cottage cheese. If it is like a paneer, you should be fine. In fact, you can use paneer. Any cheese of a crumbly texture should work. Glad you posted the top ten. Off to your blog now PS: Thanks for the SHF suggestion. Will check it out.

    Mimi: Thanks for visiting my blog. It is indeed a very moist cake. Glad you like it.

    Recipe Girl: Thanks for stopping by! Please visit again

    Anna: Thanks a lot!

  27. Farida, I can’t find your email, lol! It should be fine with plain yogurt.

  28. Thanks 🙂 I thought of only using the “lumps” from the cottage cheese or perhaps making my own fresh cheese from cow milk.

  29. This cake looks awesome! 🙂

  30. Thanks for visiting me and leaving a comment. This cake looks delicious. I love anything that has a tart flavor. So this seems like a perfect recipe to bake when I crave for one.

  31. Looks wonderful Farida! Thank you for your entry this month!

  32. no baking soda>>>surprising…

    sweet and that flavour

  33. First time in ur blog.. amazing.. and loved the flavour of sweet and tanginess and ofcourse surprising is no Baking Soda..luks very yummy..

  34. I saw this on Tastespotting and immediately wanted to cut a thick slice for myself. Looks and sounds delightful, Farida!

  35. farida, this looks stunning! I think I know what i’ll be making this weekend 😉

  36. You know I Iove anything yellow; I must try! Sounds yummy! 🙂

  37. Farida, I think it was David Lebovitz who said: “there are two kinds of people in this world, the lemon people and the chocolate people. ” I am proud to say, I’m an active member of both groups.

    And if your mouthwatering pictures are any indication, that cake must’ve been sinfully delicious!

  38. Yum! Yum! Looks so moist and tasty! Do you think it could be made into cupcakes? I’d really want to try this delicacy.

  39. Farida,

    This looks and reads amazing! I made a Greek Lemon-Yogurt cake the other day, so this posting was timely indeed. I will be posting my recipe in the next little while.

    Be Well,


  40. The cake looks yummy!

  41. Jenn: Thank you! Hope you make it.

    Elle: You can always find my email in About Me.

    Vonsachen: Yes, only the lumps is a good idea. Home made cheese is even better:)

    Maryann: Thank you!

    My comfort food: Enjoy when you get to make it!

    Tartelette: You are welcome. I am very excited about the event!

    Rachel: I found it strange too when I didn’t see any baking soda in the recipe. But looks like it is not always necessary:)

    Sushma: Thanks for stopping by! Glad you like it here. Please be my guest again:)

    Susan: I wish you lived close by. The whole cake could be yours:)

    Celine: Welcome to my blog! Glad you like the cake. Let me know how it turns if you bake it.

    Medena: Thank you! It’s really easy to make this one.

    Marysol: Interesting saying:) I am both too, but leaning towards chocolate more:) Oh, thanks for the compliment. I wish I could share the cake with you, my dear friend.

    Marija: Do you mean the cupcake pan? Hmm, I am thinking why not. The only thing is that they won’t be too “cupcaky”, meaning they won’t rise much, but their sure will look pretty.

    Sam: Welcome to my blog! I’ve tried the Turkish version of the lemon yogurt cake several times. Loved it! I am eager to see your Greek version too. Will check it out:)

    Harini: Thanks for stopping by! Glad you like the cake. It’s real easy to make.

  42. Farida, dear I made this recipe and is sooo yummmy!!! we eat all!!!xxGloria

  43. What an interesting recipe! I’m a big fan of cheesecake and I love the yoghurt in this. Anything with yoghurt is a big hit with me. The texture looks really intriguing too.

  44. Farida! I want a piece right now 🙂

  45. que maravilha!

  46. Merhaba, sitenizi tesadufen buldum, butun tariflerinize baktim, ne kadar super bir blogunuz var. Ellerinize saglik valla. Ben Turkum. Turkiyeden tum Azeri dostlarimiza kucak dolusu selam yolluyorum. Bu aksam tariflerinizden birini yapicam 😉 umarim sizinkisi kadar lezzetli olur

  47. Farida, do you know my mother’s name is same as yours 😉 But in Turkish it’s spelled differently, Feride. It means “unique one” in Arabic, you have a beautiful name

  48. Farida,
    Your cake looks lovely and moist.
    Btw, I am not able to get your blog into my aggregator. SO I subscribed to your blog by e-mail. But I haven’t got any e-mails and I see you’ve posted since. Any ideas why?
    I’m subscribing by e-mail again. Maybe it will work.

  49. Wow. This is great and it reminds me of a cake my grandmother used to make when I was a kid. I’m gonna give it a try. Thanks!

  50. Stunning cake Farida so lovely and moist!! I could just eat a slice with my cuppa right now 😀

    Rosie x

  51. Feride’cigim,
    cok lezzetli olmusa benziyor cheesecake ‘in cok begendim canim.Ellerine saglik!!
    Kayinvaliden geldi mi Azerbaycan’a?
    izmir’den kucak dolusu sevgiler:-))

  52. Gloria: I am so glad you tried the recipe! Gracias, amiga!

    Helen: Thank you! I hope you get to make it one day.

    Maya: Move close to our place, I’ll give you the whole cake:)

    Coimbra: Muchas gracias!

    Ozlem: Welcome to my blog! I am glad you like it here! I am flattered:) What a nice coincidence with your mom’s name:)) Sana da anne’ne de ve tum Turkiye’ye kucak dolusu sevgiler!!!

    Aparn: Thank you! Re the subscription. I really don’t know what the problem might be. Please let me know if the new subscription works. Thanks a lot!

    Zenchef: How nice! Hope you get to make it soon:)

    Rosie: Thank you!

    Hulya: Tesekkurler! Sana private mesaj yazicam simdi.

  53. It’s as if sunshine has been baked right inside!

  54. That looks so tender! I’m a sucker for anything lemon, Farida!

  55. These look heavenly Farida! wish I could grab them off your blog!!

    btw, I’m hosting a Monthly Mingle event on my blog this month, and it would be great if you could participate! please check the details here hope to see you there!

  56. Susan: Thank you!

    Patricia: Thanks! If you love lemon, well, then, stay tuned for my next post:)

  57. Hi. I stumbled upon this recipe from TasteSpotting and the cake looks so yummy. Is there anything I could use in place of the vanilla powder though? Thanks.

  58. Mansi: Thank you!

    Julie: Julie, thank you for stopping by. Glad you like the recipe. Vanilla power adds some flavor to the taste, but it is optional, the cake will taste great without it too. So, don’t worry if you can’t use any powder. Hope your cake turns out great! Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions during the process.

  59. your cake looks delicious!

  60. Hi again. lol I’m thinking of making this over the weekend, but I wanted to make sure that I get the correct type of cheese. Is part skim milk cheese, ricotta cheese? Thanks.

  61. Farida – I’m putting together a cookbook of my large extended family’s favorite recipes, using an online software to produce the hardcopy book. One of my brothers submitted your recipe for your cheese and yogurt cake with lemon, along with your excellent photo. I’m writing to ask permission to reprint both recipe and photo, with attribution to you, in this family cookbook.

    So glad to have discovered your website and blogs while trying to track you down!!! I see lots to explore and try!,

  62. Thank you. It was my first pie which doesn’t remind fried eggs but is edible=D Thank you!

  63. I made this cake and it tastes great. Thank you for the recipe! 🙂

  64. F?rid? xan?m )))) thanks a lot for sharing this recipe. Shame to admit that this is a first cake in my life but the delicious result i got will for sure will make me to continue. With the help of your website of course.

  65. Farida, I guess it will be okay to substitute lemon and lemon zest with an orange in case I don’t have it at hand?

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