Orange blossom water (see Note) gives this cake a lovely floral scent and a unique citrus aroma that’s much lighter than the taste you get from orange oil, which would overpower it. If you can’t find blossom water, use pure vanilla extract instead.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 8 ½-by-4 ½-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and spray again.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Place 1 cup sugar in the bowl of a food processor. Use a Microplane grater to remove the zest from both lemons, letting it fall directly onto the sugar. Juice the lemons into a bowl and reserve; you should have at least 6 tablespoons.
Pulse the sugar until it’s evenly yellow and has the texture of wet sand. Add the oil and pulse until well mixed. Add the eggs and pulse just until incorporated. Add the yogurt, 1 tablespoon reserved lemon juice and ½ teaspoon orange blossom water. Pulse just until the last streak of white yogurt disappears. Sprinkle the flour evenly over the wet ingredients and pulse just until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar with ¼ cup of the reserved lemon juice in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then boil until the liquid is clear, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and stir the remaining ½ teaspoon orange blossom water into the syrup.
Unmold the warm cake and brush the bottom and sides evenly with the lemon syrup. Cool completely on the wire rack.
Lemon Olive Oil Cake: Substitute extra-virgin olive oil for the vegetable oil.
Yogurt Citrus Cake: Substitute other citrus, such as oranges, Mandarins, clementines, grapefruit or limes or a combination, for the lemons.
You also can make the batter by hand: Place the sugar in a large bowl, zest the lemons over it and rub in the zest. Whisk in the oil, then the eggs, then the yogurt, lemon juice and orange blossom water. While whisking slowly, sprinkle in the flour mixture until the batter resembles pancake batter. Add half of the remaining flour and fold with a spatula just until incorporated and repeat with the remaining dry ingredients.
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