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Luscious Lemon Loaf


I love lemon loaf.

My earliest memories eating this sweet/tart/cakey treat involve older women force-feeding it to me every time my mom would bring me along to their houses for tea. I don’t think I loved it then, but I didn’t hate it. It didn’t have any big chunks of fruit. It wasn’t overly sour. It was often preferable to a slice of fruit cake, or even gumdrop cake (which I have never been a fan of).

A few summers ago I was feeling nostalgic and looking for something to do while waiting for my company’s next restaurant to open. I started making old fashioned Cape Breton baked goods and selling them at a farmer’s market in Unionville, Ontario. Biscuits, Fat Archies, Cape Breton Oakcakes – all the baked goods I didn’t really like when I was a kid. I also started making this lemon loaf. I had cute mini-loaf pans and would halve the recipe to make mini-lemon loaves, perfect for two people to consume in one sitting.



I was amazed at how popular these baked goods were, and how quickly they would sell. It seemed that everyone else was feeling as nostalgic for old-fashioned goodies as I.

The lemon loaf was especially popular. Originally, I wouldn’t give it a glaze. Instead I would just mix the juice from a lemon with 2 Tbsp of sugar until the sugar dissolved, then would spoon it over the hot loaf like a syrup. That’s the traditional way to do it. Now I make a glaze for it in addition to soaking it in the lemon juice syrup. It balances out the tartness a little, which I like. If you like it tart, stop at the lemon juice syrup!



Lemon Loaf


1/2 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

rind of one lemon

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup buttermilk


2 heaping Tbsp sugar

juice of one lemon


1/3 cup icing sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 Tbsp heavy cream


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (190 degrees Celsius, no fan). Butter and flour one loaf pan.
  • In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), cream together the melted butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and lemon rind. Mix well.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing briefly after each.
  • Add all dry ingredients at once; mix until just combined (don’t over-mix).
  • Add the buttermilk and mix on high speed for 30 seconds until everything is combined well. The mixture should be slightly thick, but light.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf.
  •  Make the syrup: mix the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Pour over the top of the hot loaf. Allow the loaf to cool for 15 minutes in the loaf pan, then remove loaf from pan and cool completely on a cooling rack.
  • Make the glaze: mix the three glaze ingredients together, adding more cream if the glaze is looking too thick. You want the glaze to be slightly runny, but easy to spread. Spread the glaze over the top of the cooled lemon loaf.


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