The Ultimate Lemon Loaf

My ultimate lemon loaf recipe: a very lemony and moist quick bread. It can be topped with a lemon icing, and/or infused with even more lemon flavor using a lemon syrup. Delicious!

My ultimate lemon loaf recipe: a very lemony and moist bread. It can be topped with a lemon icing, or infused with a lemon syrup.

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.

lemon bread


The author called this recipe “THE ultimate lemon cake”, 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.

lemon bread recipe

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.


lemon drizzle cake

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!

My Ultimate Lemon Loaf

My ultimate lemon loaf recipe: a very lemony and moist bread. It can be topped with a lemon icing, or infused with a lemon syrup. 

For the cake:

  • 200 gr (1 cup) of sugar
  • 120 gr (1 stick) melted butter
  • 165 gr eggs (about 3 eggs)
  • the zest of 1 lemon
  • 150 gr (1 1/4 cup) flour
  • 80 gr lemon juice (about 2 lemons, depending on their size)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

For the lemon icing

  • 25 gr lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  • 130 gr (1 1/3) icing sugar

Substitute lemon syrup for the icing

  • 100 gr lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons, depending on their size)
  • 100 gr (1/2 cup) sugar

Prepare the batter

  1. Preheat the oven to 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.

  2. 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.
  3. Place the cake on a rack until it is tepid and then wrap in cling film and let cool.

Lemon icing:

  1. As soon as the lemon bread is at room temperature, prepare the glaze by mixing the icing sugar with the lemon juice. 

  2. Place a plate under the cooling rack and unwrap the loaf. Pour the icing over the loaf.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

If syrup:

  1. Place the lemon juice and sugar in a pan and bring to a simmer until the mixture becomes a syrup.
  2. 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!

This is the pan and the cooking spray I used for this recipe. Note that the pan is smaller than your standard loaf pan.


  1. Dear Nathalie,

    Your lemon cake looks very tasty. I am going to try your recipe.

    All the best,

  2. Hey Nathalie,
    I’ve made this cake today and it was lush! Thank you so much for adding this recipe.
    BTW: 165g were 3 eggs for me 😉

  3. I made a loaf with the syrup first and it was to-die-for. So I made four three loaves yesterday for our women’s social and they were a definite hit with their “lemony” flavor. Each loaf cut nicely into ten slices after refrigeration overnight. With the last batch, I used one recipe of the syrup to spoon over the three loaves and two batches of lemon icing to spread over the top & run down the sides. Attractive as well as a delicious texture and flavor! Oh yes, 3 large eggs (American) were close to 165 gr. I baked at 350 degrees F for 50-55 minutes. Thank you for another great recipe!

    • Hi Norma Jean, wow so you went for the syrup AND the lemon glaze. That can only be delicious! The more lemony the better:-) Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

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