Turkish Yogurt Cake – Yoğurt Tatlisi


Yogurt Cake


The foyer where I stayed during my semester abroad in Angers was run by a group of Franciscan nuns who kept a watchful eye on all the girls who stayed there. While they didn’t enforce a curfew, one of the sisters would be sure to remark about hearing the loud sound of the creaky gate doors during the previous night (or early morning, depending on who you ask – and depending on which girl!) They were a lovely group of women who made simple yet elegant meals everyday. On occasion, they asked me to help them with a few desserts. One of the desserts was a cake made from fromage blanc. It tasted like an airy, lighter and slightly tangier version of American cheesecake. It was fabulous – smooth, creamy and with a hint of lemon. I’ve tried to make it using the fromage blanc that is sold here in the States but the results have been less than moyen.

I came across this recipe for Turkish yogurt cake that calls for using strained yogurt and I thought it might taste similar to the one I made with the sisters. Indeed, it tastes very much like it and perhaps even a bit better. You can use Greek-style strained yogurt (I’m another fan of Fage) or you can easily make your own, as I did. To do that, I strained my homemade yogurt by pouring (about 6 small jars) into a cheesecloth-lined sieve and allowed it to drain overnight in the refrigerator. Either way, it’s an easy dessert to make that is fairly low on the carbs but high on the flavah. 🙂


Yogurt Cake



from Claudia Roden’s Arabesque

INGREDIENTS: (6 servings)

  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup (60g) superfine sugar
  • 3 Tbl (40g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (425g) strained Greek-style yogurt
  • grated zest of 1 unwaxed lemon ( I used Meyer lemons)
  • juice of one lemon

Optional Orange Syrup:

  • 2/3 cup (160mL) water
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) sugar
  • 1 Tbl. (15mL) lemon juice
  • grated zest of one unwaxed orange


Beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a thick, pale cream. Beat in the flour, then the yogurt, lemon zest, and lemon juice until it is thoroughly blended.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the yogurt mixture. Pour this into a round, nonstick baking tin (about 9 inches [22 cm] in diameter), greased with butter. Bake in an oven preheated to 350F° (175 C°) for 50-60 minutes, until the top is brown. It will puff up like a soufflé and then subside.

Turn out onto a serving plate, and serve warm or cold.

If you are making the syrup, boil the water with the sugar, lemon juice, and grated orange zest for 3-5 minutes. Let it cool, then chill in the refrigerator.

Bon appétit!



28 Responses to “Turkish Yogurt Cake – Yoğurt Tatlisi”

  1. Jen Says:

    My word, that sounds incredible. I am meh on cheesecake, but love the lighter cousins like Italian ricotta cheesecake with hints of citrus. I like that the nuns kept a watch on you gals – that’s cute. In my senior year of college I lived with 3 other female undergrad roommates in a nice townhouse complex… all of us with boyfriends. On any given morning, you’d see at least two fellas doing the Walk of Shame 😉

  2. Wandering Chopsticks Says:

    The cake looks lovely but I wanna hear more about your study abroad experience! 🙂

  3. Fearless Kitchen Says:

    This yogurt cake looks fantastic. I’ll have to try it as part of my Be A Better Baker initiative! I like Fage too; I’ve discovered Oikos recently, which is great plain with just a bit of honey, but I always return to Fage when I’m going to use the yogurt _in_ something.

    I love dishes that are associated with some kind of pleasant memory. I’ve got a similar association with paella, although I haven’t managed to get it down qute right.

  4. Patricia Scarpin Says:

    This looks so delicious! I love baking with both yogurt and oranges.

  5. anh Says:

    wow, that cake recipe sounds like such a crowd pleaser! Can’t wait to try it out. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe and your wonderful story.

  6. Jerry Says:

    Oh how yummy is this!

  7. Susan from Food Blogga Says:

    The Greek yogurt must make this an exceptionally moist cake. It looks lovely.

  8. Tartelette Says:

    I find that Fage yogurt is really really close to the taste of fromage blanc which I miss so much! The cake looks wonderful, light and high in flavor! Gorgeous!

  9. Warda Says:

    Gorgeous! Gorgeous! Gorgeous!
    Girlfriend! Do you have all of Roden’s cookbooks? I guess I’m gonna add this one to my never ending list as well! And I’ve already tried some recipes from the one you land me. Love it!

  10. holybasil Says:

    Jen – ah…the walk of shame. I wonder if there’s a french translation for that 🙂 I like any sort of cheesecake although some American versions are far too sweet for my taste. I love ricotta pie or cake with citrus. I’ve been wanting to make that too.

    WC – Oh, do I have stories for ya…

    FearlessKitchen- I haven’t come across Oikos yogurt – I’ll keep an eye out next time – thanks for the tip.

    Patricia – Thanks – I love yogurt in this dessert and the citrus really brightens everything up.

    Anh – Thanks! I’m sure people will love it too.

    Jerry- Thanks!

    Susan- Thanks! Yes, The strained yogurt is very much like a soft cheese or cream cheese.

    Tiens Tartelette – Yes, I forgot to mention that in the text — indeed, Fage is very close to fromage blanc and I think that is why the cake tastes so much like gateau au fromage blanc. Thanks for mentioning that!

    Warda (aka Birthday Girl!) – Thank you! I am one of the many Roden fans. It’s easy to see why her work is so highly regarded. Her books are worth every bit, I think.

  11. norecipes Says:

    Looks delicious! I love Meyer Lemons.

  12. hande Says:

    I think this is the first time I see this dessert outside of Turkey! I am very happy that you liked it. I am also not very fond of classic cheesecakes, but love this one. One tiny wise-ass remark, if I may: It is called “yogurt tatlisi”, not yogurtlu tatlisi (which would mean something like “with yogurt cake with” – Turkish grammar is one of the hardest!), but I guess Roden had it wrong in the book….

  13. MariannaF Says:

    wow, that looks really good. I’ve did “labneh balls” with strained yoghurt recently, and when I read about your recipe and how it involved strained yoghurt in a cake-y way I was immediately intrigued!

  14. Pierre Says:

    I hope you left me a piece of this beautiful cake… I can’t wait to taste this unique recipe!

  15. holybasil Says:

    NoRecipes – Thanks!
    hande – I’m sure there are plenty versions of this in Turkey. I was very pleased with it. It had all the things I like about cheesecake without being too sweet. Oh, and thanks for letting me know about the grammatical error – I’ll fix it right away!
    Marianna- Yes, I should have mentioned labneh in the post. Thanks for reminding me.
    Pierre – all gone! just kidding 🙂

  16. Nina Says:

    Oh my word this cake makes me hallucinate….. it is fantastic.

  17. Irene Says:

    That looks delicious, especially with the orange sauce… mmm! My mom used to make something similar with buttermilk that she would put in a pot and then simmer for an hour or so to separate the water and create a ricotta-like cheese (then strain overnight). That’s actually something you can eat by itself with honey. I wonder if a honey-based sauce would be good with this cake – what do you think? 🙂

  18. Shayne Says:

    helping with any dessert anywhere in the world is a great experience.

    This cake looks great and it would be something new, I will have to try it one day.

  19. Chez US Says:

    This looks fantastic! Great photo, too! Can I get your email address, I would like to send you something! Thanks!


  20. Chez US Says:

    We just gave you a BIG E for Excellent Award! Check it out – http://www.chezus.com/

    ~ Chez US

  21. Maggie Says:

    This reminds me of the baked German pancakes with quantro syrup my parent’s used to make for Sunday breakfast all the time. The yogurt sounds so good in it. I have to try this!

  22. Alejandra Says:

    Oh this looks lovely! And yet another nice way to slip in a little of that Meyer wonder!

  23. michelle Says:

    those are gorgeous meyers!

    the cake sounds lovely – i’ll happily eat anything made with strained yogurt.

  24. holybasil Says:

    Nina – oh, thanks!

    Irene – I think honey would be great – yogurt and honey are one of my favorite combinations. I’ve never tried making cheese from buttermilk. Did she add anything to the milk? Is that on your blog? I’d love to try it sometime.

    Shayne – Yeah, I agree. Thanks!

    Chez Us – Thanks for the award!

    Maggie – yeah, the way it puffs up in the oven does remind me also of German pancakes. How did you know those were on my list for breakfast meals? 🙂

    Alejandra – Thanks! By the way, have you bought out any other citrus lately? 🙂

    Michelle – Thanks! And, like Tartlette mentioned above, my homemade strained yogurt tasted much like fromage blanc. It’s delicious with just some sprinkled sugar.

  25. Helen Says:

    Love the pictures! I always have to squeegee my screen after reading your blog :D. I’m a novice baker and would like to attempt this cake this weekend but was wondering if the yogurt is measured out before or after straining it (I know, I sound like such a dunderhead 8P). Thank you.

  26. Marg Says:

    Try this for your recipe: Add Carbonate to it , to keep it puffy. I have the recipe in a Turkish cooking book. The ingredients in the book are as follows:
    250 grams the strained yogurt, 250 grams powder suger (super fine), 300 grams flour, 25 grams butter (unsalted), 3 eggs, 1 small teaspoon Carbonate.
    For the Syrup: 750 grams suger, 870 grams water, and 1 lemon juice.

  27. Jitterbean Says:

    We made this for our Easter feast and WOW! It was really wonderful. We made a honey-lemon syrup for the top instead of the one suggested above and it was a really nice complement to the cake. Thanks for a great recipe!

  28. Indrė Says:

    DELICIOUS!!! Thanks for shearing!

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