Lemon Loaf

I couldn’t resist! Here it is, the Lemon Loaf Cake from Baking with Julia. I altered one step. Instead of adding the lemon zest to the batter, I mixed it in with the sugar and crushed it around a bit so that the sugar became lemony and fragrant. I’m not sure if it really made a difference or if the lemons released any more essential oils than they would have otherwise, but it was sort of fun making the sugar all lemony. And the end result was a very good cake. It’s as tight crumbed and dense as a good creamed pound cake and a hundred times simpler. I’ve leaving it un-iced and will serve it with whipped cream and berries, as usual.

lemon loaf cut

Lemon Loaf Cake

1 1/3 cups sugar (250 grams)
Grated zest of 3 large lemons
4 large eggs at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 oz/196 grams)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (80 grams)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and lemon zest. With your fingers or back of a spoon, rub the lemon zest with the sugar to release its oils.

To the sugar, add the eggs and salt and whisk just a minute, until foamy and smoothly blended; the mixture should not thicken.

Spoon the flour and baking powder into a sifter and sift about a third of the dry ingredients over the foamy egg mixture. Whisk the flour into the eggs, mixing lightly. Sift the flour over the eggs in two more additions and whisk only until everything is incorporated. Whisk the heavy cream into the mixture. Fold in the melted butter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan – it will level itself – and bake for 50 to 60 minutes (mine took 60), or until the center of the cake crowns and cracks and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake to a cooling rack to rest for 10 minutes before unmolding. Cool to room temperature right side up on a rack.

When cool, wrap tightly with foil or plastic wrap. Cake should keep for 3 or 4 days.

Adapted from Baking With Julia

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  1. says

    After re-reading the recipe I’m wondering if I’m reading it correctly. Did you make this entirely with a spoon and a whisk?

  2. says

    Gloria, let me know what you think. I didn’t ice it, but I think the icing from the pumpkin molasses loaf recipe might be good here.

    Sue, you read it right. That’s the beauty of it.

  3. Amanda says

    Looks fabulous. I’ve made several pound cakes, just love them. 🙂 I have one for Elvis Presley’s Whipping Cream Pound Cake and it’s the best one I have made so far! Second place goes to the Orange Poppy Seed Pound Cake mmmmm!

    I like mixing the zest with the sugar too, I think it smells so good!

  4. says

    A lot of Dorie’s recipes in Baking From My Home to Yours have the zest mixed in with the sugar (with your fingers–it’s fun and does smell heavenly). Something lemony does sound good after I just made some really chocolaty goodies today!

  5. gloria says

    I’m planning on making this lemon loaf on the weekend so I have something wonderful to look forward to!! My husband just bought our first microplane so can’t wait to ask HIM to use it! Off the subject, but right now my black bananas are shouting louder…need to find a good sugar free recipe for banana bread for my diabetic mom…

  6. says

    I’m going to give this a try. I love lemon breads. I’ll probably add a tbsp of poppy seeds to the batter because I love lemon and poppy seed together. How on earth am I going to find time to make all these good-looking breads and stuff you keep posting???

    @Gloria, I make a lot of sugar free stuff just for the heck of it, and I think I’ve got a sugar free lemon bread that’s pretty darn tasty as far as sugar-free sweet breads are concerned. (It actually uses Splenda–not sure if you’re anti-Splenda or not). I’ll take a look and see if I can find it.

  7. says

    Now I know I have to try this! It looks amazing. I love a cake/bread without icing. I’m still taking baby steps towards becoming a better baker but I usually have pretty good luck when using loaf pans.

  8. Gloria says

    Once I make this loaf the regular way, I may try Splenda so my mom can try it. I used it with my banana bread recipe tonight and other than baking a little quicker and not being as sweet, it came out pretty good. I did add raisins (soaked in hot apple juice for 10 min) to add some natural sweetness (and take away from the Splenda aftertaste). Not sure what I could throw into this lemon loaf to make it more naturally sweet…

  9. Gloria says

    Just couldn’t wait for this pound cake to cool off so I sliced a piece off of the end after only being out of the oven for 10 minutes. I can taste the lemon, butter, and eggs. I could probably eat the whole loaf in one sitting! I can’t wait for it to cool off so I can drizzle it with your lemon icing. This works out perfect because I have 3 skinless lemons to juice -I rarely have fresh lemon juice around.

  10. Gloria says

    Ok. I just tried a piece of the lemon pound cake with the lemon icing. I have to say I think the way you serve it with whipping cream would be better. The icing did not ruin the pound cake because the cake is dense and the icing is thin, but the pound cake stands fine on its own. I found myself wanting to taste just the pound cake or just the icing, but not both together. My coworkers are in for a treat tomorrow! Thanks for the posting.

  11. Gloria says

    Sorry to be writing so much, but this loaf tasted much better today! The icing actually was good on it. I guess it is true that pound “loaves” taste better the next day!!! I followed the directions with the exception of…..(drum roll…and big surprise…) I used salted butter plus added a pinch of salt.

  12. says

    I made this yesterday and really really enjoyed it (both the making and the eating). I also made a lemon glaze to go on top of it and found that with the glaze, it’s a great blend of bitter and sweet and it’s way tasty. Yum yum.

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