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Maple Yogurt Pound Cake

I rarely make the same thing twice. If something truly blows me out of the water — as this did — I’ll make something like it again. Something like it, mind you; never identical. I like recipes, but I don’t really like following them. I’d rather just take an old idea and riff on it. That’s what I do best. So when I take out my pen, when I actually skip over to the fridge every ten seconds to scribble how much maple syrup I’m pouring into the bowl, you better believe whatever it is I’m making will absolutely knock your socks off.

Such is the case with this cake.

Chalk it up to the weather, but I’ve been on a serious maple kick recently. I guess it all started two Sundays ago, when I was whacked square across the face with the world’s biggest craving for maple syrup. This was no small itch: I’m serious, people. I just wanted to shmear maple syrup all over my face. I could’ve tipped the jug and drunk it straight. It was that kind of craving.

How did I get from straight-no-chaser to the more subtle, more refined loaf you see here? Well, admittedly there was a middle step that involved hot toast drizzled with the stuff, which calmed me down a bit. Also, while I’m being honest, I also recently discovered this thick, viscous maple butter that’s found its way onto more than one piece of challah. So the craving was fed. But still, I really wanted to make a cake. I wanted a loaf that I could slice up, take to work, and enjoy some maple on the road. Since maple goes so well with tart flavors like lemon and apple and berries, I thought I might do well to add it to a yogurt pound cake base. I checked out a few yogurt cake recipes to start; all of them called for sugar, and I was concerned replacing all the sugar with syrup would change the texture of the cake, making it too moist. My maple craving was stronger than this concern, though, so I did it anyway. If you have maple sugar on hand, feel free to use it in place of some of the syrup.

There are distinct upsides to using all syrup, though. First, the woodsy syrup and the tangy yogurt do something absolutely lovely together. But more importantly, they create an ultra-moist cake, a cake so moist it’s a bit reminiscent of custard. This custardy texture is even more pronounced if you take a slice of the cake and toast it. Then it’s truly crisp on the outside and luscious within. In a subtle, have-a-slice-with-tea kind of way, this cake is perfect.

Maple Yogurt Cake
inspired by Bon Appetit

1/2 cup maple syrup, preferably grade B
3/4 cup yogurt
1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter 8 1/2×4 1/2×2 1/2-inch metal loaf pan.

Combine syrup, yogurt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest. Stir or whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and stir to incorporate. Add oil, and fold gradually until oil absorbs into the batter.

Place cake on baking sheet in oven and bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack 5 minutes. Cut around pan sides to loosen cake. Turn cake out onto rack. Turn cake upright on rack and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap and store at room temperature.)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • avis March 5, 2010,

    Can I use fat-free plain yogurt? It’s what I normally have on hand but this looks like it deserves some full fat stuff if it wants it.
    This is going to be either the first or second thing I make post Lent.

  • Aliza S. March 5, 2010,

    Looks amazing, Riv! How do you think it would be with brown sugar?

  • rivka March 6, 2010,

    Avis – I think you’d probably be fine with fat-free yogurt, since there’s already fat in the cake from the oil, but let us know how it turns out if you try it. Aliza — I bet it’d be even more flavorful with brown sugar, but I skipped it for fear that the cake would be too moist (is there such a thing?) Again, if you try it — lemme know!

  • Trinity March 6, 2010,

    that looks so gorgeous and fluffy! i’ve been feeling the maple syrup lately too.

  • Bri Rossi March 7, 2010,

    I love yogurt cake. Every since I found Ina Garten’s recipe, I have been making variations but have yet to try maple syrup! I love your blog as well. It has been an inspiration for my own!

  • rivka March 7, 2010,

    aww thanks! I’m blushing 🙂

  • Marty L. March 9, 2010,

    Perhaps it’s that I used a meyer lemon, but mine came out a bit too lemony, not maple-y enough. I’d propose cutting back the lemon rind to half a teaspoon.

    • rivka March 9, 2010,

      Did you use grade B maple syrup? I should have specified that that’s what I used: it gave the cake a more pronounced maple flavor. Recipe updated.

  • Marty L. March 9, 2010,

    I did. I think the meyer lemon is just too strong a flavor for these purposes — plus I think I missed that magic moment between underdone and overdone in the oven. Very good, mind you, but not quite what you described.

  • Sarah March 12, 2010,


    I also missed that magical moment between underdone and overdone, however I miss it just about every time I bake so I’m use to it.

    My cake came out a little crispy on the outside (not burnt) which is okay with me, it was really tasty and moist! I used nonfat yogurt and brown sugar because that’s what I had.

    I also have no clue what the different between maple syrup grades are, I suppose that’ll be my next cooking lesson.

  • Joanne March 17, 2010,

    I feel you on the maple craving. I definitely have those days where it’s all I want to eat. You should try this maple mousse cake that I made back in January. It was divine!

    This cake, however, looks amazing. I’m completely enamored with it.

  • Nina March 18, 2010,

    Hi! I just discovered your blog today via the “Baking Bites” blog, and I love it already! The maple cake sounds really good, so I’m planning to try it this weekend and will let you know how it turns out. One question: what kind of oil do you use? I typically use canola oil when I cook, but would vegetable (or some other) oil be preferable?


    • rivka March 18, 2010,

      Welcome, Nina! I used canola, but any vegetable oil will do. Olive oil also might be lovely; let us know how it turns out!

  • Nina March 21, 2010,

    I made this today–it is out of this world! I used canola oil and followed the recipe to a “T.” I’ll definitely be making this one again. Thanks!

  • Ashley March 24, 2010,

    I didn’t used to like maple syrup at all but now that I’ve found this one amazing one I’m a total fiend. This cake looks amazing and I will definitely try making it! How you described it as having a custardy texture sounds so very delicious.

  • Linda March 26, 2010,

    Just made this for a friend and her husband. She said her husband “devoured” it. And I mentioned what you said about toasting it and she said that was wonderful with some butter slathered on top (even the fake stuff!). I’m sure even better with the real stuff but I thought I’d share the comment. She rarely asks me for a recipe but she asked for this one. Thanks for a great recipe!