Citrus-Soaked Butter Cake (Dairy)

Citrus Butter Cake

Miri Rotkovitz

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
253 Calories
10g Fat
37g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 253
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 44mg 15%
Sodium 209mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 14%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 22g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 5mg 24%
Calcium 50mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 78mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

They say necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I needed to bake a cake, but as I was gathering ingredients, I discovered that I only had one egg left in the fridge. Rather than ditch the baking plans, I decided to experiment, in the interest of helping other dessert lovers who get caught unawares with a single egg. 

Happily, this Citrus-Soaked Butter Cake turned out to be a winner. The vanilla-orange scented cake is brushed with bright citrus and honey syrup while still warm from the oven. Tender and moist, it pairs nicely with tea as a simple snack. Or dress it up with a Cherry Bourbon Compote, and—if you're feeling particularly decadent—some freshly whipped cream. 


For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened, cut into small pieces

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/4 cup orange juice

  • 1/4 cup milk

For the Citrus Syrup:

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed, from about 1 lemon

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed, from about 1 lime

  • 1 tablespoon orange juice

  • Lemon zest, and/or lime zest, preferably organic, for serving, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour an 8 x 8 x 2-inch or 9 x 9 x 2-inch cake pan.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

  3. In another large bowl, use an electric hand mixer or a manual rotary beater to beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy.

  4. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue beating until the egg is fully incorporated and the batter is lemon colored. Add the yogurt, orange juice, and milk, and beat until well mixed.

  5. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture while continuing to beat on medium speed, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the batter is smooth.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula if necessary.

  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

  8. Transfer the cake pan to a rack to cool. 

While the cake is baking, make the syrup:

  1. Place the sugar, honey, water, lemon juice, lime juice, and orange juice in a small, nonreactive saucepan.

  2. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce the heat to low.

  3. Simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup thickens slightly—about 5 to 8 minutes.

  4. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

  5. When the cake comes out of the oven, brush it evenly with some of the syrup (if you don't have a pastry brush, you can use a teaspoon to drizzle the syrup over the cake). You don't need to use all of the syrup unless you prefer a very moist, sweet cake—I use about 1/3 to 1/2 of the syrup, and reserve the rest, covered in the refrigerator, for another use. (Try it in tea or as a cocktail mixer.)

  6. Allow the syrup-brushed cake to cool completely in the pan before serving. Garnish with freshly grated lemon or lime zest if desired.

  7. Enjoy.