Any-Citrus Labneh Swirl Cake

By Bill Clark

SERVES: 8-12

This simple weeknight cake can use up any citrus you have in your kitchen. I’ve used Cara Cara, grapefruit, lime, lemon, and loved them all. If you’re using a smaller fruit like limes and lemons, I call for the zest of two. For larger ones, like navel oranges or medium grapefruit, the zest of one is enough. I also call for “zesting” with a Y-peeler and grinding the peels with the sugar in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor or hauling it out is just not the vibe, microplaning the citrus and rubbing the zest into the sugar with your fingertips works fine.

Active Time: 15-20 Mins

Total Time: 1 hr-1 hr 15 mins

Any-Citrus Labneh Swirl Cake


  • 1 large orange, medium grapefruit, or two limes/lemons


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup almond flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, divided 
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ cup canola oil 
  • 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar 


  • 1 pint of labneh 
  • 3 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350:

  • Grease a 9-inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment.

2. Make the batter:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup flour, ½ cup almond flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  • Peel the citrus with a Y-peeler, avoiding as much pith as possible. Place the peels in the bowl of a food processor with 1 cup of granulated sugar. Grind until the peel is fine. Transfer the citrus sugar to a large mixing bowl.
  • Whisk 3 eggs into the citrus sugar mixture. Next, whisk in 1 cup labneh, followed by ½ cup canola oil.
  • Using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture until incorporated, but not overmixed. Set aside.

3. Make the labneh swirl:

  • In the same bowl you used for the flour mixture, whisk together 1 cup labneh, 2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, and ½ teaspoon salt. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

4. Assemble and bake the cake:

  • Transfer the cake batter to the prepared pan, and level it with a spatula. Dollop the labneh mixture into the batter, (try to keep the labneh mixture away from the sides.) Using a small offset spatula or the handle of a tablespoon, swirl the labneh mixture and batter in about 5 small swirls, using a scooping motion to bring the batter to the surface and sink some labneh into the cake.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until the center of the cake has a slight spring when touched, 40-50 minutes.

5. Make the syrup and finish:

  • While the cake bakes, juice the peeled citrus.
  • Combine ⅓ cup of citrus juice and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium until the sugar dissolves. Set aside until the cake is finished baking.
  • When the cake has finished baking, remove from the oven and gently run an offset spatula around the edge.
  • Carefully pour the warm syrup around the edge of the cake. (Try to keep the syrup off the labneh swirls as best as possible.)
  • Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Once cooled, gently flip the cake onto a plate and then invert again and slide onto a serving plate.

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