This stunning citrus cake comes together in essentially one bowl and one step

This citrus cake is a stunner in every way. Just look at it!

Published April 8, 2022 4:00PM (EDT)

Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop sylist: Alya Hameedi (Food52 / Julia Gartland)
Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop sylist: Alya Hameedi (Food52 / Julia Gartland)

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This citrus cake is a stunner in every way. First of all, just look at it. Secondly, the recipe — from Yasmin Khan's even more gripping cookbook "Ripe Figs" — comes together in essentially one bowl and one step (two if you count the twirl of extra-tangy frosting). No need to cream the butter and sugar, add eggs one by one, or pre-sift dry ingredients. In it all goes, with mindful mixing and full-fat yogurt to keep it tender.

As Yasmin writes in "Ripe Figs," "Cyprus is known for its abundance of citrus fruit and throughout the island, you can find oranges, lemons, limes, pomelos, grapefruits, tangerines, and many other local varieties that blossom in its fertile Mediterranean climate. You can use any kind of citrus for this cake, though I've suggested starting with oranges and lemons.

"The recipe is inspired by a tangy orange cake I ate at the Home café in Nicosia, a unique space that sits within the Green Line separating the North and the South of the island. I loved the flavor so much that I immediately went to the counter and asked what was in it, and they let me in on the secret of plain yogurt in the batter, which gives the cake a lovely soft crumb. As there is a lot of zest used in this recipe, I recommend buying organic or unwaxed citrus fruit. This cake keeps well in an airtight container for a couple of days, although I doubt it will last that long."

A few more tips: Unlike heavily sweetened cream cheese frostings, this recipe is tangy and bright from yogurt and citrus, and may run gorgeously over the sides of your cake. If you'll be garnishing soon before serving, you can finely zest the orange and lemon over the top with a Microplane or other grater. Or, if you'd like it to make it earlier in the day, thicker curls of zest will hold their color and fragrance for longer. You can use either a cocktail zester or peel thick strips of zest with a vegetable peeler, slice them thinly, and (optional but fun) curl 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: Citrus Cake from Yasmin Khan

8 servings
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour


For the cake

  • 1 cup (225 grams) softened unsalted butter, plus more for the pans
  • 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 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) full-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated unwaxed orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice

For the frosting

  • 2/3 cup (80 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 12 ounces (350 grams) full-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) full-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Orange and unwaxed lemon, to zest for garnish


  1. Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter two 8-inch (20cm) round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. Place all the ingredients for the cake together in a large bowl and beat just until the streaks of flour disappear — an electric mixer will make quick work of it, or you can easily beat by hand, especially if the butter is quite soft.
  3. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until lightly golden, 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 frosting, mix together the confectioners' sugar, cream cheese, yogurt, and orange and lemon juices and beat until smooth. Place this in the refrigerator to chill and firm up while the cake cools.
  5. When the cake is completely cool, use an offset spatula to spread half the frosting on one cake. Place the other on top and cover with the rest of the frosting. Finish by decorating with a scattering of orange and lemon zests (see Author Notes above for tips).


Recipe adapted very slightly from "Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus" (‎W. W. Norton & Company, May 2021).

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