This awesome citrus cake basically comes together in a bowl and a step

This citrus cake is a stunner in every way. First, look at it. Second, the recipe – from Yasmin Khan’s even more captivating cookbook “Ripe Figs” – basically comes together in one bowl and one step (two if you count the swirl of extra-tangy glaze). No need to cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs one at a time or pre-sift the dry ingredients. Anything goes, with conscious mixing and full-fat yogurt to keep it tender.

As Yasmin writes in “Ripe Figs”, “Cyprus is known for its abundance of citrus fruits and throughout the island you can find oranges, lemons, limes, pomelos, grapefruits, tangerines and many other landraces that flourish in its fertile Mediterranean.You can use any type of citrus fruit for this cake, although I’ve suggested starting with oranges and lemons.

“The recipe is inspired by a tangy orange cake I ate at Home Café in Nicosia, a unique space that sits inside the green line separating the north and south of the island. I liked the flavor so much that I immediately went to the counter and asked what was in it, and they told me the secret of plain yogurt in the batter, which gives the cake a nice fluffy crumb. there is a lot of zest used in this recipe, I recommend buying organic or unwaxed citrus This cake keeps well in an airtight container for a few days, although I doubt it will last that long.

A few extra tips: Unlike super-sweet cream cheese frostings, this recipe is tangy and shiny thanks to the yogurt and citrus, and can flow beautifully down the sides of your cake. If you want to garnish shortly before serving, you can finely zest the orange and lemon on top with a Microplane or other grater. Or, if you want to make it earlier in the day, thicker zest curls will retain their color and scent longer. You can use a cocktail zester or peel thick strips of zest with a vegetable peeler, thinly slice them and (optional but fun) wrap them around your fingers. The result will be similar to the cake in the photo above, inspired by the beautiful version in “Ripe Figs”.


Recipe: Yasmin Khan Citrus Cake


For the cake

  • 1 cup (225 grams) softened unsalted butter, plus more for casseroles
  • 1 3/4 cups (225 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) full-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated untreated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

For the icing

  • 2/3 cup (80 grams) icing sugar
  • 12 ounces (350 grams) whole cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) full-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Untreated orange and lemon, zested for garnish


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter two 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Place all the cake ingredients together in a large bowl and beat until the flour streaks disappear – an electric mixer will do a quick job, or you can easily beat by hand, especially if the butter is soft enough.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until lightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack.
  4. To make the icing, combine the icing sugar, cream cheese, yogurt, and orange and lemon juices and beat until smooth. Place it in the refrigerator to cool and firm while the cake cools.
  5. When the cake is completely cool, use an offset spatula to spread half of the frosting over a cake. Place the other on top and cover with the rest of the frosting. Finish by decorating with a scattering of orange and lemon zest (see author’s notes above for tips).

Recipe very slightly adapted from “Ripe figs: recipes and stories from Turkey, Greece and Cyprus” (‎WW Norton & Company, May 2021).

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