My ultimate lemon loaf recipe: a very lemony and moist bread. It can be topped with a lemon icing, and/or infused with even more lemon flavour using a lemon syrup. Delicious!
I love loaf cakes, and especially lemon loaves, but they can sometimes be a bit dry and boring. I have tried a few recipes, and while they were fine, I had yet to find my ultimate recipe.
I recently had a few lemons at home that I needed to use, and a strong craving for a lemon bread. I knew I wanted to try a new recipe that had been making the rounds on the French baking blogs, originally from La cuisine de Bernard.
The author called this recipe “THE ultimate lemon loaf”, and I understand why! This cake has to be one of the best lemon loaves I’ve ever tasted.
It’s super moist and lemony, because you wrap it immediately in cling film as soon as it comes out of the oven. This technique not only keeps the cake moist, but also keeps all the lemon aroma trapped in the loaf.
Alternative: substitute the icing with a syrup drizzle
For an even lemonier loaf (is this even a word?), I created a variation and replaced the lemon icing with a lemon syrup to drizzle on the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven.
I couldn’t decide which version of the loaf to include on the blog: the one with the lemon icing or the one with the lemon syrup?
So I decided to do an experiment and test both versions side-by-side. I made both loaves and took them to work. The taste test didn’t last long. Both lemon breads were gone within 30 minutes.
The feedback was clear: the lemon loaf with icing was picked first as more attractive and enticing, but the lemon drizzle cake was preferred from a texture and flavour point of view.
There is therefore no way to decide. I’ve included both options here so you can try them both and see which one YOU prefer!
The ultimate lemon loaf
For the cake:
- 200 gr (1 cup) of sugar
- 120 gr (1 stick) melted butter
- 165 gr eggs about 4 eggs
- the zest of 1 lemon
- 150 gr (1 1/4 cup) flour
- 80 gr lemon juice about 1.5 lemon
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
For the lemon icing
- 25 gr lemon juice 1/2 lemon
- 130 gr (1 1/3) icing sugar
Substitute icing for lemon syrup
- 100 gr lemon juice about 2 lemons
- 100 gr (1/2 cup) sugar
Prepare the batter
Preheat the oven at 170°C. Mix the melted butter, 200 g of sugar and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the eggs, flour and baking powder and mix again before adding the lemon juice.
Line your cake tin with baking paper and pour the cake to about 2/3 of the tin. Cook for 30-40 min - you will know that the cake is done when your knife comes out dry when pricking the cake.
Place the cake on a rack until it is tepid and then wrap in cling film and let cool.
As soon as the lemon bread is at room temperature, prepare the glaze by mixing the icing sugar with the lemon juice.
Place a plate under the cooling rack and unwrap the loaf. Pour the icing over the loaf.
Using a knife or a spatula, even out the icing so that the surplus falls onto the plate. The goal is to end up with a thin icing layer.
Place the oven and cooling rack back in the oven and bake for 8 min at 100°C (210 F) to dry the icing. The icing should now be silky to the touch.
Place the lemon juice and sugar in a pan and bring to a simmer until the mixture becomes a syrup.
Poke small holes into the cake surface and pour the syrup over it. The syrup will add moisture and even more of a lemon flavour to the cake!