Turkish Recipes: Süzme Yoğurt Tatlısı (Yoghurt Cake)

When it comes to Turkish cuisine, what do the people of Turkey not do with yoghurt? The answer is…not a lot.

It’s enjoyed on its own; it’s made into the wonderfully summery Turkish drink, ayran; it’s used as an ingredient in kebab dishes such as İskender Kebab and Ali Nazik; yoghurt is the main ingredient in the soup, yayla çorbası and it’s the base for many Turkish meze dishes such as cacık and geren.

And yoghurt is also used as an ingredient in Turkish desserts. For our Turkish Food & Recipes Feature Week, we made a first course of Sebzeli Uskumru Çorbası (Vegetable & Mackerel Soup). That was followed by a main course of the Ottoman classic, Hünkar Beğendi, and now it’s time for a dessert.

How apt that we should finish off our meal using a Turkish staple ingredient: süzme yoghurt (thick, natural yoghurt).

As with our previous two recipes, this recipe is taken from the Turkish cookbook, The Sultan’s Kitchen. The recipe is from page 144 and is republished with the permission of publishers, Tuttle Publishing. All photos are our own and the recipe is written in our own words.

A Turkish Recipe For Süzme Yoğurt Tatlısı (Yoghurt Cake)

Well, we have done many Turkish recipes on this blog since we started it – but this is the first time you have seen a dessert. Make the most of it as there won’t be too many more – at least not for a while.

We purposefully chose a dessert that didn’t look too difficult, wouldn’t require too much careful measuring and that we might be able to eat at the end of it.

The cake worked and we’ve eaten it. A result!

Turkish Yoghurt Cake Recipe

In with the eggs and lemon zest

Neither of us are dessert experts, so we stuck to this recipe as closely as we could. Here’s how we went on.

  • First of all, preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius (350 fahrenheit).
  • Take 8 eggs at room temperature and separate the yolks from the egg whites. Let the yolks fall into a large mixing bowl and keep the whites to one side for now.
  • Into the egg yolks, finely grate the zest from a lemon (around 2 teaspoons) and add half a cup of sugar (your cup should be roughly the size of a British teacup).
  • Beat the egg yolks, lemon zest and sugar together until you get a foam on top (we used a hand whisk and this took a minute or two).
Turkish Yoghurt Cake Mix

Now it’s time to make the mixture


Now it’s time to add the rest of the cake ingredients:

  • Into your egg mixture, sift in three quarters of a cup of all-purpose flour, 3 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 cup of fine-grain semolina.
  • Gently fold these into the mixture. (Memories of baking with my nana when I was a child. Folding was a slow figure of 8 until all the flour was mixed in.) See top left image in the photo above.
  • Now add 2 cups of room temperature süzme yoghurt (top right image) and again, fold this in gently until it’s completely mixed in (bottom left image).
  • Take your egg whites and beat them until they form white peaks and fold these into the mixture also.
  • Use butter to lightly grease a baking tray. The recipe suggests a 10x15x2 inch baking pan. We used a square pyrex lasagne tray roughly 12×12 inch (about 30×30 cms).
  • Sift a light sprinkling of flour over the butter and now add your mixture to your baking pan.
  • Place in the centre of your preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until it’s a light, golden brown on top.
  • Meanwhile, make a syrup. 2 and a half cups of water, 3 cups of sugar and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. Stir and bring to the boil for 3 minutes and then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Süzme Yoğurt Tatlısı

Our Turkish yoghurt cake turned out well

  • As soon as your cake is golden on top, remove from the oven.
  • Slice it into 12 squares and hopefully your cake will not be stuck to your baking pan. We were expecting disaster at this point but as you can see, all was well.
  • Now pour your syrup over the cake slices and allow them to cool gradually at room temperature. The syrup will soak through your cake.
Süzme Yoğurt Tatlısı

We served our yoghurt cake with ice cream

And when it’s ready to eat, the recipe suggests sprinkling crushed pistachios on top of your cake. We forgot to buy some, so we served ours with pistachio-flavoured ice cream instead – and very good it was, too.

Making Süzme Yoğurt Tatlısı – Afternotes:

  • Süzme yoğurt tatlısı is a quick and easy cake to make if you have lots of people to feed.
  • We were using a hand whisk and couldn’t get our egg whites to form peaks. However, our cake is still light and airy. An electric whisk and a drop of lemon or vinegar in the egg whites should work.
  • Our oven is very small so the cake was golden on top, and cooked through, within 35 minutes.
  • We’re not big fans of sweet foods so we halved the amount of syrup in the recipe above.
  • If you’re unable to get süzme yoğurt where you live, natural Greek yoghurt will make a decent substitute.
  • Süzme yoğurt tatlısı is in the Desserts section of our Turkish recipes collection.
  • We have used yoghurt in other sweet dishes, too. Try it for breakfast with nectarines, as a puff pastry filling with strawberries, or mix it with summer fruits to make fruity frozen yoghurt.

Afiyet Olsun!

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  1. Yum! That looks simple enough for me 🙂 Hi Julia!
    But 8 eggs?! I’ve a phobia about using too many eggs and have always avoided anything more than 3 … hehe, that’s just in case I screw up.
    I could make a half recipe, I suppose.

  2. @ Ping: No idea. Is 8 eggs a lot? 🙂 And actually, we cheated because our eggs were huge double yolkers so we just used 4. Well, that makes 8 doesn’t it? 😉 I was more concerned with the amount of sugar than the eggs!

  3. Sounds and looks delicious! A mere smear of grease in the bowl or on your whisk, will stop egg whites thickening and forming peaks. I often give a quick wipe round bowl with half lemon which helps. Doesn’t seem to have made any difference to your end result though!

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