Sweet Lemon Loaf: Antidote for the Renovation Blues

I am currently doing extensive renovations to my house, tackling a number of projects that have been on my ‘meaning to do’ list for the last five years. By the end of this weekend, the last of the geriatric wallpaper will be gone (sound of cheering). It’s a little challenging, however, to feel excited and uplifted about my future spiffy home when I return from a hard day at the salt mine to spend two hours cleaning up all the plaster dust around here. Frankly, it can make a gal feel a little blue. The antidote for blue is yellow. Lemon, that is.

I’ve been shoring up my resilience and soothing my stress with a lovely Sweet Lemon Loaf. There’s nothing like the sweet tang of lemon to perk me up and make me feel better about the fact that the seat of my pants is covered with white dust (must remember to dust before I sit). Mmmm, just the thing to give me the energy to pick up the broom and dustpan again.

I made this loaf cake Tuesday night because my good friend Bill was coming for dinner on Wednesday (I promised him a shout-out on my blog, so there’s your moment of fame Bill! Not sure I can guarantee the full 15 minutes, but I remain hopeful…).

This recipe is on my favourites list, but I’ve only served it as a snack in nice thick, unadorned slices until now. Since this version would be dessert for company, I jazzed it up with a tempting dollop of whipped cream and a scattering of raspberries. The snowy white cream and red berries looked lovely against the pale yellow of the cake, and made for a simple yet elegant dessert indeed. The cake itself is very tender and moist, and the lemon flavour is bright yet subtle.

The photos don’t really do the cake justice — a little too much talking and laughing while wielding the camera, not to mention eagerness to just dig in — but they make a nice memento of a great visit with an old friend.


Apparently I cannot provide a recipe without going on about its provenance, so forgive me as I launch into another bit of kitchen history. I found this recipe in The Doubleday Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna. It was a wedding gift, along with an acrylic cookbook holder, at the time of my nuptials in 19….. never mind, that’s not important. This 1,325 page tome is still my basic go-to cookbook. It’s been displayed on numerous kitchen counters over the years, and I’ve used it so much that the spine is completely cracked along 3/4 of its length. The book has outlasted the union, but nonetheless it still evokes a lot of good cooking memories.

And now, the recipe as I’ve adapted it from the original… Enjoy!

Sweet Lemon Loaf

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan.

  • 1-1/2 cups sifted flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Sift flour with baking powder and salt, and set aside. Cream butter until light, add sugar gradually and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the dry. Beat until each addition is incorporated. Add the lemon zest and juice, and stir  just until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake about 1 hour. When done the cake will pull from the sides of the pan and be springy to the touch. You can also check it with a tester which should come out clean. Let it cool in the pan on a rack for 15 or 20 minutes, then turn the cake out onto the rack. Once cool, wrap well so your lovely lemon loaf won’t dry out.

The original recipe also calls for an optional 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts and a lemon glaze.  I’ve never used either, as I find it’s just fine and nicely moist plain.

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