Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake (Ciambella)




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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


Reader Rave ~

“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!”  ~Alexandra


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
113 ratings

Category: breakfast, snack, dessert

Cuisine: Italian

Yield: serves 10-12

Lemon Yogurt Breakfast Cake

Ingredients

    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

Instructions

  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

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75 Comments

  • Reply
    Laura
    April 10, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Fantastic recipe. I was looking for a coffee cake recipe ideally one that would use up a bunch of lemons a customer gave me. And I made it with my rice cooker. Came out beautiful. Moist and lemony and light. Will definitely make it again.

  • Reply
    HipOrganicGirl
    March 23, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Delicious – I added 3 eggs instead of 2, lemon and orange zest, juice of 1 orange, full cup of yogurt, 1 teaspoon Baking Soda and 1 baking powder, 1 c wheat instead of white flour. The color was this beautiful golden hue from the flour and extra egg. Superb crumb. Delicious, not too sweet, oh and I added blueberries to half the batter – that was a favorite add and we’ll definitely do this again! Wish I could add a pic. Nicely done!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 23, 2019 at 5:30 pm

      Yummy!

  • Reply
    Lucy
    January 8, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Hi Sue, planning to try your recipe this weekend as it looks wonderful. Are you please able to provide the measurements for the flour, sugar, oil etc in grams? I’m from the UK and not sure whether one cup of flour is the same amount as one cup of sugar/oil etc! Thanks so much

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 8, 2019 at 9:59 am

      Hey Lucy ~ that’s such a tough question, I don’t have the ability to do this automatically, and doing it for each recipe would be way too time consuming for me. I am working on a solution, but for now, I’d suggest this easy article that will give you the conversions for all the basics:http://allrecipes.co.uk/how-to/44/cooking-conversions.aspx
      Hope this helps, and I hope to have an auto convert function on my recipes soon, but, as you can imagine, unless it’s really good, it can cause more harm than good!

      • Reply
        Lucy
        January 8, 2019 at 11:13 am

        Crikey, has no idea the cup measurements were so complicated! The link looks great, thank you and will give it a try at our school bake sale.

        • Reply
          Sue
          January 8, 2019 at 11:49 am

          It’s surprisingly tricky to convert between the two systems, and very frustrating!

  • Reply
    AK
    January 6, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    I made this the other day to try a new yogurt based coffee cake type recipe. It was not good at all! Way too heavy. There’s something very wrong with the ingredient proportions and with this type of cake you don’t want to have a thick sugar and egg mixture at the beginning that’s only good for cookies, better off mixing yogurt and eggs first then adding sugar but I suggest going with a French classic yogurt cake recipe: using your individual portioned yogurt cup as a measuring cup, (approximately 25 grams) and just mixing everything together at once nice and simple !
    1 plain yogurt portion
    2 portions of sugar
    3 portions of flour
    1/2 portion of vegetable oil
    3 eggs
    2 tsp baking powder
    Pinch of salt
    For lemon follow your initial recipe : zest of 2 lemons and 1/4 cup juice.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 6, 2019 at 2:05 pm

      This cake is dense, like a pound cake, but not heavy, in my experience AK, not sure why you had that result.

  • Reply
    Lilliane
    January 3, 2019 at 11:12 am

    great recipe! I doubled the recipe and replaced the lemon with orange , very delicious!
    I was wondering if I can replace the oil with melted butter? if so, what would be difference once baked?

    thank you for sharing the recipe!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 3, 2019 at 11:16 am

      I haven’t tried it with melted butter, but you can substitute it in a 1 to 1 ratio. Report back if you try it Lilliane :)

      • Reply
        Rachel
        March 2, 2019 at 10:43 am

        I made this cake for breakfast this morning and substituted, like you said, one to one, unsalted, melted butter. It worked beautifully. The cake had a surprisingly lovely, light texture. I used generous teaspoons of baking powder, and Greek yogurt. Amazing! Served with blueberry and marionberry jam and more butter.

        • Reply
          Sue
          March 2, 2019 at 11:24 am

          That’s so great to hear Rachel, I know a lot of people prefer to bake with butter, and it’s good to know that the lovely texture remained, I think that has something to do with the yogurt. Glad you enjoyed it and thanks for coming back to give your feedback!

  • Reply
    Toni Lewis
    January 3, 2019 at 12:10 am

    Yum……gonna try this with grapefruit! Thank you.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 3, 2019 at 6:50 am

      Great idea, I want to try that too.

  • Reply
    Jenny
    December 15, 2018 at 2:29 am

    Hi Sue
    Does this keep well? If I made it on Sunday would it be ok for Tuesday?
    Looks delicious.
    Thanks
    Jenny

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 15, 2018 at 7:37 am

      It’s not one of those super moist cake mix type cakes, Jenny, but I think if you wrapped it well it should keep. Dust with the sugar when you’re ready to serve.

  • Reply
    Amy
    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
      Sue
      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
    Katarina
    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
      Sue
      December 2, 2018 at 7:07 am

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

  • Reply
    Megan
    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
      Sue
      September 30, 2018 at 8:01 am

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

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    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
      Sue
      December 2, 2018 at 7:07 am

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

  • Reply
    Amy
    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
    Elyse
    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
      Sue
      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
    Shirlee
    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
      Sue
      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
      Sue
      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
        Sue
        June 13, 2018 at 8:13 am

        …how about a limoncello glaze??

  • Reply
    Kim
    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
      Sue
      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
        Sue
        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
    Sylvia
    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

    Sylvia

    • Reply
      Sue
      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
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  • Reply
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  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Pam
    April 9, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    This breakfast cake was really good and super easy, thanks for the recipe. I made one for my family’s Easter morning and I have one in the oven now to carry to work tomorrow. I made the first one with the lemon syrup and it was good but the first bite was a big hit of lemon, for the second one I am going with the plain cake.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 9, 2018 at 6:55 pm

      Great to hear this Pam ~ especially since you tried both ways. I’m impressed that you’ve already made it twice!

  • Reply
    Cyndi B
    April 9, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    This cake was amazing! Notice I said “was”. Could not stop eating this! The absolute perfect crumb. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks Cyndi!

  • Reply
    Jeff the Chef
    April 7, 2018 at 8:07 am

    You had me at breakfast cake.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 7, 2018 at 8:35 am

      totally. :)

  • Reply
    Darlene
    April 6, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Thanks so much for another great recipe Sue! This was absolutely delicious! I used half and half instead of yogurt because I wanted to use it up. I also raised the lemon juice to 1/3 Cup and lowered the sugar to 1/2cup. I used grapeseed oil instead of canola because it’s healthier and has no flavor. The cake was was moist and light and so easy to make! Thanks again Sue!

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    April 4, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    You know breakfast cakes are my kind of cake! :) This is lovely!

  • Reply
    Donna
    April 4, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Sue, I only have extra virgin olive oil, would that be ok to use? The cake looks delicious!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 4, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      It’s going to be a matter of taste, Donna, and I think extra virgin olive oil would not be so great in this cake, the flavor will come through pretty strong. You can try, of course, and please report back!

      • Reply
        Donna
        April 4, 2018 at 7:18 pm

        Hi Sue…you were sooo right, I tried with the extra virgin olive oil and it was way to powerful! Will by regular olive oil and will definitely make it again! Thanks so much for getting back to me.

        • Reply
          Sue
          April 4, 2018 at 8:15 pm

          I would actually recommend a milder vegetable oil like safflower or canola, Donna, unless you really want the olive oil for some reason. Hope you try it again :)

          • Jane
            April 27, 2018 at 7:38 pm

            The evoo was fantastic!

          • Sue
            April 27, 2018 at 10:23 pm

            That’s great to know…I’ve been hesitant to use olive oil in my baking, so I need this push to finally try it…

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    April 2, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Sue, earlier today I followed your recipe and the cake came out wonderful, just as shown in your pictures! It tastes so good! I got a slap on my hand when reached for the third slice. And it was only afternoon tea…..thank you, Sue…

  • Reply
    Birdie
    March 31, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    I sent this recipe to my lemon loving sister..she made it today and said it was delicious..she used lemon yogurt too! Can’t wait to make this!
    Happy Easter Bunny!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 31, 2018 at 2:11 pm

      I’m thrilled that she made it so quickly and loved it, thanks for letting me know Birdie :)

  • Reply
    Donna
    March 31, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Hi Sue-

    Thank you for posting this recipe. It looks amazing! I was wondering if a full-fat lemon yogurt (like Oui) could be used or if that would be too intense. Also, I just read your bio. I live in Dover, NH, so we were practically neighbors! You definitely missed out on a snowy New England winter this year! Hope you and your family have a lovely Easter.

    Donna

  • Reply
    Donna
    March 31, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Hi Sue-

    Thank you for this recipe, it looks amazing! I was wondering if using a full-fat lemon yogurt (like Oui) would be too intense. Also, I just read your bio. I live in Dover, NH, so it turn’s out we were practically neighbors! You really missed a snowy winter this year! Hope you have a lovely Easter:) Donna

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 31, 2018 at 11:58 am

      Hey Donna, nice to meet you! I think the lemon yogurt should be fine, as long as the flavor is good to begin with. I’m jealous of all your snow, I aim to get back to your neck of the woods to live someday :)

    • Reply
      Birdie
      March 31, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Donna!
      My sister just made this cake today and she used full fat lemon yogurt..She said it is delicious!

  • Reply
    2pots2cook
    March 31, 2018 at 1:36 am

    Slice of bread with coffee before I start running through the day ? Yes, please ! Thank you and enjoy the holidays !

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    Marissa
    March 30, 2018 at 4:17 pm

    This cake is so beautiful that I expected the recipe to have a huge list of ingredients, not so! I love recipes like this that have such a payoff without a huge effort. And I’m all about cakes that are lemony and not too sweet, this one’s perfection!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 30, 2018 at 5:51 pm

      I agree with you Marissa, my cooking style is as minimal as I can get it, most of the time.

  • Reply
    Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
    March 30, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    This would be perfect with my morning coffee Sue. I never pass up a lemony cake!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    March 30, 2018 at 11:42 am

    You know I love this cake! I bet it tastes amazing and love the addition of yogurt :) Great weekend treat!

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    March 30, 2018 at 11:11 am

    Cake for breakfast is always great :-) This lemon yoghurt cake looks amazing, Sue.

  • Reply
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
    March 30, 2018 at 10:02 am

    I’ve had a lemon bundt cake, but never a Ciambella! I have been missing out, because this looks absolutely amazing! And, can you really beat having cake for breakfast? I think not! I can’t wait to try this! Pinned! Cheers!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 30, 2018 at 10:12 am

      No, you’re right, cake for breakfast is epic.

  • Reply
    Tami L Gifford
    March 30, 2018 at 8:39 am

    What size bundt pan is best?

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 30, 2018 at 9:01 am

      Hi Tami ~ I used a standard 10 cup capacity, but this is a smaller bundt cake, so it won’t fill the pan.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    March 30, 2018 at 8:21 am

    I love the wonderful moistness of yogurt cakes and I love the name ciambella! It sounds so exotic for such a simple and beautiful cake!

  • Reply
    Maria
    March 30, 2018 at 7:42 am

    Hi Sue, I love how you adapted my mom’s simple recipe for ciambella. I can confirm that growing up “italian” meant I was exposed to so many variations as every family had their own version of this wonderful simple cake. It really is perfect to have with a cup of coffee (or espresso ;) ) any time of the day. Can’t wait to try your version.
    Thanks so much for sharing ?

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