A twist on the classic pound cake, this kiwi lime loaf cake with yogurt is incredibly moist, with a tender crumb and flavors you’ll never forget. It’s a sweet cake but surprisingly refreshing, thanks to pureed kiwi fruit and lime zest. Every bite melts in your mouth and you’ll find yourself reaching for more and more. This loaf cake keeps for days without getting dry!
It’s been years and years since I first made this kiwi lime loaf cake with yogurt. I’ll never forget how I took half of it over to my grandparents’ house. My dear grandparents, both in their 70s at the time, both with a major sweet tooth and both creatures of habit. They like cake, but giving them a kiwi or lime cake? Well, that was kind of a no go.
I didn’t tell them what I had put in it, for fear of them stubbornly avoiding it because they like familiar food combinations. Well, they shared one piece first. And they loved it. By the time my coffee was cooked (a classic Turkish coffee does take some time to make) they both downed two more pieces each a.k.a. the majority of the cake. Can you believe it?! Well, I couldn’t.
My stubborn grandparents, lovers of all things classic, loved the cake. That could only mean one thing. It was good! They aren’t the type to eat things they don’t like. And since then on I’ve made this kiwi lime loaf cake with yogurt numerous times.
I’m a huge lover of pound cakes and this one tops my favorite’s list. I love how tender and moist it is. Also how it’s both sweet and kind of tart at the same time. Just truly unique and delicious.
What you need to make this kiwi lime cake
All purpose flour and baking powder
Two baking classics. You could experiment by mixing in some whole wheat flour, but I like to stick to white flour with this cake. I like the depth that whole wheat flour can offer, but I don’t think that fits with the overall flavors of this cake.
Vanilla bean paste or extract
Another ingredient I have a hard time skipping. You can use either the paste or extract, whatever you have on hand. I like both equally, well most of the time.
With creams and frostings and the like, I prefer vanilla paste. I think it’s more intense and I love seeing little specks of vanilla mixed in like confetti. Vanilla extract however is more affordable and if you have a good one (I know I sound like Ina Garten when I say that), then you are not missing out in the flavor department.
In the event that you don’t have either of these things on hand, a packet of vanilla sugar (popular throughout Europe) will do the trick too.
If you don’t have this, you can use the same amount of any plain yogurt, sour cream or even buttermilk. I like yogurt because it’s the lightest option but I also really love sour cream. A good vegan yogurt would be neat too, just don’t use anything too fatty as that can affect the fat ratio in the cake and produce a different cake.
I’m only using white granulated sugar because I want the majority of flavor to come from lime and kiwifruit. But if you want, you can definitely mix in some light brown sugar or Demerara for a more complex flavor.
Okay, so, I’m using 4 eggs in this cake. It might seem like a lot, but it actually works. With that said, egg size is important. I buy free range eggs and not all in a single carton are ever the same. They’re normally on the large side, but sometimes I have some leaning more towards medium.
So if your eggs are all very large, especially if they’re leaning into the extra large territory, you can use just 3. The Kitchn has a great article with plenty of pictures that can help you make this decision. Personally, I always use 4 normal large eggs.
I like to use sunflower oil in a lot of my baking. Any neutral vegetable oil works too. I know oil doesn’t sound as nice as butter does (or maybe it does?) but I like oil based cakes. I don’t think they lack anything, especially a cake like this one.
With this kiwi lime loaf cake, you have yogurt and sugar and fruit in it. You will not miss the taste of butter at all, trust me. Oil is (partly) the reason why this cake is so moist and tender.
If you’re up for more reading, there’s a nice article all about this on Epicurious.
This is a kiwi lime loaf cake after all. One medium lime is all you need. It gives enough zest for the batter of the cake. And don’t worry, we’re not wasting the juice.
The lime juice is cooked into a syrup that you then pour over the baked cake. I like to do that because it makes the cake really moist and it creates a nice shiny crust. Also, it’s just another layer of extra flavor and who doesn’t want that?
You need 2-3 kiwi fruits. This is hard to eyeball so I like to weigh my fruit. With large kiwi fruit, 2 are enough, but you might need three. In any case, you need about 9oz (250g) kiwi fruit. Having a bit more or less isn’t a dealbreaker, just use the amount that you have.
The easiest way to remove the skins is to cut the kiwi fruit in half. Then just scoop out the flesh. If the kiwi fruit is ripe and ready to be used, this will be so easy. But if it needs a few extra days to ripen and you don’t have the time, just peel it with a peeler.
I like to puree my kiwi fruit quickly with a stick blender. You can use any blender you have, because kiwi fruit is pretty easy to mash. Which also means that you can just use your fork, if that’s all you have on hand.
A word of caution when it comes to kiwi fruit
And the same goes for pineapple. There is an enzyme in kiwi fruit, that breaks down milk protein. And this causes the dairy to turn bitter. It’s crazy!
Now, despite knowing that, I still use both yogurt and kiwi fruit in this recipe. I just have a different order of doing things. I first mix the dry ingredients into wet and only then do I add kiwi puree and then oil. I’ve never noticed a bitter flavor in this cake. Tartness yes, because of the lime. but never bitterness.
I did read, however, that if you boil the fruit, that enzyme is destroyed and kiwi fruit can be used with dairy. So if you don’t trust that the order of combining all of the ingredients is enough, you can blanche sliced and peeled kiwi fruit for a few minutes. Then let it cool, puree it and use it in the recipe.
How to make this kiwi lime loaf cake
What I love about this cake is how quickly it comes together. It’s so easy and the hardest part is just waiting for it to bake.
First you whisk all the dry ingredients. That’s flour, baking powder and salt. Then you need to make your wet mixture. You do that by combining the yogurt, sugar, eggs, lime zest and vanilla extract. You need to whisk and whisk until it’s all nicely combined and the eggs are well beaten.
Then you have to stir the dry ingredients into the wet. Do this on low speed and slowly. The key to making a good cake is not over-mixing! You need to whisk the ingredients just until there are no visible patches of flour. (If you over-mix you risk baking a gummy cake.)
At this point, the batter is missing the two important liquids, so don’t worry about it being somewhat thick. So now that you have everything in one bowl, you add the pureed kiwi fruit. Fold it in just until it’s incorporated.
Lastly, you fold in the oil. This one calls for some patience. It might seem like it’s just not blending in, but keep folding it in and it’ll work. I like to start by scraping down the side of the bowl, dragging my spatula to the bottom and all the way through to the other side of the bowl where I pull it out again.
So you can see there’s quite a bit of whisking and stirring involved.
That’s why it’s important that you don’t overdo it at each step. I’m a perfectionist so it’s hard for me to stop until things are “just right”. It’s a personality trait I’m working on as it’s not the best thing to have, or to be, when making a cake. (lol) Seriously, don’t worry and think you’re not mixing enough, you are. Better to do it less than too much.
At this point, the batter will be quite runny. So pour it into your loaf pan and bake the cake until a skewer comes out clean. This will take between 50-60 minutes. The most important thing is that the cake is baked through and through. If crumbs stick to your cake tester or skewer, that is okay. But if you see raw batter, that is not okay!
If for whatever reason your cake is baking faster than it should, just cover it with foil. Basically, if the top of your cake is golden or light brown, but a skewer comes out with raw batter, then you need to keep baking it. To prevent it from burning on top, cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake the cake until it’s 100% done.
Once baked, let the cake cool for about 10 minutes in the pan. Then transfer it to a wire rack, set over a baking sheet, and pour over the lime syrup (if using) while the cake is still warm.
How to make a lime sugar syrup
To be completely honest, this kiwi lime loaf cake is plenty moist on its own. It doesn’t truly need the extra syrup. But I love a truly moist cake and so I always add it.
The syrup is made just like a simple syrup. You cook together the same amounts of water and sugar. Once the sugar dissolves, you let the mixture cool and there’s your syrup.
When making a flavored syrup, with something like juice, you just swap out water for juice. Because lime juice is more tart, I like to make it more mellow. So I’m using equal parts of lime juice and water. And then enough sugar to match that.
Best glaze for this kiwi lime loaf cake
None! I’m only partly joking. The thing is, like I keep saying, this cake is moist. It’s wonderfully tender and so flavorful. And add to that the lime syrup, which locks in extra moisture while adding more flavor.
Once you have all that, you don’t even have to do anything else. You can though. If you look at the photos, you can see I used plenty of powdered sugar.
Powdered sugar cuts through some of that lime, but it doesn’t really alter the flavor. I like to use it whenever I serve this cake to other people, because it makes the cake more presentable. If I just make it for us to have at home, then I don’t bother with it.
But if you want, you definitely can add a classic sugar glaze. Just make sure your cake is completely cool before you add it. If you do make a sugar glaze, I love a classic lemon-flavored one. The kind that I use in this Winter citrus cake recipe. I think adding a lemon glaze is better than adding a lime glaze, just because you’re already using so much lime. But the call is ultimately yours.
Best loaf pan and how to prep one
I’m using a long, more narrow loaf pan for this recipe. Actually, I use that for most of my loaf cakes. I just love a higher pound cake and using a more narrow pan is the key to that. The size is roughly 12 x 4 x 3 inches (30 x 10 x 8 -cm). You can use a different style of loaf pan (e.g. 9×5), just adjust your baking time if necessary.
There are a few steps involved to prepare a loaf pan.
First I lightly oil the whole pan. To avoid using too much oil, I add a few drops and spread those around with a brush, a paper towel or even my fingers.
Then I line the pan with parchment paper. I do that in a way that there’s some overlap at the sides, because then the cake is easy to pull out. I then lightly oil the parchment too.
Lastly, I lightly dust the pan with flour.
In the good old days, they didn’t have parchment and so grease and flour was the way to go. But I like parchment and how easy cake-removal is because of it.
You have to add oil (or butter) to the parchment so that the flour can stick to something. And flour is what gives this cake a nice crust. If you forget the flour don’t worry, your cake will bake either way. It just won’t have the same type of crust all around.
And that is all there’s to know about this kiwi lime loaf cake with yogurt. If you like to try out new flavor combinations or at least familiar ones used in a new way, then this cake is perfect for you. And it’s perfect for anyone that loves a melt-in-your-mouth tender delicious cake. You can store it covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator. And it keeps for days without losing its softness. A true winner.
Kiwi lime loaf cake with yogurt
- 2 2/3 cups (350 g) all purpose flour, sifted
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup (150 g) Greek yogurt
- 1 cup (200 g) white granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs, see notes on size
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 9 oz (250 g) kiwi fruit, peeled and pureed
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) sunflower oil, or any vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
- 4 tablespoons (60 g) white granulated sugar
- Lightly grease a loaf pan with oil and line bottom with parchment paper. Dust all sides with flour. Set pan aside. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
- Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs, lime zest and vanilla paste.
- Stir the flour mixture into wet ingredients, gently, just until allt he patches of flour are gone. Next, whisk in pureed kiwi. Slowly fold in the oil, stir just until the mixture is well combined but do not overmix!
- Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown in color and a skewer (or cake tester) inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. (If your cake is getting dark brown on top but is raw in the middle, cover the pan with aluminum foil and keep baking until a skewer comes out clean. Crumbs are okay, but raw batter isn’t!)
- Meanwhile prepare the lime syrup (optional): Combine lime juice, water and sugar in a small non-reactive saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear, about 5 minutes. Set it aside.
- When the cake is baked let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Gently transfer the cake to a wire rack (placed over a sheet pan) and slowly pour over the lime syrup, trying to cover the top of the cake.
- Let cake cool completely then serve. I like to dust it with sugar before serving.
- About pan size: I’m using a more narrow loaf pan, about 12×4 inches (30 x 10 cm) to make a skinnier and higher cake. (If you live in the US, try this King Arthur flour tea loaf pan. If you live in the EU, Dr Oetker and Zenker have great narrow pans). You can use a different size loaf pan, but keep an eye on your cake as it bakes, because the baking time can change.
- About eggs: I buy free range eggs, so they sometimes vary in size. Most are large, with some more on the medium side. So I always use 4 eggs in this recipe. However, if all of your eggs are extra large, you can use just 3.
- About kiwi fruit: 9 ounces or 250 grams amount to 2 large or 3 medium-large kiwis. The easiest way to peel a kiwi is to simply slice it in half and scoop out the flesh. If your kiwi isn’t ripe enough, then peeling it might be easier.
- To puree kiwi fruit, throw it in a blender or use an immersion blender (hand blender). If you don’t have any of these, mash peeled kiwis with a fork.
- Store the cake in an airtight container or ziplock bag for up to 4 days. It can be kept at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- If you want a more traditional glaze, you can use the lemon glaze recipe from my winter citrus cake.
First published in April 2015. Updated completely in April 2020. Last updated in 2022.