Lemon Yogurt Sheet Cake

Every year about this time, I feel the need to discover the summer’s best dessert. Last year it was this ethereal Berries on a Cloud (you must make it). This year it’s lemon cake. But not just any lemon cake. Glazed Lemon Yogurt Sheet Cake.

It’s a spin off from one of my favorite quick breads and quite honestly, I think I prefer the cake version over the bread version. It’s less dense and well, more light and fluffy and cakey. And I guess what I’m saying is, while I love lemon bread, I really, really heart lemon cake.

The cake itself is not overly sweet but gets a boost of lemon flavor and sweetness from the light lemony glaze poured over the top while it’s still warm. Let’s pause as we all contemplate the loveliness of warm, glazed cake. Ok, moving on.

Lemon Yogurt Sheet Cake

Basically, if you love lemon desserts and if you like lighter fare during the summer and if you appreciate and admire from-scratch cakes that come together quickly and are unfussy, this cake is for you (PS if you feel zesting a lemon is fussy, then ignore that last statement).

This cake, well-covered, stays moist for several days and dare I say, it may even taste better a few hours or half a day after baking instead of being eaten right away. But as mentioned above, we’ve been guilty of diving in while it’s still warm and actually, I take that whole better thing back – it’s divine either way. I have a feeling our summer is going to be filled with (in no particular order): sun, popsicles, mosquitoes, bike rides, late bedtimes, and lemon yogurt sheet cake.

One Year Ago:Β Sour Cream Lime Tart {Or Pie!}
Two Years Ago:Β Broiled Parmesan and Lemon Chicken
Three Years Ago:Β Grilled Teriyaki Chicken

Glazed Lemon Yogurt Sheet Cake

Yield: Makes a 9X13-inch sheet cake

Glazed Lemon Yogurt Sheet Cake

If you don't have applesauce or don't want to use it, just up the oil amount to 3/4 cup instead of 1/2 (conversely, you could experiment adding more applesauce in place of the oil although I haven't tried it). With the freshly squeezed lemon juice in the cake and in the glaze, you'll probably need about 4 large lemons for this recipe. Don't forget to zest them before you juice them! Also, if you don't have a zester, you can use the small holes of a box grater to zest the lemon - just take care not shred too deep into the rind of the lemon (the white part is bitter!).


  • 2 3/4 cups (about 13.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon zest (from about 3 lemons)
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil (coconut, canola, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup no-sugar added applesauce (see note)
  • 1 cup plain lowfat yogurt or plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9X13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the lemon zest and sugar and lightly rub together with your fingers until well combined (this releases the oils in the zest and amplifies lemon flavor). Whisk in the eggs, oil, applesauce, yogurt, lemon juice and vanilla; mixing well.
  4. Stir in the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined (don't overmix!).
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs.
  6. While the cake is baking, whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and pourable (I use the full 2 tablespoons lemon juice but you might want to start with the lesser amount and add more, as needed, if you don't want your glaze quite as runny). Let the cake rest for 10 minutes after baking and then pour the glaze over the warm cake.
  7. Serve warm, at room temperature or chilled. This cake, if well-covered, stays moist for several days.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (adapted from one of my favorite quick breads – this Lemon Yogurt bread)

67 Responses to Glazed Lemon Yogurt Sheet Cake

  1. Lisa says:

    I found this recipe earlier in the summer and have made it three times thus far–about to make it again today for an end-of-summer party. It is a huge crowd pleaser and my new favorite cake recipe! Easy, light but rich, pretty and satisfying. I don’t bother with the apple sauce and don’t mind the additional coconut oil, which I love baking with lately.

  2. I made this recently and it was fabulous! Light, lemony and totally scrummy. I took it into work and it was gone in minutes! Thanks Mel.

  3. Terry A. says:

    I made this for the first time today, and it is delicious! I used my own homemake yogurt that I made in the Instant Pot! Have you tried that yet? It works great!

    Thanks for the great recipes!

  4. Rachel says:

    for all of you who are wondering if you can double it and put it in a 11×17 jelly roll, I did this and it overflowed all over my oven!!!

  5. Marne Clark says:

    I’m making two of these for part of our stake fireside refreshments tomorrow night. I’m sure they will turn out great, can’t go wrong with lemon! Plus this is a healthier sheet cake recipe. Love that.

    • Marne Clark says:

      FYI: I made one full recipe plus a half (except I only did 5 eggs total) and that amount fit perfectly in a jelly roll pan for a Texas size sheet cake! They look and smell amazing!

  6. Cindy says:

    This is absolutely my new favorite cake! I’ve made it twice now and this time was the best. I didn’t have applesauce so I used a combination of coconut oil and canola. I like a really intense lemony flavor so I added more zest and about a TBS more lemon juice. I took it to a church luncheon and had two pieces left. I just froze the two pieces to keep from eating them, and then I scraped the pan clean to get the last lovely bits! Yum!! You chocolate lovers can have your rich chocolate, I’ll take fresh lemon cake any day!

  7. Amy G says:

    Does anyone know if this will work as a layer cake? Would like to use it for my son’s birthday cake.

  8. Paige says:

    Hi Mel, Is it okay not to refrigerate this cake, since there is yogurt in the glaze?

  9. Red says:

    I was just looking for a recipe to use some plain yogurt!! glad I stumbled on to your site!!


  10. Karen says:

    Hi Mel, do you think I could bake this in a 15×10 pan to make it more like bars?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Karen – I think that should work; since I haven’t tried it, I’m not sure exactly how thin they would be but the cake is fairly thick in a 9X13-inch so I’m saying it’s worth a try. Let me know if you do!

  11. Lindsey R says:

    I am curious. You taught us how to make cake flour for the perfect yellow cake–and it was perfect. But since then you don’t ask us to use cake flour. I’m assuming that is because cake flour isn’t a basic pantry ingredient. So my question? Do you use cake flour when the cake is just for you and not for us readers?

    This lemon cake just came out of the oven and I am trying to figure out how to eat some without my guests figuring out the cake has already been taken!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Lindsey – I don’t make things differently for my family than how they appear on my blog (basically what you see is what you get) if that makes sense. So for this recipe, I posted it with all-purpose flour since that is what I used. I think knowing how to make cake flour is a really nifty tip but I don’t use cake flour in every cake recipe I make. I actually made this cake with cake flour the first time and didn’t like the outcome (texture-wise) which is why I changed to all-purpose flour. Some cake recipes really benefit from cake flour and others it doesn’t seem to matter so much. Hope that helps!

      • Lindsey R says:

        Thanks for satisfying my curiosity and the help in understanding flours. I love how all of your work in making these recipes makes my kitchen work fun. Knowing things will work does make cooking fun. Only if now I could have a cleaning robot.

  12. Nita says:

    This cake is delicious! I made it for our barbecue yesterday and everyone loved it. I’m surprised it even turned out good for me since I had forgotten all the eggs! My batter was stiff and not pouring at all and then I realized why, so I just beats the eggs and mixed them in, the cake still came out tasting delicious. I will be making this again soon and I’ll make sure I don’t forget anything. πŸ™‚

  13. Jen K. says:

    I made this and its taking much longer to bake than the recipe states. I noticed that its called “sheet” cake. Could the pan size be wrong (13×9)? Also, in the pic the cake looks a bit thin. This made me think the pan should be larger so the cake would bake in the stated time.

    • Mel says:

      Jen K. – The cake size is correct (9X13) – they are often called sheet cakes as well as the larger sized sheet cakes (like a big Texas Sheet Cake made in an 11X17-inch pan). The difference in baking time could be individual ovens – are you using a gas oven?

      • Jen K says:

        Yes, I’m using a gas oven. It turned out fine with a longer baking time & everyone at our Father’s Day dinner loved it.

  14. melanie b says:

    Someone brought this to our book group/lunch today. Delicious! We also enjoyed a bunch of other delicious recipes from you as part of our potluck. Wish you could be here as we discuss our books and your recipes each month. Thanks for being so good at what you do!

  15. Lynda says:

    Made this last night for my students studying for the bar. It is a HIT!!!! Very lemony and oh so good. I had to use lemon extract (1 1/2 tablespoons) in place of the lemon zest because I couldn’t get the zester to work right, but this is DEFINITELY a keeper recipe!!!! Thank you.

  16. Rachey says:

    My friend and I keep trying to “out-lemon” each other and I think I lemoned her out. SOOO good.

  17. Alicia says:

    Perfect. Thanks for the quick response! Looking forward to making this. Lemon sounds perfect when it’s a zillion degrees outside (only slightly exaggerating–I live in Arizona). πŸ™‚

  18. Alicia says:

    Mel, I’m guessing that I can double this and it should work in a jelly roll pan, right? I can’t quite tell how thick the cake is, but I need cake for a large crowd this weekend.

    • Mel says:

      Alicia – This cake is actually quite thick – I’m worried if doubled it might overflow a rimmed baking sheet (11X17) – I’d probably just halve the recipe again (1 1/2 total) and try that.

  19. I love sheet cake and lemon! Can’t wait to try this.

  20. Kayla G. says:

    Made this cake tonight for a church event tomorrow. Just put the glaze on and it smells AMAZINGGG. Worst part? Can’t cut into it until tomorrow! From what the batter tastes like it’s going to be so, so good. Thanks, Mel, for yet another winner!! Can always count on you for the best recipes!

    • Kayla G. says:

      Yup, confirmed-it’s fantastic! Only had a few pieces leftover from a church dinner! I think it will make a great breakfast tomorrow. πŸ™‚

  21. Sara says:

    Cake was delish! I ran out of all purpose so I subbed white whole wheat. Not sure if that’s why it took longer to bake than the recipe called for.

  22. Emily says:

    We like lemons, but LOVE limes, so I swapped the lemon ingredients for limes and it worked great. I am doing a week of lime desserts as a lead up to Father’s Day, and my husband was very happy with this one. I was happy it was relatively healthy. Thanks!

  23. Ava says:

    Moist, yummy, lemony deliciousness. Thanks for the recipe…

  24. Christin says:

    I made this last night (it’s so easy and quick!) and I am the saviour of the office today. It is absolutely delicious and I’ll definitely be making it again and again. Thank so much, Mel!

  25. Lindy Baker says:

    This looks delicious. I am a sucker for anything lemon! Have you ever tried making your white sheet cake into a lemon version? I LOVE that cake and really love the idea of it in a jelly roll pan. What’s your opinion?

  26. Cathy says:

    I LOVE having a lemon tree!!!

  27. Juanita Albright says:

    I made this cake right away – it is beyond amazing. I love lemon so that sold me right off. The cake is moist and absolutely delicious. Bad thing is – the pan is sitting on my kitchen counter calling my name every time I walk through.

  28. sara says:

    YUM! This looks so good…I love yogurt cake.

  29. Tamra says:

    This looks so good. I make a cheater version with cake mix and flavoured greek yoghurt. But all the lemon juice and zest in this one sounds amazing. I might tweak it just a tiny bit and use blueberry greek yoghurt instead of plain!! Love blueberry and lemon together. Thanks for the recipe. Pinning it to use for our next church dinner.

  30. Jenny says:

    I made this cake yesterday and it turned out wonderful! My boys were begging for thirds! I love all of your recipes, Mel! Thanks so much for sharing.

  31. how delicious! like everyone else, i’m a big fan of sheet cakes. so easy=more time to eat cake…hah!

  32. For all the fancy layer cakes out there, I will always have an affinity for good ol’ sheet cakes! And this one looks ah-mazing!!!

  33. Cammee says:

    You had me at lemon.

  34. Jessica says:

    Looks just lovely Mel! Another lemon winner! Perfect for a family BBQ!

  35. This looks super moist (sorry/not sorry( and love how it looks quite light rather than a stodgy chocolate cake!

  36. Ann D. says:

    Hi Mel, This looks delicious! I accidently checked to notify me if there was a new message regarding your giveaway, and I can’t figure out how to reverse that! I am getting hundreds and hundreds of emails everytime a new person enters to win. I do not want to unsubscribe to your wonderful thing altogether. Can you help me figure out how not to receive every single person’s comment? Thanks so much! I love all of your stuff!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Ann – I just deleted your email from the subscription to the giveaway comments so you shouldn’t receive anymore. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Ann D. says:

        Thank you so much, Mel! Many times I do check it to receive new comments to your recipes, so I did this by accident! I appreciate it and love your blog!!! Best one out there!

  37. Jen T says:

    Lemon desserts for summer are just divine, and this looks amazing! Having the missionaries for dinner this week, so will put this on the menu. Thanks Mel!

  38. I must make this! I love lemon anything and this looks like the perfect summer dessert. And I’m so excited because I have everything for it! I bet it would be really good with some blueberries stirred in.

  39. Such a yummy cake! Love this!

  40. AnnieK says:

    I know technically I’m not supposed to try new recipes for guests (according to Ina Garten)…but this looks spectacular & I am going to make it this weekend for a company picnic in a 15 x 10 sheet pan πŸ˜‰ gasp!! Thanks, Mel! You help me be brave πŸ™‚

  41. Lemon cake is one of my favorite desserts. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  42. Debbie Webster says:

    I am definitely going to use this! I wonder if it would work with limes. Ooh or orange. What do you think?

  43. Melissa says:

    Hi Mel!

    I’m so glad you posted this recipe because I just made the bread version and everyone loved it! I was wondering how this could be made into a cake and voila. …you post it!!

  44. Kathryn says:

    This looks divine! I will definitely be making this and topping with strawberries as soon as they come into season here in MI πŸ™‚

  45. Girl, how did you know that sheet cakes are my spirit animal?!

  46. Becky says:

    I hope I am never forced to choose a favorite between chocolate or lemon desserts…it would be like having to pick a favorite child πŸ™‚

    I can’t wait to try this!

  47. This cake looks like perfection! Lemon desserts are the best, and just look at that layer of glaze atop that light and fluffy cake. Yum! I’m excited to check out your summer menus. πŸ™‚

  48. Shel says:

    LOVE lemon-y desserts! Thanks for sharing Mel. FWIW I always juice my citrus before I zest: that way my fingers can stay safely tucked inside the the lemon and away from my extremely sharp, skin and fingernail-eating rasp!

  49. Teresa says:

    Oh, that Berries on a Cloud was definitely the best dessert of last summer, or maybe the year! I will definitely be trying this one soon. Your summer agenda sounds very old-fashioned and marvelous!

  50. Kim in MD says:

    Yeah for lemon cake! This looks heavenly, Mel!

  51. Sheila says:

    Yeah to No Oven Lovin’ Summer menus! What a valuable resource you are! Love, love, love, your berries on a cloud and “overly sweet desserts”. This yummy looking dessert looks to be something my hubby would love. Thank you, Mel!

  52. Hilary says:

    I will eat this entire thing, by myself… for breakfast.

  53. That looks awesome! Love the lemon flavors, lemon desserts are my favorite. πŸ™‚

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