Monday, January 24, 2011

Sweet Lemon Loaf

It's no secret that I love lemons. Give me any baked item with the main ingredient of lemons and I'm your girl. I love lemonade and also eat lemons on their own. Yep, I'm one of those. Years ago when I worked I was lucky, or unlucky, enough to be about ten feet away from a Starbucks. I would go grab breakfast there nearly every morning. I'm not a coffee drinker, cant stand the stuff. But I do enjoy their baked items. My favorite used to be their lemon raspberry swirl loaf. I would often get two slices for breakfast and hope they still had some later in the afternoon to grab another slice before I headed home.

Then one day they stopped making them. In their place was a plain lemon loaf. I was upset, more than most would agree is sensible, and poutingly orded my first slice of the replacement. It wasn't as marvelous as the other but it was very tasty. And I still made my daily visits for my lemon loaf fix.
When I saw this recipe I was in heaven. It was like the stars were all aligning. You see, Robbie had just brought me home a big bag full of lemons that a coworker had picked from their tree. And I needed something to bake with them. This recipe makes two loaves but I cut it in half to only make one. Man what a mistake that was! Make both, they wont last long. She reccomends letting the icing harden before eating. Yeah, that didn't happen before I had to have a slice. It was divine!

Sweet Lemon Loaf
Recipe from: Sweet Peas Kitchen

1 ½ cups cake flour
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups sugar
8 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup grated lemon zest (from about 4 lemons)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the Lemon Syrup:
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar

For the Lemon Glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
4 to 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess.

In a medium bowl, sift together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed combine sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. With the mixer still running, drizzle the butter into the bowl. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix to combine. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Remove bowl from mixer.

Sprinkle in the flour mixture over the batter, one third at a time, folding gently after each addition until just combined. Do not overmix.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, rotate the pans, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.

While the loaf is cooling, make the lemon syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir together the lemon juice and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once dissolved, continue to cook for 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat; set aside.

Remove loaves to a wire rack on top of a baking sheet. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the tops and sides of the loaves. Brush the tops and sides of the loaves with the lemon syrup. Let the syrup soak into the cake and brush again. Let the cakes cool completely.

To make the lemon glaze, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice. The mixture should be thick but pourable. Add up to another tablespoon of lemon juice if the mixture is too stiff. Pour the lemon glaze over the top of each loaf and let it drip down the sides. Let the lemon glaze harden, about 15 minutes, before serving.

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