Easy Portuguese Yogurt Cake Recipe

Portuguese Yogurt Cake

This yogurt cake is one of the best things I learned to make while in Portugal. And it’s almost fail-safe if I can make it! We usually have it for either Mother’s Day or my birthday (which are days apart), and this one we made for Mother’s Day 2020. My eight-year-old, Lisbon helped. This is my mother-in-law’s recipe, but everyone I know there makes it just about the same way.

I first fell in love with this cake as a single twenty-one-year-old when the woman who was to become my mother-in-law used to make them for me in Portugal. She’d often bring one to church for me on Sundays, wrapped in paper towels and placed in a plastic bag. My roommate and I would eat it until we couldn’t hold more. Sometimes even her sister-in-law would bring us a cake. A few short years later after I married and started having children back in the USA, my mother-in-law would make a yogurt cake every time we visited her so we could take it to the beach or to anywhere else we were traveling. It was the perfect snack. That’s when I started making them. They were so easy! 

But I could never get the yogurt cake to work in America, no matter how many videos and phone calls from Portugal. Turns out, it wasn’t just me. The first time my mother-in-law made one while visiting us in America, it didn’t rise and was raw in the middle, plus it had a weird oil taste (we ate the outside anyway, lol). The corn oil and the adjustments I tell you about below soon fixed the problems, and we’ve been making it here ever since.

This yogurt cake keeps well for days, and you can also freeze it, though mostly my kids gobble it up so fast it only lasts a day or two. Just smelling it bring a rush of warm memories. I hope you enjoy it too!

Yogurt Cake Recipe

1 plain yogurt, 6 ounces (US ounces, which measures 177.44 mils)

I use a full fat yogurt. You can do other flavors, but I usually use plain or vanilla. Feel free to experiment! Put in large bowl. Then use the yogurt cup to measure the rest of the ingredients. If your pan is larger, you may want to use 8 ounces of yogurt. If you’re in Europe, your yogurt might be smaller. Just be sure you use the same cup to measure the other ingredients (and see my note on the eggs).

1 yogurt cup of corn oil 

Can substitute with canola or even light sunflower—but DON’T use cheap soybean or vegetable oil blends or it ruins the taste. Olive oil is too strong.

3 yogurt cups of sugar

3 yogurt cups of flour

1 yogurt cup of milk

Note: in Portugal we don’t need to add the milk but I can’t get it to work where I live without it. Perhaps because of the altitude? I’m rather higher than sea level. So if you are low altitude, you may not need this, but it probably won’t ruin the cake if you add it. I use whole milk, but I’ve done it with 1% fat and that works fine.

1 tablespoon of baking powder

Note: This tablespoon of baking powder is for the US. In Portugal they only use 1 teaspoon because baking powder also comes in their cake flour. If you live in a country with added baking powder, use only 1 tsp (if you use the tablespoon instead, I don’t think it will hurt).

Six egg yolks (reserve eggs whites because you will whip and add them last)

Note: my mother-in-law’s yogurts are smaller so she only uses 4 eggs.

Put it Together

Mix above ingredients well. Then whip egg whites in a separate bowl and fold into the cake batter.

Put into a funnel pan (greased only on the bottom), cover with tinfoil and put into a preheated oven at 425 for 15 minutes and then lower to 350 for 45 more minutes. Remove tinfoil for the last 10 of those minutes. Should be golden brown on the outside!

This is a very heavy, moist cake. And it’s healthy, right? It does have yogurt, lol. I love to serve it with fresh cut strawberries and whipped cream. This whipped cream was fresh and sweetened with a little sugar. However, I only had frozen strawberries this time, so the strawberries ended up liquid instead of nice chunks. It still tasted wonderful. 

Serve with strawberries and whipped cream

Happy baking!

 

Teyla Rachel Branton

Copyright 2020 Teyla Rachel Branton

Reuse notice: you are free to print Easy Portuguese Yogurt Cake Recipe for personal use or non-commercial use with friends, share this post link anywhere, quote a short excerpt with attribution and a link to this site, but you may not use this post in its entirety on your own page. Thank you for caring about copyright.

24 Responses to “Easy Portuguese Yogurt Cake Recipe”

  1. Nancy Shaw

    Tomorrow is going to be another baking day for me after seeing this recipe of yours. I love recipes that are often recipes passed down through families and become so beloved that the family treasures not only the cake but the family’s love and memories that come with the cake. The cakes become a usable memory that you can bring out for holidays and connect us to our family members who have left us long ago but one bite brings back the memories of the family we remember. Yum! This recipe is going to be a treasure in my home. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      So true, and now that you say this, I’m going to add a paragraph about my memories with this cake! I hope it turns out great for you! Thank you so much for your comments. I really love thinking about it this way.

      Reply
  2. Maurice

    Hi everyone. One important note, U.S. measurements vary from European measurements. A US liter is about 2oz different from a European litre. As a diabetic, I would use fruit sugar which requires 2/3rds the quantity as well.

    Reply
    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      Good points! I’d love to know if the recipe works well with the fruit sugar.

      Reply
  3. Marian

    Are you using Greek-style yogurt with more protein or the regular?

    Reply
    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      No, this is just plain yogurt. This recipe has been followed for decades, long before the Greek yogurt came out. I would love to know if it works with the Greek as well.

      Reply
  4. Carol Allen

    Is there any way that we could use something else for the sugar? 4 cups is a lot of sugar!

    Reply
    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      It’s 3 yogurt cups (each is about 3/4 of a US cup), and that is a lot of sugar, but I’ve never tried to substitute with anything. Let me know if it works!

      Reply
  5. Candy Voisine

    I’m a little confused by the baking powder. It says a tsp with the flour already having some. What if my flour doesn’t have any? Do I double the amount?

    Reply
    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      Sorry, I will rewrite to make it clearer. If you are in the United States or if your flour has no added baking powder, use 1 tablespoon of baking powder. If the flour has added baking powder, you would need only 1 teaspoon. The abbreviation for TBS and TSP are so close, it’s better for me to spell them out!

      Reply
    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      Will you check to see if it makes better sense now?

      Reply
  6. Ömer carkci

    I am writing from Turkey. As a man, I will have my wife do it. thanks.

    Reply
    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      Super! I am sure she will like the recipe. Or you could surprise her and make a cake for her! My husband sometimes does that for me, and I love it.

      Reply
  7. Lois

    What about using olive oil instead of one oil?

    Reply
    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      I don’t like it with olive oil. It tastes unsavory to me. You could use canola, light sunflower or other mild oil. You could even use melted butter. The cheap blends or soybean makes it taste funny also.

      Reply
  8. Judy

    My husband’s favorite cake is a lb cake,so I’m looking forward to making it for him. Thanks

    Reply
  9. Keely

    Hi, just checking what volume a yoghurt cup holds – in NZ we have 125ml or 150m depending which brand (also 500 ml and 1 litre). Looking forward to trying this recipe!

    Reply
    • Teyla Rachel Branton

      Okay, so the beauty of this recipe is that since you are using the yogurt cup to measure, all the recipe stays the same except the eggs, which you can vary. But 6 ounces (the size of my yogurt) is 177.5 mils for reference. My mother in law uses two fewer eggs because her yogurt cup is smaller. I’ll go write that in the recipe. Hope it turns out good for you!

      Reply
  10. Dee

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I will enjoy making this “healthy” and delicious looking cake. D

    Reply

Leave a Comment