You know, a good lemon loaf can change your day. A superb one can change your life, settling into that spot in your brain where it can't be replaced. It happened to me with this recipe. If you have pleasant (nostalgic even) memories of sweet and sour summer lemonade and enjoy a dense-yet-damp pound cake, then you've found the perfect amalgamation. This cake is unbeatable.
*Shopping tip: you'll need three large lemons.
Notes: butter is unsalted
Ingredients: 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 large eggs at room temperature, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 tbsp. lemon juice (half a large lemon), 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, zest of one lemon, 1/2 tsp. sea salt, 1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk stirred with 1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice).
For the glaze: 4 tbsp. powdered sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice (1 large lemon).
For the icing: 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tbsp. milk, 1-11/2 tbsp. lemon juice.
Makes one 9-inch loaf.
1. Preheat the oven to 350*. Butter or spray the loaf pan, and line it with parchment paper.
2. Assemble cake ingredients: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Set aside. In a separate large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter with the sugar on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add each egg one at a time, mixing on low, followed by the vanilla and 2 tbsp. of lemon juice.
3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet: On low, add about a third of the flour mixture with half of the buttermilk. When the flour is incorporated, add in another third of the flour with the remaining buttermilk, then end with the rest of the flour mixture. Mix on low until just combined.
4. Bake the cake: Spoon the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes until lightly golden and a tester comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes.
5. Glaze the cake: Remove the cake to a rack or platter. Stir together the ingredients for the glaze, then brush it over the top of the cake--a few layers. (You'll have some glaze leftover.) Continue letting the cake cool completely.
6. Ice the cake: Mix the ingredients for the icing, only using 1 tbsp. of lemon juice to start. You can add more, if necessary, to get a thick but pourable consistency. Pour the icing over the cooled cake, spreading with the back of a spoon as you need. Allow it to set before slicing.