The softest, moistest lemon loaf. Bursting with fresh lemon flavor – Starbucks has nothing on this recipe Lemon loaf is sunshine & happiness in buttery, delicious, baked-good form. Now, I’ve taste tested my fair share of lemon loaves – and I’m 100% positive this one is softer, more moist and has a more delicious, natural lemon flavor.
To be honest – as much as I love baking – I’ve been known to frequent Starbucks for a slice of lemon loaf. The problem is the embarrassment factor though. You see, when I’m only ordering one coffee the barista catches on that the 2 slices of lemon loaf are for me, myself & I.
So the fact that I can make my own that’s even more delicious and eat half the loaf with zero judgement and not have to order multiple coffees to conceal my greediness is also a big plus.The idea for this recipe actually started when I offered to bake something for a friend – and he requested lemon loaf. At first I was a little shocked. I was fully expecting an extravagant request – chocolate, frosting, sprinkles, cake layers… Lemon loaf seemed a little too subdued for such an open ended offer. But when I thought about that deliciously soft crumb, moist texture, slightly tangy flavor & sweet glaze….. Challenge accepted.
For this recipe – we’re bringing out the big guns for deliciousness. First, butter. Not only does it add flavor, but creaming the butter and sugar together until light & fluffy also keeps the loaf from getting too dense. Then for the most moist texture we’re using 2 eggs and a combo of sour cream & buttermilk. Eggs add tenderness, while sour cream creates a super moist loaf & buttermilk leads to the softest crumb.
Then lemon zest & lemon juice for the delicious, natural lemon flavor. It’s imperative NOT to use lemon juice from the bottle because the flavor is too acidic & tart. Instead, zest & squeeze the juice from fresh lemons. You’ll probably need 3 in total for the loaf & glaze. I know this is a little more work – but it’s 100% necessary. AND 100% delicious.Then to top it all off – a sweet lemon glaze. Sometimes I make my lemon loaf with just a drizzle as pictured here. And sometimes I pour it all on top when I’m wanting a loaf that’s a little more on the cake side.
Whether you make it for breakfast, coffee break – or as a birthday present – this lemon loaf needs to be in your baking repertoire. Bright, happy sunshine in baked good form. I hope you like your present Bryan!!!
- 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled (be careful not to over measure)
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened to room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 large eggs , room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice , you'll likely need 2 lemons
- 1/3 cup sour cream , room temperature
- 6 tablespoons milk , buttermilk preferred at room temperature
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice , about 1 lemon
- 1 to 1 and 1/4 cup cup icing sugar , sifted
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter & flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan, or line the loaf pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on each side.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder & salt and set aside.
In a large bowl using a stand or hand-held electric mixer on medium speed cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Add in the eggs and vanilla and continue beating until combined. Turn off the mixer and stir in the lemon juice with a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon while also scraping down the side of your bowl.
In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl - gently whisk together the sour cream and milk. Working in thirds, add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter & sugar mixture alternating with 1/3 of the sour cream & buttermilk while mixing on low speed. Only mix each addition until just combined. Once you've mixed in the last 1/3 of the sour cream & buttermilk, turn off your mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45-55 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs. At 40 minutes if the top of your loaf begins to brown too much tent a piece of aluminium foil and place over the loaf (don't let the foil touch the top of your loaf). Mine took exactly 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool at room temperature.
Once cooled, whisk together the lemon juice and icing sugar for the glaze. If you're planning to pour the glaze on top of the loaf ad slightly more icing sugar so make it thicker. Remove the lemon loaf from the pan and either drizzle or pour the glaze over top.