If you are looking for a sweet and tangy dessert that is sure to impress, look no further than this Lemon Loaf. The moist and flavorful cake is infused with tangy lemon flavor, nutty poppy seeds, and a deliciously punchy glaze that will keep you coming back for more. Follow along, and I’ll guide you through the steps to bake this delicious dessert at home, providing helpful tips and photos along the way. From mixing the batter to baking and adding the finishing touches, I’ll cover everything you need to know to create the perfect lemon loaf cake.
There's something undeniably comforting and uplifting about a freshly baked glazed lemon loaf. The combination of tangy lemon zest and sweet, luscious glaze creates a delightful treat that perfectly balances bright citrus flavors with the warmth of a homemade cake.
In this blog post, we will walk you through the process of creating a delectable lemon poppy seed loaf from scratch, sharing expert tips and tricks to help you achieve bakery-worthy results right in your own kitchen.
The beauty of this easy lemon drizzle cake lies in its simplicity – it requires just a handful of basic ingredients and a few easy-to-follow steps to create a moist, tender cake that's bursting with zesty lemon flavor.
This versatile dessert is perfect for serving at brunches, afternoon tea, or as a sweet finale to a family dinner.
Its sunny yellow hue and tantalizing aroma are sure to brighten up any gathering, making it a must-try recipe for anyone who loves the combination of sweet and tart flavors.
In the following sections, we'll provide a detailed recipe for this irresistible lemon loaf recipe, along with suggestions for customizing the cake to suit your preferences. We'll also delve into the secrets behind achieving the perfect texture and crumb, ensuring that your lemon loaf turns out light, fluffy, and full of flavor every time.
So, preheat your oven, gather your ingredients, and prepare to be wowed by this scrumptious lemon drizzle loaf that's sure to become a new favorite in your baking repertoire.
For the Loaf
- Butter: I recommend using unsalted butter. Make sure you bring it to room temperature before using.
- Sugar: Regular granulated sugar is best for this recipe.
- Eggs: Use large eggs at room temperature for the best results.
- Lemon juice and zest: Freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest will give you the most flavorful results. You could add ½ teaspoon lemon extract for an even more punchy lemon flavor.
- Vanilla extract: Make sure to use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor. Imitation just doesn't compare!
- Poppy seeds: Optional, but adds a nice nutty flavor to the cake.
- Flour: All-purpose flour is best in this recipe.
- Baking powder: Make sure you use fresh baking powder for this recipe. If it has been in the back of your pantry for a few years, it probably needs tossing.
- Salt: Use fine sea salt or kosher salt.
- Sour cream: Use full-fat sour cream for added moisture and the best taste. Greek yogurt (5%) could also be used.
For the Lemon Glaze
- Powdered Sugar: If your powdered sugar is clumpy, make sure you sift it first.
- Lemon Juice: You won't believe the punchy flavor that fresh lemon juice adds to the glaze.
Step by Step Instructions
For the full recipe with measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
First, start by preheating the oven to 350° F. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing for an overhang.
Tips & Tricks
- Customizing your lemon loaf cake recipe: Feel free to get creative with your glazed lemon loaf by adding different mix-ins or toppings. You can include blueberries or even a swirl of raspberry jam for added flavor and visual appeal. Experiment with various glazes, such as orange-infused or cream cheese-based, to find your favorite combination.
- Measuring ingredients accurately: To ensure the perfect texture and crumb of this lemon pound cake, it's essential to measure your ingredients accurately. Use a kitchen scale for precise measurements (use the metric button in the recipe card to get the weight of the ingredients), or if using cups, level off the ingredients with the back of a knife for consistent results.
- Room temperature ingredients: For a light and fluffy lemon loaf, make sure all your ingredients, especially butter, eggs, and sour cream, are at room temperature before mixing. This helps them blend more easily and evenly, creating a smooth batter.
- Zesting lemons: When zesting lemons for your loaf, be sure to only remove the outer yellow layer, as the white pith underneath can be bitter. Only go over the lemon once! A microplane or fine grater works best for this task
- Avoid overmixing: To achieve the desired tender crumb, avoid overmixing the batter once the dry ingredients have been added to the wet. Gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined, as overmixing can lead to a dense, tough loaf.
- Checking for doneness: To ensure your lemon loaf is fully baked, insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, your loaf is ready. Be careful not to overbake, as this can cause the cake to become dry.
- Cooling and glazing: Allow your lemon loaf to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. This will help the loaf maintain its shape and make it easier to glaze. Once cooled, drizzle the glaze over the top, allowing it to set before slicing and serving.
Does lemon loaf need to be refrigerated?
Since the glaze doesn't have dairy, you can store this lemon loaf at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. You can refrigerate it if you want to keep it a bit longer than that.
Can I freeze lemon loaf?
Absolutely! For best results, wrap your cooled cake tightly with plastic wrap before transferring it to a freezer-safe bag or container.
Lemon loaf can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you're ready to enjoy it, thaw at room temperature or in the refrigerator, and glaze as usual.
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- Large Bowl
- Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer
- 9 x 5 Loaf Pan
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Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf
- ½ cup butter at room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds optional
- 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup sour cream at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice plus more to achieve desired texture
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a 9x5 loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing for an overhang.
- Beat together the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Add the eggs, one at at time, beating after each addition.
- Beat in the lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract, and poppy seeds.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the try mix to the butter mixture, alternating with the sour cream. Mix until just combined.
- Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then remove to cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the glaze, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl to remove any clumps. Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
- Spoon over the loaf, and let stand for about 30 minutes before s