Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake

by | Apr 15, 2019 | All, Breakfast & Brunch

Celebrate the arrival of spring with this Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake recipe! A drizzle of herb-infused simple syrup keeps this citrusy cake extra moist and flavorful. 

Slices of Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake on a black cutting board. One slice is garnished with a lemon sugar frosting, fresh thyme and lemon slices. Cake for breakfast? Yes, it’s a thing, and you’ll definitely want to get your hands on a piece of this Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake with your morning coffee.

Warmer weather means lighter, brighter baked goods, and this Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake fits the bill perfectly.

Lemon and thyme pair so well together that I include both in this cake, not only as fresh thyme but also as a thyme-infused lemon simple syrup. The herbal tang from the thyme mellows the tart lemon while Greek yogurt and olive oil add a little extra protein and “good” fats to this recipe.

It may be called a breakfast cake, but this Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake doesn’t need to be limited to morning munchies. I can see it being at home at any springtime gathering from wedding & baby showers to Mother’s Day brunch.

There is just something about lemon that squeals spring….or maybe that’s just me stuffing my mouth with all of the lemon things I can find.

A slice of Lemon Thyme Breakfast plate on a gray plate, garnished with a fresh lemon glaze, a lemon slice and fresh thyme leaves.

Variations of Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake

I baked my cake in a regular 9-inch cake pan but you can easily make these in muffin tins or in loaf form if you prefer. I just love the simplicity of the cake pan. Plus the baking time is shorter. #Winning!

Drizzle your Breakfast Cake with simple syrup to keep it moist

The trick to keeping your breakfast cake moist?
Drizzle it with the thyme-infused simple syrup while it is still hot. The warm cake absorbs the sugar syrup and carries the flavor throughout the cake. Try it and see what a difference it makes!

How to make herb-infused simple syrup

Making an herb-infused simple syrup literally takes minutes, so don’t be put off by this extra step in the recipe. The flavor it adds to the cake is amazing!
Simply combine the lemon juice, sugar and fresh thyme sprigs in a small saucepan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool slightly, discard the thyme sprigs and pour over the cake.


Slices of Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake on a dark board. Drizzled with icing and garnished with lemon slices and fresh thyme.What you need to make this Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake:

  • I pretty much adore any pan made by USA Pans, and their cake pan is no exception.
  • This citrus press squeezes every last bit of juice out of your lemons (and limes) in one easy step.

Cake for breakfast is always a good choice. Enjoy a slice (or two) of any one of these tasty cakes with your morning cuppa! 


collage picture of two images of Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake
Yield: 8-10

Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake

Lemon Thyme Breakfast Cake

This light and airy breakfast cake is a fabulous addition to your brunch menu!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Zest from two lemons (2-3 teaspoons)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ounces olive oil

For the lemon-thyme syrup:

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 small fresh thyme sprigs

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


To make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Place yogurt, 3/4 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, thyme, vanilla and oil in a medium bowl and whisk together. Gently fold in the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until it is just incorporated.
  3. Pour batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a baking rack placed on top of a baking sheet.

To make the lemon-thyme syrup:

  1. While the cake is baking, combine the 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar and thyme sprigs in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
  2. Gently spoon the syrup over the warm cake once it is placed on the cooling rack. Allow the syrup to soak in. Cool cake completely.

To make the glaze:

  1. Stir together the powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 316Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 234mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 32gProtein: 6g

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  1. Avatar

    Cake for breakfast = YES PLEASE. Especially with lemon flavors and a glaze. I’ll be celebrating the warmer weather we’ll have this week with this recipe!

    • Avatar

      Hey, if warmer weather means cake every day, I’m all in!

  2. Avatar

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! I can’t wait to try this, and I also shared it with my facebook followers 🙂 Thanks for a beautiful spring recipe!

    • Avatar

      Thanks, Mary!!

  3. Avatar

    This looks so pretty, I love lemon and any herbs.

    • Avatar

      Me, too, Candi. Lemon and herbs are the best!

  4. Avatar

    What a delightful, light and lemony cake. That touch of thyme is inspired.
    I love the color of it. It looks—well it looks happy.

    • Avatar

      It makes my mouth happy, too, Carol!

  5. Avatar

    I made this for Easter Brunch yesterday. It was a HUGE hit and a beautiful addition to the brunch table. I added lemon curls and thyme sprigs to the top to dress it up! Delicious. Thank you!!

    • Avatar

      I’m so glad everyone loved it! The lemon curls and thyme sprigs sound like the perfect garnish. Great ideas!!

  6. Avatar

    This delightful little cake is infused with so many lovely flavours! I absolutely love the lemon + thyme mix!

  7. Avatar

    What is the bake time if I use a loaf pan? Additionally what is the bake time for muffins?

    • Avatar

      Hi Vicki, I’ve never made it in a either muffin or loaf form, but the bake time will be a bit longer for loaf form and shorter for muffins. A toothpick inserted in the center of each should come out clean when they are fully baked through. Enjoy!

  8. Avatar

    I don’t have baking soda, do you have a recommended substitution or can I just exclude?

    • Avatar

      Hi Emily, if you Google baking soda substitutions, you’ll find a list of alternatives. You definitely need something in place of the baking soda to give the cake some lift, so check your pantry and see if you have any of the recommended alternatives. Happy Baking!


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