Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lemon Loaf

I've had a post-it on the page of the Bible reminding me to make this for my tea for two years.  I don't remember why it didn't make it onto last year's menu.  Probably, I had not flipped past that page in a while and forgot.

Because this was on one of the mass-baking days, the mixer was in use and I actually made this by hand the way it was in the cookbook.  I don't own a pastry cutter because it's a waste of drawer space.  I just break up the butter with clean hands.  It's very therapeutic and kind of hard to stop even when you're done.  Yes, it takes a couple more minutes than throwing everything in a stand mixer, but the texture of the final cake was exactly as it should have been.  If the end result is the same, do whatever works for you.

I baked two mini-loaves and only ended up using one.  The full recipe fills one regular loaf pan, so I did all that 2/3 math for nothing.  The other one is in the freezer until I finish every other leftover from the tea.  I did go a bit overboard.

It was generally agreed that this cake was lemony and refreshing without hitting you over the head with the lemon.  The problem with some lemon cakes is that you know they exist from across the room.  There's some zest in the batter and a soaked-in glaze on top, but this is otherwise a plain poundcake.  Sometimes, a hint of flavor is more effective than a lot of it.  Chocolate doesn't count.

1 lemon
2-1/4 C flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 C butter or margarine
3 eggs
*3/4 C milk

1.  Preheat oven to 350º.  From lemon, grate 1 tablespoon of zest and squeeze 1/4 C juice.  Put juice in the fridge for later.  Grease 9" x 5" loaf pan.

2.  In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and 1-1/2 C sugar.  With pastry blender, 2 knives, or your fingers, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in grated peel.

3.  In a separate bowl, beat eggs slightly with a fork and stir in milk.  Stir wet into dry mixture until just moistened.  Do not over mix.

4.  Pour batter into pan.   Bake 1-1/4 hours (40 minutes for minis).  Test with a toothpick at the 1 hour mark until it comes up dry.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack.

5.  While the cake is still warm, heat reserved lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar over medium-high heat to boiling.  Boil until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Brush evenly on top of loaf to glaze it.  Whatever soaks in will help to keep the cake moist.  You can serve it warm, but quick breads tend to develop a better flavor the next day.  They're also easier to slice.  For long-term storage, freezing is better than refrigerating.  Slice it first, then wrap in plastic wrap and again in foil.

Makes 1 full-sized loaf or 3 minis

Difficulty rating π

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