Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake (Ciambella)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake, or Ciambella ~ this is a classic Italian style lemon bundt cake with lots of lemony flavor and a delicate crumb.  Pair it with a good cup of coffee and you’ve got the start to a great day.

Lemon yogurt breakfast cake sliced on waxed paper

Not to be confused with dessert, this gorgeous cake is a classic Italian style breakfast cake.  It’s not overly sweet, with a subtle lemon flavor,  just like it would be served in Italy.   The cake is soft and pillowy, and the lemony flavor shines through beautifully, ~ it just begs for a perfect cup of espresso to go along with.   A little jam, lemon curd, or a nice dunk in your coffee wouldn’t be a bad idea either.  I’m convinced this is what breakfast was meant to be.

lemon yogurt breakfast cake sliced

This Italian style lemon pound cake is a nice change from the oil soaked coffee shop lemon pound cakes.   Honestly, I never met a lemon cake I didn’t love, and I’ll take it any way I can get it, so there’s room for both in my world :)  But there’s something very elegant and not at all decadent about this simple cake.  The flavors of Italian ciambelle are as varied as bundt cakes here in the US, but citrus is one of the favorites.  This recipe includes fresh lemon juice as well as zest, and definitely don’t skip the zest, it may seem like a small addition, but the flavor impact is huge.  The oils in the peel hold most of the lemon’s flavor.

lemon yogurt breakfast bundt cake with slice taken

This cake is baked in a regular bundt pan, and I serve it baked side up so the pretty texture shows.  It catches the powdered sugar nicely, and looks prettier that way.  It’s an ideal bake for a brunch or luncheon, book group, pot luck, or office party.

Lemon breakfast cake batter in a bundt pan

Tips for baking the perfect Ciambella, or Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake ~

  • Invest in a good sturdy nonstick bundt pan, they aren’t expensive.  I like Nordic Ware, they’ve been around for ages.  You can also use a traditional ring shaped pan for a more authentic look.
  • Whatever pan you choose, you must butter it well, getting in all the nooks and crannies, and then dust with flour, shaking off the excess.  It really makes a difference.  I find cooking spray does not give the same results so I always butter and flour.
  • For the best texture, beat your eggs well.  The air you beat into them helps the cake rise.  I used my stand mixer with the whisk attachment to mix this cake.
  • Once you add your dry ingredient, don’t over mix, blend just until everything is combined.
  • Check your cake on the early side, because you don’t want to over cook.
  • Let your cooked cake cool for about 10 minutes, then loosen around the edges with a thin spreading knife before flipping over.
  • If you’re yearning for a moister cake, I’d recommend adding a glaze to the top while it’s still warm.  The glaze will sink in and add lots of moisture, as well as an intense hit of lemon.  I’ve added instructions below.  I like it both ways.

lemon breakfast cake sliced

tvfgi recommends: a great basic bundt pan

Bundt pans come in all sorts of wonderful shapes and sizes, which is great, except that you never know how your pan is going to work with a specific recipe.  I like to use this one from Wilton which is a basic, all purpose pan that’s sturdy, nonstick, and a standard size.  The simple fluted shape insures an easy release, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

*recipe lightly adapted from She Loves Biscotti

Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake
Rate this recipe
3 ratings

Category: breakfast, snack, dessert

Cuisine: Italian

Yield: serves 10-12

Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake


    dry ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
    wet ingredients
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup full fat yogurt
  • zest from 1 or 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (zest your lemon before juicing!)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F
  2. Butter and flour and bundt pan.
  3. Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs for 2 minutes until pale and thick. Gradually beat in the sugar.
  5. Blend in the rest of the wet ingredients and mix well.
  6. Fold in the dry ingredients and mix just until completely blended.
  7. Turn the batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until just beginning to turn golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Don't over bake.
  8. Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out. I like to flip it over so the rough edge faces up. Let cool completely before dusting with sugar.

Make this lemon yogurt breakfast cake your own ~

  • Want to make this cake into a super decadent experience?  Serve it with some HOMEMADE CLOTTED CREAM.
  • Add a lemon syrup ~ If you’d like to add extra lemon flavor, plus moisture to this cake, made a lemon syrup to pour over the warm cake: heat 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar is dissolved.  Let cool.  After you have removed the cake from the pan, poke holes all over the top with a skewer.  Spoon the syrup over the top, letting it sink into the holes.
  • Add a lemon glaze ~ Mix 1 cup confectioner’s sugar with enough fresh lemon juice to make a spreadable glaze.  Drizzle or spread over the cooled cake.
  • You can use milk, cream, or buttermilk in place of the yogurt.
  • For an authentic Italian flavor try using olive oil (pure, not extra virgin) for the vegetable oil.


don’t forget to pin this Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake

Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake, or Ciambella ~ this is a classic Italian style lemon bundt cake with lots of lemony flavor and a delicate crumb. Pair it with a good cup of coffee and you've got the start to a great day. #cake #lemoncake #italiancake #breakfast #coffeecake #bundtcake #dessert #teacake #afternoontea #snackcake #ciambella #ringcake #citrus #Meyerlemon #lemondessert

You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply


  • Reply
    December 2, 2018 at 5:04 am

    I am hoping to make this cake as part of a gift for a lemon lover. I don’t see anywhere what size bundt pan you used. Will you please clarify for me? Thank you.

    • Reply
      December 2, 2018 at 7:06 am

      Great question Amy, and I just added my recommendation to the post, it’s just above the recipe. There are so many different bundt pans and it seems like none of them use standardized measurements…some use volume, some use inches, sheesh!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Thank you for the recipe!
    I was plased by the result and surprised with the taste!
    Our B&B guests loved it.

    • Reply
      December 2, 2018 at 7:07 am

      I love the thought of this being served at a B&B <3

  • Reply
    September 30, 2018 at 5:34 am

    Good morning! This looks great – do you think using Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt would make any difference? Can’t wait to try this!

    • Reply
      September 30, 2018 at 8:01 am

      That won’t make any difference, Megan, go ahead and use any yogurt you like.

  • Reply
    September 27, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    It is the 3rd time I’ve baked this cake, and it only makes me bake more! It is really the best cake ever to dip in coffee, call it “continental breakfast in style” and …..have a second slice! Thank you, Sue

    • Reply
      December 2, 2018 at 7:07 am

      You’re an expert in this cake by now Alexandra!!

  • Reply
    August 3, 2018 at 9:52 am

    Amazing! Added a little chopped rosemary, used half olive oil and half melted butter for the oil, and used the lemon syrup. My 11 year old son had three pieces! We love it; thank you! :)

  • Reply
    July 19, 2018 at 5:45 pm

    This looks amazing! Would coconut do well in place of the veg oil? I have some lemonchello I can use as a glaze too yumm

    • Reply
      July 19, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      I have not made it that way, but you can substitute coconut oil. Just be sure that it’s in liquid form when you measure it, and when you mix it in. Also, make sure that your other ingredients are at room temperature, because if they’re cold they can solidify the coconut oil. Let us know how it tastes if you try it! I prefer to bake with refined coconut oil rather than unrefined, because the flavor is milder.

  • Reply
    July 3, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    I made this tonight. Dee-lish! I used sour cream instead of yogurt as my store didn’t have full fat, organic. I spread some pitted cherries on a shallow layer at the bottom before pouring the remainder of the batter. I’m wondering now how a little limoncello drizzled over the top would be? I think I’ll try that next time, as I like the texture and flavor of this delicious lemony breakfast bread! Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      July 3, 2018 at 9:41 pm

      I have pounds and pounds of cherries right now…might have to try this!

  • Reply
    Martha collins
    June 13, 2018 at 7:46 am

    I am going to make this cake this week end. I may add a drop of lemonciello I bought in Rome.
    Where is great island?

    • Reply
      June 13, 2018 at 8:12 am

      My great island is in New Hampshire, believe it or not! I lived there when I started the blog, but I’m now in Los Angeles.

      • Reply
        June 13, 2018 at 8:13 am

        …how about a limoncello glaze??

  • Reply
    May 14, 2018 at 7:20 am

    I made this cake with buttermilk (to use up some leftover), and it was delicious!

    Question: is it supposed to rise very high? Mine was flatter than I expected, and all of your pics are overview, so it was hard to tell if I should have expected a taller cake. The cake didn’t fall: the crumb was perfect.

    • Reply
      May 14, 2018 at 7:55 am

      This doesn’t rise really high because it’s got that dense, Italian texture, if that makes sense. It’s not big and tall like American bundts tend to be…I just realized going to check the photos on the post that all the pics are overview, so you can’t see the height, sorry!

      • Reply
        May 14, 2018 at 8:29 am

        It bugged me so I went and found a side-ish photo for you :) I’ve updated the post with it.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2018 at 5:56 am

    Hi Sue!!
    How can I adjust the recipe if I want to make gluten free version?
    Thank you so much


    • Reply
      April 22, 2018 at 8:27 am

      Hey Sylvia ~ I can’t say for sure because I haven’t tried it, but I would try a good gluten free baking mix like Bob’s Red Mill and just replace the flour. I don’t think any other adjustments would be necessary.

  • Reply
    Blueberry Coconut Scones - Inside BruCrew Life
    April 13, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    […] slice or two of this light and fluffy Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake from The View from Great Island and a bowl of fruit would be perfect for breakfast or […]

  • Reply
    Blueberry Lemon Muffins - Delicious, Quick And Easy To Make
    April 11, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    […] all time favorite recipes on my site! Lemon-Lime Bundt Cake makes for a refreshing spring dessert. Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake from The View From The Great Island is a fantastic way to get your day going. Homemade Blueberry […]

  • Reply
    Any Given Wednesday - theavidpen
    April 11, 2018 at 5:11 am

    […] recipe for Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake from The View from Great Island looks A-MAZING! (Pronounce that word like Penny Hartz from Happy […]

  • 1 2