I am a fan of lemons! I start my day with warm lemon water, and if there is an opportunity to slip some lemon into my other meals with a salad dressing or garnish for a soup, I go for it. Lemons boost the flavour of many a dish. Here, they play a starring role in this Lemon Loaf. I have added fresh thyme to add another dimension. Food grade lavender is another option. I also look forward to trying fresh basil, as I think the lemon/basil combo is a traditional winner. With herbs or without, this lemony loaf is a go-to because I usually have the ingredients on hand. In texture, it’s very similar to a pound cake, with a cheeky side of lemon!
- 1-2/3 cups spelt flour (use buckwheat flour for a gluten free version)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves*
- 1 large lemon and its rind (might need an extra half for the juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 2/3 cup milk (I used almond)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Fit a piece of waxed paper into the bottom and grease it as well. (Or, forget the grease and fully line your baking dish with baking paper.)
- Measure flour, baking powder, salt, thyme leaves, and cardamom into a medium-sized bowl. Stir together with a fork until well blended. Finely grate the peel from the lemon and stir it into the flour mixture. Set aside.
- Squeeze out 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice and stir with the ¼ cup white sugar. Set aside to use as a glaze.
- Place the butter and ¾ cup sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Beat in the eggs. Then, gradually beat in one-third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the milk and vanilla. Repeat additions, ending with the remaining third of flour mixture. Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the centre of the loaf to the bottom of the pan, comes out clean.
- When done, remove the loaf from the oven, leave it in the pan and place the pan on a rack. Immediately drizzle half of the lemon/sugar mixture over the top of the hot loaf. Let sit 10 minutes, then drizzle with remaining lemon/sugar mixture. Let sit another 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan and finish cooling on the rack. If not serving right away, wrap in heavy foil and freeze. It will keep well for at couple of months.
*I have also made this recipe with 1 tablespoon of dried lavender in place of the thyme.
A note about pans… I have made this recipe for 20+ years with great success. I usually have the ingredients on hand so it is a good “go-to” when I need to bring a treat to someone’s house. I have tried it with mini muffin pans where I greased the pans but didn’t put a wee circle of waxed paper in the bottom of each muffin cup (that, would require a Martha Stewart crew in my kitchen!) For the mini muffin pans, I adjusted the baking time to 20 minutes total, rotating the pans at 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them.
(Loaf = 45-55 minutes; mini loaf pans = 18-20 minutes; mini muffins = 12-14 minutes)