Lemon Loaf

I've written before about how much I've enjoyed the book Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I've tried many of the recipes in the book and I've loved them all. The recipe that I've made the most is the "Lemon Lemon Loaf" that appears on page 41. It is infused with a lemon syrup and either with or without the glaze, it is heavenly.

Lemon Lemon Loaf (from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito)

Makes 2 loaves

For the cake:
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
8 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cups grated lemon zest, from about 4 lemons
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the syrup:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar

For the glaze:
2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
4 to 6 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray the sides and bottom of two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment and spray the parchment.

Sift both of the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl using a whisk.

Put the sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until combined. With the motor running, drizzle the butter in through the feed tube. Add the sour cream and vanilla and pulse until combined. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

Sprinkle in the flour mixture, one third at a time, folding gently after each addition until just combined. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F, and bake for another 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the lemon syrup...
In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Line a half sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper and invert the loaves onto the pan. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the loaves.
Brush the tops and sides with lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the loaves and brush again. Let the cakes cool completely, about 30 minutes.

The soaked but unglazed loaves will keep, wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap and frozen, for up to 6 weeks.

While the cakes are cooling, make the lemon glaze...
In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioner's sugar and 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. If too stiff, add up to another 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, a little at a time until the right consistency is reached. Pour the lemon glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides. Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes. The glazed loaves will keep up to 3 days, wrapped tightly in plastic, at room temperature.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I am generally not a cake eater but I can always make an exception when it comes to lemon! It looks yummy. gail

  2. This looks fabulous! I love lemon and pound cakes, so I know I'll love this one.
    Thanks for the photos and recipe.

  3. Oh my, I'll have to try this recipe! Organic lemons seems the way to go as a lot of chemicals are sprayed on regular lemons

  4. Phillip, your Lemon Loaf looks absolutely delicious! And the addition of the light syrup & glaze puts it into a whole new area of praise.

    Many thanks for posting this terrific recipe...

  5. That looks so tasty, I just wanted to reach in that photo and take a bite!!!! Yummy, need to get my personal chef to bake this one for a morning wake up.

  6. yum; this is one I love to make in the summer! right now we're still heavy into the apple cakes. and I do mean heavy...

  7. Mmmmm, lemon! Also, I was totally smokin' crack in my last post when I said juncos weren't stripey here. They are probably less stripey because from about the same distance of your photo, out my own window, they look solidly gray, but I looked at them through the binoculars this morning and they do indeed have subtle stripes. Thanks for making me look closer! :)

  8. JP, we are heavy into apple cakes too -- my husband and I can finish one in 2 days. I'll def. try the lemon tho ... just bought a giant bag of lemons at Costco to make some lemon curd, and I'll use some for this cake too.

  9. Oh, I wish I had eaten lunch befor I read this. Made me real hungry! Tha cake looks so yummy!

  10. I found an omission: In the list of ingredients there should be 1/4 cup lemon juice, to add to the sugar and egg and zest mixture in the food processor. I'm making these loaves tonight, and the only way I noticed the error is that I was on epicurious.com looking for a lighter version of this (ha) and came across the exact recipe. Decided to suck it up and make the rich version. :) The loaves are in the oven now. Can't wait to taste!

  11. C.C., thank you, you are correct. I sure hope I didn't mess anybody up on that. It is a rich cake (well 4 sticks of butter should tell us that) but it freezes well. We always freeze most of it to keep us from eating so much!

  12. Had to report back after tasting a slice ... and then another. For a lemon freak like me, this is heaven. It's so light-tasting, not heavy/greasy at all despite all the butter. And, Phillip, as you said, the cakes would be fine without the glaze, but for me the tangy sweetness of the glaze makes it perfect. I can't wait to have a (big) slice for breakfast with my tea tomorrow. Thank you!

    PS. My food processor must be on the small size because it leaked a bit when I added the butter. Didn't make too big a mess, tho.

  13. Hi!
    Nice post. I'll be doing a post of this loaf on 8/8/10. I will be linking your site as well.

    I am having a COOKBOOK GIVEAWAY that you are welcome to enter.



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