I cannot think of a more pleasant, well-mannered, delightful cake than Lemon Loaf Cake. Even the name sounds like the kind of thing you want to share with a friend or bring to a new neighbor.
I love this cake, and I want you to love it too. There are three components, but do not let that thwart your best intentions. You can do this.
There is a cake batter, which gets baked, and then ten minutes after emerging golden and perfect from the oven, it gets bathed in lemon simple syrup (which you can make in the microwave, by the way), and cools completely while drinking in all that syrupy goodness.
When the cake is cooled, the finished product is drizzled in a lemon glaze which, if executed correctly, will both stay atop the cake and drip down the sides, basically elevating you to the upper echelons of the domestic arts.
Can you taste the frenzy of lemon goodness? The cake is tender and moist, doused in sweet syrup, and the glaze is everything a glaze should be. Picture perfect, don't you think?
Lemon Loaf Cake
yields 1 large loaf
For the cake…
2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the syrup…
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the glaze…
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch large loaf pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This will take about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs and the lemon zest.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl (or a glass measuring cup) combine the buttermilk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.
While the cake bakes, make the syrup. Combine the granulated sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cake is done, allow to cool for ten minutes in the pan, then spoon the lemon syrup all over the top. Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing.
For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice in a bowl, mixing until smooth. You want the consistency to be thick, but still pourable. If it is too thin, it will just drip right off of the cake. The ideal consistency will flow off the side of the cake, but mostly stay on top of the cake.