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

This citrus cake is a stunner in every way. Just look first. Second, the recipe — from Yasmin Khan’s even more gripping Ripe Figs cookbook — essentially comes together in one bowl and one step (two, if you count the swirl of extra-spicy frosting). There’s no need to cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, or pre-sift dry ingredients. Everything in there, with mindful blending and full-fat yogurt to keep it tender.

As Yasmin writes in Ripe Figs, “Cyprus is known for its abundance of citrus fruits and all across the island you can find oranges, lemons, limes, pomelos, grapefruits, tangerines and many other local varieties flowering in the fertile Mediterranean Sea You can use any Kind of use citrus for this cake, although I suggested starting with oranges and lemons.

“The recipe is inspired by a tangy orange cake I ate at Home Café in Nicosia, a unique place located within the Green Line that separates the north and south of the island. I loved the taste so much that I immediately went there 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 nice soft crumb. Since a lot of zest is used in this recipe, I recommend buying organic or unwaxed citrus fruits. This cake keeps well in an airtight container for a few 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 with yogurt and citrus and can run delightfully down the sides of your cake. If you are garnishing just before serving, you can finely grate the orange and lemon zest on top with a microplane or other grater. Or, if you want to do it earlier in the day, thicker peels will hold their color and scent longer. You can either use a cocktail zester, or peel thick strips of zest with a vegetable peeler, slice thinly, and (optional but fun) wrap them around your fingers. The result is similar to the cake in the photo above, inspired by the beautiful version in Ripe Figs.


Recipe: Yasmin Khan’s Citrus Pie


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 soda
  • 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 glaze

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


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Butter two round cake tins (20 cm) and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Combine all the cake ingredients in a large bowl and beat just until the flour streaks disappear – an electric mixer works quickly, or you can just beat by hand, especially if the butter is fairly soft.
  3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly golden. Let the cakes cool in the molds for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack.
  4. For the glaze, mix together the icing sugar, cream cheese, yoghurt, orange and lemon juice and stir until smooth. Place this in the fridge to chill and set while the cake cools.
  5. When the cake has cooled completely, use an offset spatula to spread half of the frosting onto one cake. Place the other on top and cover with the remaining frosting. Finally, garnish with some orange and lemon zest (see author’s notes above for tips).

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

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