This Lemon Loaf Cake recipe is one I’ve been working on for a while, and I’m very proud of it! The earliest version of this recipe was in my ebook We Got Food at The House, and I think I’ve perfected it now. If you have the book just toss that recipe out entirely and use this one! I know there are a few fans of that recipe, but I’m sure you’ll like this Lemon Loaf Cake much better if you try it.
Lemon is my favorite flavor of cake, and I have a personal vendetta against lemon cakes that are actually just yellow cake with lemon frosting or lemon curd involved somehow. The cake should be lemon, too! So this baby is lemony as hell – but not overly tart, there’s a nice balance of sweetness. Lemon zest and a dash of lemon extract (or an even smaller amount of lemon juice) are added to the cake batter. A lemon simple syrup is drizzled all over the cake to soak in as soon as it is pulled from the oven. Finally, it’s coated in a sweet lemon glaze.
Lemon Loaf Cake Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Lemon Loaf Cake recipe:
- All-purpose flour, baking powder: It’s not a cake without flour! Well, I mean… flourless cake is a thing. But you’ll need flour for this Lemon Loaf Cake. Use aluminum-free double-acting baking powder, because it’s the best. Double acting means it reacts to moisture and heat so it provides extra lift.
- Granulated sugar, powdered sugar: It’s not a cake without sugar! Not a very good one at least.
- Whole milk, salted butter: For the glaze, we’ll finish the cake with. Depending on the consistency you want, you might not even need the milk. If you want a looser glaze, increase the amount of whole milk to 2 tablespoons.
- Lemon zest, lemon juice: Use regular ol’ lemons. I used a combination of Meyer lemons – which are sweeter and more floral than regular lemons – and regular lemons because that’s what I had on hand. You might want to reduce the sugar a tad bit if you use all Meyer lemons for this Lemon Loaf Cake instead.
- Lemon extract: If you don’t have any lemon extract you can substitute it with one teaspoon of lemon juice, or you can omit it. It just further heightens the lemon flavor in the cake itself, before the syrup and glaze.
- Large eggs: Structure. Stability. Flavor. Color. Eggs are needed in this Lemon Loaf Cake for all of these things.
- Vanilla bean paste: Extract is a fine substitute. If you want to omit the vanilla that would be fine too, but I appreciate the warmth it adds, it really rounds out the sharpness of the lemon and sweetness of the sugar.
How to Make Lemon Loaf Cake
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Lemon Loaf Cake recipe:
- Get ready to bake. Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare an 8×4″ loaf pan with baking spray or pan grease. Set it aside. In a small bowl stir together your baking powder and flour, and set that aside as well.
- Start on the batter. In a large mixing bowl – or the bowl of your stand mixer – add the butter and sugar. Cream the butter and sugar together on low speed for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to medium and continue beating until you’ve got a fluffy, pale-colored mixture. Add the eggs one at a time and once they’ve been incorporated add the lemon zest, vanilla bean paste, and lemon extract. Reduce the speed to low and add half of the flour mixture, followed by half of the whole milk. Beat for a full minute, then add the rest of the flour, followed by the rest of the milk. Increase the speed to medium and beat just until smooth – don’t overmix it! A few lumps are fine, but not too many.
- Bake the Lemon Loaf Cake. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake in the oven for 75 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Make the syrup. Mix together the lemon juice and sugar. Microwave it for 30 seconds on high, then stir well and microwave another 30 seconds on high and stir again. Repeat this process until the sugar has dissolved and a thin syrup has formed. You can also do this on the stovetop. Set the syrup aside.
- Soak the Lemon Loaf Cake. Once the cake is baked, remove it from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen the sides. Pour the syrup over the top of the entire cake. Leave the syrup to soak into the cake for about 5 minutes, then flip the cake out onto a wire rack or cake stand covered with parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the cake, and pinch them together while you flip the cake upright.
- Glaze the Lemon Loaf Cake. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes (optional, I don’t wait), then pour the glaze all over the top. Use a spoon to catch the glaze that falls to the parchment paper and apply it to the sides and any bare spots on top of the cake. Let the glaze set for about 3 minutes. Dassit! Let it cool completely if you want pretty, clean, slices. Don’t bother if you too worship at the altar of fresh, hot cake.
Obligatory Pinterest Graphics –