Lemon Yogurt Cake with Chia Seeds

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Delicious lemon yogurt cake with chia seeds! This baked good is loaded with healthy swaps that pack nutritional benefits into each bite.

Lemon Yogurt Cake with Chia Seeds

Breakfast is always better when you get to eat a ray of sunshine. I’m talking about ripe, juicy LEMONS!!! I came up with a recipe that feeds my obsession and celebrates the beginning of spring. I created a whole-wheat lemon chia seed yogurt cake. It’s the perfect slice of happiness, although it can be eaten at any time of the day.

I didn’t always like the taste of lemon, but nowadays I can’t get enough and I have grown an appreciation for this fragrant, tart, mouth-puckering golden citrus. In fact, I add lemons to almost all of my savory dishes and decadent sweets when I can.

loaf of lemon cake with white frosting drizzled on top

Lemons are nifty because not only do they add that distinctive tangy flavor, they naturally brighten and enhance the sweetness in other foods. That’s why you’ll see them slyly added here and there in recipes. They fly under the radar in the kitchen when they are really flavor ninjas and doing a darn good job!

I sure wouldn’t mind brewing a fresh cup of tea and waking up to this lemon cake in the morning! I’ve got some good swaps that make eating a slice better for you, but still tender and flavorful.

sliced lemon cake made with chia seeds and yogurt

I want to give you the balance of a healthier baked treat with a hint of indulgence. The base of the loaf cake is a mixture of white whole wheat flour, olive oil instead of butter, and chia seeds for added fiber instead of poppy seeds.

I also used nonfat Greek yogurt, which is packed with protein. These wholesome ingredients don’t leave out the sweet and tangy flavor that you crave in a delicious lemon cake.

two slices of lemon cake stacked on top of each other

There is a special time just as winter turns to spring and fresh Meyer lemons make an appearance. I am not lucky enough to have my own tree, but my sweet friend graciously gave me a huge bag of Meyers from her tree. The lemons I received ranged from ones that could fit in the palm of my hand to the size of an orange.

The taste profile on these homemade beauties has vibrant herbaceous floral citrus notes with just a hint of tang for balance. It’s totally okay if you use regular lemons from the grocery store, however, those varieties will be slightly sourer than Meyer lemons. I’ve been using lots of lemons in dishes like Greek lemon chicken and Mediterranean spiced salmon. I can’t get enough!

close up of two slices of cake bread

If you’re looking to keep sweeteners to a minimum, you can skip the lemon glaze. You’ll have a gorgeous golden brown cake with a nice shiny top. If you are ready to take it to the next level, generously drizzle that glaze all over. It’s that little extra lemon love that I can’t resist, and I know you won’t be disappointed. Make this recipe for a special weekend breakfast or as a gift for someone extra special. No matter what, it will increase your bliss level a few notches.

What is the benefit of adding Chia Seeds to the lemon cake?

Small but mighty, chia seeds are nutrient-dense and promote long-lasting energy. It’s a plant-based source of omega-3-fatty acids, antioxidants, easily digestible protein, calcium, iron, and fiber. One tablespoon supplies about 5 grams of fiber! The fiber in the chia seeds readily absorbs water, about nine times its weight! You’ll see if you’ve ever made chia pudding, as they swell and create a gel-like layer which is perfect for naturally thickening foods and help you feel satiated. The seeds are very neutral in flavor so you can add it just to about anything for an extra crunch or thickened texture. Chia seeds are used in this recipe for the little bits of crunch similar to poppy seeds with the added nutritional benefits! (Source: Superfood Kitchen By Julie Morris)

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Lemon Yogurt Cake with Chia Seeds

Delicious lemon yogurt cake with chia seeds! This baked good is loaded with healthy swaps that pack nutritional benefits into each bite.
Pin Print Review
4.42 from 39 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Servings 10 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American


  • ½ cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus 1 teaspoon, divided
  • 1 ½ cups white whole wheat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup olive oil, extra-light
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more as needed


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray or olive oil.
  • Combine the yogurt, chia seeds, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon zest in a small bowl and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Using a stand mixer on high speed, beat the olive oil and granulated sugar until combined, about 4 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract and then add the eggs in one at a time, beating well between each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Reduce the speed to low, now add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of the chia yogurt mixture.
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake cake in the center of the oven, until a cake tester, comes out clean, and the top has set, about 40 to 45 minutes or internal temperature reaches 205 to 210°F on a thermometer.
  • If the top begins to brown rapidly towards the final minutes of baking (around 35 minutes), tent the cake loosely with foil, but without touching the surface. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes then carefully remove and transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Combine the confectioners sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and ½ teaspoon zest together, adjusting with more lemon juice or powdered sugar until you get a glue-like consistency.
  • Drizzle the glaze over the cake letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon lemon zest. Let it set and serve warm or cool.


  • I find that 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour plus 3/4 cup all-purpose flour gave an even more tender cake. You can make this substitution if you're okay not having all whole wheat flour in the recipe.
  • You can also replace all of the whole-wheat flour with all-purpose flour.
  • If you like the taste of poppy seeds, add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon in addition to the chia seeds. You could also substitute the poppy seeds completely for chia seeds.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

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Nutrition Facts
Lemon Yogurt Cake with Chia Seeds
Amount Per Serving
Calories 321 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Cholesterol 56mg19%
Sodium 170mg7%
Potassium 72mg2%
Carbohydrates 47g16%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 32g36%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 81IU2%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 47mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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63 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Janette Farrugia says

    Hi Jessica,
    I tried your recipe, taste is great but the cake didn’t rise well. I used baking powder instead of bicarbonate of soda and whole meal flour, could that be the problem, please?
    P.S. I added 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Janette- Baking soda is 4x stronger than baking powder. If you only used 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, then that’s most likely the reason it did not rise as much. I would add 1 teaspoon baking powder next time.

  2. Irene says

    Hi Jessica

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe. Just wondering if I can use extra virgin olive oil or butter for this recipe? Thanks in advance.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Yes, you can use extra virgin olive oil, but will have a stronger earthy flavor, which may be lovely! If using butter, melt it first. Let me know how it turns out!

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