You have to try this dense moist cake that is full of lemon flavor with a hint of thyme. The combination of olive oil and greek yogurt makes this cake incredibly moist while the lemon adds a bright citrus flavor. The earthy thyme and pop of citrus pair beautifully with your afternoon cup of tea.

This recipe is so quick and simple to toss together with minimal clean-up making this the perfect cake for a sudden craving or a dessert to toss together for last-minute guests. Adapted from Simple Cake by Odette Williams, this nurturing cake is sure to please everyone.

Why we love this recipe:

We love that you only need two bowls and a whisk to whip together this lovely lemon thyme cake. It’s an excellent recipe to bake with your kids. It’s also easily adaptable, substitute any citrus for the lemon such as lime, blood orange, or orange.

Just imagine the scent of lemon hanging in the air from the warm oven while sipping your tea with honey and snacking on a slice of this delicious cake. That sounds like the ideal afternoon treat! Put it on this adorable platter and you have a delicious and beautiful dessert to serve at your next brunch or gathering!

Lemon Thyme Cake Ingredients

  • Flour: Use high-quality all-purpose flour, this is the structure of your cake base. Avoid over-mixing to prevent over-activating the gluten.
  • Baking Powder: This leavening agent increases the volume and lightens the cake’s texture.
  • Salt: Adding salt enhances the flavors of the other ingredients and helps balance the cake batter’s sweetness level.
  • Eggs: They help bind the ingredients together because of the protein content, they also help with leavening.
  • Greek Yogurt: The yogurt serves multiple purposes in this cake: it adds moisture, helps activate the baking powder with its acidity, and imparts a tangy flavor.
  • Olive Oil: Make sure to use a mild-flavored oil so it doesn’t overpower the lemon and thyme flavors.
  • Vanilla: I recommend always using pure vanilla extract, never imitation, for the best flavor.
  • Lemons: You will use both the juice and the zest to impart a delicious and bright flavor to your cake.
  • Thyme: The subtle flavor of this earthy, minty, with a hint of lemon, really pairs well with the lemon in this cake.
  • Sugar: Is it really cake if sugar isn’t included? You need a little sweetness to balance all of the flavors together.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Lemon Thyme Cake

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 F and line your desired cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, olive oil, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and thyme leaves. Once combined, add in sugar and whisk until dissolved.
  4. Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Stirring until just combined.
  5. Transfer the batter to a lined baking dish. Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes, until cooked through. The cake will press back like a sponge with a gentle touch and appear slightly golden on top.
  6. While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the lemon juice and powdered sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of milk if needed to reach your desired consistency (that of liquid glue).
  7. When the cake is finished, allow it to cool completely. Transfer to a cake plate and drizzle the glaze over top of the cake, garnish with additional thyme leaves.

Tips for Success & FAQs

Why do recipes call for room-temperature eggs while baking?

The main reason for room-temperature eggs while baking is to help them absorb into the batter. For some recipes creamed butter and sugar helps create the leavening and adding cold eggs can break that emulsion by seizing the butter. To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, you can add them to a bowl of warm water for about 5 minutes.

Can I use dried thyme instead of fresh?

If you don’t have any fresh thyme on hand you can substitute it for dried thyme. Use the conversion ratio of 1 tablespoon fresh thyme equals 1 teaspoon of dried thyme. This works for any dried herbs.

Can I substitute sour cream for greek yogurt?

Yes! Greek yogurt and sour cream are interchangeable in baked goods without a substantial change in texture or flavor.

More Recipes for you to Try

Looking for more citrus-flavored desserts? This orange cake with orange curd is a great option. These orange shortbread cookies are amazing and make a perfect holiday gift for friends and neighbors.

For other fruit-flavored treats try these pear and pecan tarts that would feel right at home on your Thanksgiving dessert table. Carrot cake jam would spice up your morning toast or nestle in happily on a charcuterie board for grazing.

The Recipe

5 from 2 votes

Lemon Thyme Olive Oil Cake

A dense moist cake full of lemon flavor. Made using high-quality olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Greek yogurt and oil make this cake incredibly moist.
Adapted from Simple Cake Cookbook
Prep — 20 minutes
Cook — 25 minutes
Total — 45 minutes
Serves — 9 ” cake round or 9″x5″ loaf pan

Ingredients  

  • 2 ¼ cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 2 Eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup Greek Yogurt
  • cup Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • Zest and Juice of 3 Lemons
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1 cup Sugar

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Milk

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Line your desired cake pan with parchment paper.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, olive oil, vanilla, lemon juice, zest, and thyme leaves. Once combined, add in sugar and whisk until dissolved.
  • Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined.
  • Transfer the batter to the lined baking dish.
  • Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes, until cooked through. The cake will press back like a sponge with a gentle touch and appear slightly golden on top.
  • While the cake bakes, prepare the glaze.
  • In a small mixing bowl, stir together the lemon juice and powdered sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of milk if needed, to reach your desired consistency. (that of liquid glue)
  • When the cake is finished, allow to cool completely. Transfer to a cake plate and drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake, garnish with additional thyme leaves.

Our lemon Thyme Olive Oil Cake is more than a dessert; it’s a masterpiece infused with citrus flavors. The harmonious blend of vibrant lemon zest and earthy thyme delivers a burst of flavor in every bite. Simple yet sophisticated, this cake beckons you to explore variations—swap lemons for limes or blood oranges. Picture a warm kitchen, the aroma of citrus wafting from the oven, and a perfect slice of cake in hand.

The crowning touch is the luscious lemon drizzle, adding a layer of indulgence to this culinary gem. Whether savored with tea or shared with loved ones, this recipe promises a moment of pure, zesty delight. If you have time to dehydrate lemon slices, they would make an adorable decoration!

Why we love this recipe:

So gather your ingredients and embark on a blissful baking journey with our Lemon Thyme Olive Oil Cake—a masterpiece of citrus delights. This simple yet sophisticated creation is perfect for sudden cravings or unexpected guests. As the cake emerges, gently press back the sponge-like texture, revealing a slightly golden top. Transfer it to a serving plate (ADD LINK), where vibrant lemon zest and earthy thyme promise a burst of flavor.

Drizzle the luscious lemon glaze over the top, garnish with thyme sprigs, and picture the warm kitchen aroma. If time allows, dehydrated lemon slices make a delightful decoration. You can also buy these gorgeous ones here! This cake, adapted from Odette Williams’ Simple Cake Cookbook, is an experience in itself. Gather your ingredients, follow the steps, and let the aroma of this perfect cake fill your kitchen. Happy baking!

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  3. I made this yesterday. I was so excited to taste it and i was extremely disappointed. I used fresh thyme and yet i could not taste it. the cake asked for yogurt and olive oil so this made the cake very heavy.