Blueberry-Thyme Yogurt Cake from Dorie Greenspan

July  6, 2022
57 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger. Prop Stylist: Molly FitzSimons. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

This French yogurt cake is so simple, cookbook author Dorie Greenspan explains in Baking: From My Home to Yours, that in France it’s typically measured by scooping up flour, sugar, and oil right in the yogurt container. But yogurt comes in different sizes in the United States, so Dorie worked out a version of the recipe that could be re-created worldwide, either by weight or with measuring cups and spoons.

Pinching the citrus zest and herbs into the sugar is both therapeutic and memorable: It’s a genius trick you can take to other recipes to send good smells floating through your kitchen and, ultimately, your cake. As I was writing Simply Genius, Dorie had just taught this blueberry, lemon, and thyme riff for a cooking class, but feel free to get creative with other berries, citrus, and herbs.

Excerpted from Simply Genius: Recipes for Beginners, Busy Cooks & Curious People (Ten Speed Press, September 27, 2022).

P.S. For a sneak peek of 14 more new recipes and riffs with all preorders of Simply Genius, head here.
Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Blueberry-Thyme Yogurt Cake from Dorie Greenspan
  • Softened butter or baker’s spray, for the pan
  • 1 1/2 cups (204g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup (200g) sugar
  • 1 or 2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) plain yogurt, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) oil, such as canola or olive oil
  • 1 cup (150g) blueberries
  • Lightly sweetened crème fraîche, for serving (optional)
  1. Get prepped: Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C) with a rack in the center. Generously butter the inside of an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch (21 by 11cm) loaf pan (or coat it with baker’s spray). If your pan is 1/2 inch/1.3cm bigger all around, that’s okay—check the cake a little earlier as it might bake faster.
  2. Mix dry, mix wet: In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together. To a medium bowl, add the sugar and thyme and finely grate the zest of the lemon over it with a Microplane (save the naked lemon in the fridge for salads and use within a few days, before it dries out). Working with your fingertips, rub the ingredients together until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Whisk in the yogurt until it’s thoroughly incorporated, and then add the eggs one at a time, blending each egg into the batter before you add the next. When all the eggs are in, give the mixture a few energetic beats to bring it all together.
  3. Mix dry into wet: Switch to a silicone spatula and stir in half of the flour mixture. When it’s well incorporated, add the remaining flour and stir until blended. Add the oil to the bowl gradually, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides until you have a thick, smooth batter with a light sheen. Drop the berries into the batter and stir to mix them in evenly. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan, smoothing the top.
  4. Bake the cake: Bake the cake in the center of the oven until the cake is golden brown and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick or long, dry noodle inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean or with moist crumbs clinging, 55 to 60 minutes. With oven mitts, take the cake out of the oven and set on a wire rack or cool stove burner. Wait 5 minutes, then run a table knife between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Carefully invert the pan onto the rack, then flip the cake so it’s right-side up and finish cooling to room temperature. Serve with lightly sweetened crème fraîche, or nothing at all.
  5. Make ahead and store: The cake keeps best well-sealed at room temperature; it will be good for at least 4 days. It can also be frozen for up to 1 month—defrost, still sealed, at room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kathleen Dickerson
    Kathleen Dickerson
  • Patty Esparza
    Patty Esparza
  • Nancy
  • Jacquie Palmer
    Jacquie Palmer
  • Susan Sterchi
    Susan Sterchi
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

30 Reviews

kevvan February 2, 2023
I made this over the weekend and it came out well. I think the only thing that did not work is that the blueberries sunk to the bottom. Next time I might dust them in flour to see if that tip actually works.
less T. December 25, 2022
I found the thyme too assertive/overpowering and the cake inedible. Shame.
[email protected] September 13, 2022
I used less than 1TBS of thyme - and perfect amount for me. Barely a hint. I think a few more blueberries would have been fine - and I almost forgot the oil - and the cake still turned out great. I baked in 6 small loaf pans for 22 minutes and would happily bake these again but will consider adding a Tbs of jam and or more fruit!
Barbchurch August 17, 2022
Love this recipe this is my second time. Always a hit!!
deedee1200 August 7, 2022
I made this today, and it turned out very well. Definitely don't skimp on the lemon zest--I will probably do the zest of at least one and a half lemons next time (or get a giant lemon). Also, I used anise hyssop instead of thyme, because that is what I have growing in my garden; it added a subtle licorice note that was quite nice. I will probably up the herbs next time, too. I used 2 tsp this round, and I think that flavor could have been even stronger. Finally, I topped the cake with pearl sugar before baking.
Barbara M. August 1, 2022
One other comment, I had apricot fruit spread that I mixed with grand marnier. That made a lovely sauce that I served on the side.
Barbara M. August 1, 2022
My family and I loved this simple cake. I used rosemary instead of thyme and sprinkled coconut sugar on top before baking because it provides a nice crunch. Otherwise, I followed the recipe. I will use this batter with other fruits and in other pans. I think that a cherry cake made in a round pan would be delicious and elegant.
Jacquie P. August 13, 2022
Was also going to do rosemary! Looks like we have the same taste, was also thinking cherry cake!
monica L. July 26, 2022
I made the cake with wild blackberries, and omitted the thyme, not knowing if it would work with blackberries. The blackberries were great in it, and the cake was soft and delicately lemony. It wasn't super exciting but it was yummy! I'll have to test the thyme next time.
Amber July 21, 2022
I’ve made this three times in quick succession. The first — I wanted to make something for my neighbor and had all the ingredients on hand except the lemon. I used 1 tsp thyme, the zest of a whole orange (more zest, assuming the flavor would be milder) and 50/50 canola and olive oil. Then my dog ate half of it… I cut off the mangled part and at the rest myself. It was fine, but not amazing. It tasted like a plain blueberry snacking cake.

For my second attempt, I used an actual lemon, upped the thyme to 2 tsp and used all olive oil, thinking that would add more savory flavor (I love the olive oil crust on Amanda’s peach tart, so thought this would be similar). My tester came out clean, so I took the cake out, but then I noticed the center sinking. Tried again — it was not done. I put it back in the oven, but since it had cooled some, the outside got overly brown before the center was done. Deciding that was too ugly to give away, I ate this one again (with help from others in my house, in case you think I’m a glutton). The flavor was much better this time, despite the execution issue.

That night I listened to a Milk Street podcast, and they talked about this baking issue! Apparently the skewer method can be deceiving with oil cakes.

Third try — I used the same ingredients as the second go around but pulled the cake out when it reached 195 F. Winner!

Should also mention that this is really easy to pull together. Just be sure to use the lemon, all the thyme, olive oil if you like it and an instant read thermometer.
Mike E. July 20, 2022
A perfect loaf cake for a hot summer day. The smoosh technique is enjoyably tactile and fills the kitchen with a fresh, herbal scent. I used lemon thyme which lent the zest an added citrus boost. Because I was christening a new loaf pan which was 9"x5" I took Dorie's advice and checked the cake a few minutes earlier, but it needed to go back in for the normal time and came out perfectly. Terrific with a cup of tea or coffee.
Mike E. August 17, 2022
I also love how versatile this recipe is--second time I didn't have any plain yogurt so subbed in vanilla yogurt and cut back a tablespoon of sugar. Perfect.
wmschlemmer July 20, 2022
Loved this recipe-I served it’s dessert for a late afternoon lunch-it was a big hit. I used about 1-1/2 tsp thyme-next time I make it I’ll use a healthy2 tsp.
kimlechelle July 20, 2022
When I saw thyme, I was interested in baking. It turned out great. I only used 1 teaspoon of thyme, but next time I am going to be brave and use 2 teaspoons. It was not over sweet, which was a major plus.
Kathleen D. July 16, 2022
I have made this cake twice. First time with blueberries as written. The second time I used raspberries (same measurement by weight as the blueberries). It was great the first time, but far superior with the raspberries! Fabulous recipe.
Patty E. July 14, 2022
This cake was a lot of fun to make. I'll definitely use the zest and sugar trick again. I overcooked by a few minutes so the edges got a bit dry but the center was still moist. Don't let the thyme scare you. I had 1 1/2 teaspoons in mine and couldn't taste it at all. It's not sweet. It's more like a breakfast bread than a cake. For us it was good, but nothing special. I didn't have creme fraiche so I served it with some thick Greek yogurt sweetened with honey.
Damyna July 14, 2022
The cake was easy to make and i enjoyed it.
Penny July 11, 2022
Being a true celiac, I made this cake gluten free with gf flour and an addition of xanthan gum. It was wonderful. Best cake I have had in a very long time. Thank you food 52!
Heidiwortinger July 18, 2022
Mind sharing your measurement of the xanthan gum? Would love to make this gf for friends!
bette July 10, 2022
Good cake - and I forgot to put timer on a 2nd time and it seems you can't over cook this cake! Not sure how long it was in the oven but def +15 min. or more! One comment - no way is the prep 15 min. A joke!! But overall good. Did not rise as much as expected...
Nancy July 10, 2022
Sorry, but just MEH for us. No substitutions, made as directed. I seem to be in the minority here but I wouldn't make this again. It was nothing special. Although the thyme, lemon, sugar mixture had me thinking of other ways to use it.
Susan S. August 1, 2022
I agree. I had really high hopes because I typically love every one of Dorie's recipes, but for me, this cake was really lacking in flavor and moisture. I followed the recipe exactly and even used fresh thyme and fresh blueberries from my garden. I thought the yogurt would add a richness, but that wasn't really the case...
patricia R. July 8, 2022
This is another excellent Dorie recipe. It comes together easily and quickly and happily is not too sweet. I used fresh blueberries and would have liked even more lemon flavor. Next time I will use more zest. I shared this loaf with neighbors and everyone enjoyed it.
Pam July 8, 2022
I made this for breakfast today and it was delicious! Dorie has excellent recipes. Our absolute favorite cake in the world is her cardamom crumb cake, which is also listed on Food52. One technique found in both recipes that really boosts the flavor is mixing the zest into the sugar. It smells absolutely wonderful and makes a superb flavor dimension in the cake. Thank-you, Dorie, for another excellent cake recipe!!