Very Lemon Loaf

Very Lemon Loaf
A very basic recipe for a lemon loaf, that has a chef-worthy secret. (Courtesy to E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune; Joan Moravek/food styling)
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or at least that’s how the saying goes, but we believe that there are more ways to make use of lemons than just making lemonade. Really step into the spring mood with this soft, buttery lemon loaf recipe that's suitable for breakfast, a midday snack with a cup of tea or an after-dinner dessert.

This is a very basic recipe for a lemon loaf, so you won’t have to stress about not having top-tier baking skills. But it does have a chef-worthy secret. Instead of milk, this recipe calls for ricotta cheese, which helps give your loaf more moisture. Other than that, anyone can bake this treat. First, you need to zest and juice your lemons and set aside for later. Whisk together all of your dry ingredients. Add in your wet ingredients and beat until fluffy. Once your loaf is baked to perfection, cover the top in lemon juice and sugar glaze. Now you got yourself one zesty loaf that you can eat with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or with coffee.

This recipe may be simple, but it’s the perfect base recipe to add in anything you like or try out ingredient swaps if you have any dietary restrictions. If you’re lactose intolerant or looking for a non-dairy option, you can use soy milk. For a fruity twist, you can add in blueberries or raspberries.

If you enjoyed baking this lemon loaf and are interested in increasing your baking skills, then you can try out these baking tips every home cook should know.

Very Lemon Loaf


  • 4 large or 6 small lemons, scrubbed
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (plus about 2 teaspoons for pan), softened
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese


Step 1: Finely grate 2 tablespoons of zest from lemons and set aside. Then juice each lemon.

Step 2: Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Heat oven to 350F.

Step 3: In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together ¾ cup flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt.

Step 4: In the bowl of a stand mixer, drop in 1 stick of butter. At medium-high speed, beat butter until fluffy, stopping to scrape sides of the bowl as needed, about 1 minute. Cascade in 1 cup sugar, still beating; beat fluffy, about 1 minute. Add in 2 whole eggs and 1 yolk; beat fluffy.

Step 5: Beat in 1 cup ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons zest and ¼ cup of lemon juice. Add in flour mixture; beat on low speed just to combine. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top.

Step 6: Bake until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick stabbed in the center comes out flecked with crumbs, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool, 10 minutes.

Step 7: Run a blunt knife around the sides to loosen the edges. Turn out; set on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. While the cake is baking, make the glaze.

Step 8: Pour the remaining ½ cup sugar into a medium saucepan. Measure in ¼ cup juice. Simmer until sugar has dissolved and syrup thickens a bit, about 3 minutes.

Step 9: Brush glaze over top and sides of warm lemon loaf. (You may not use all the glaze.) When cool (or just barely warm), slice and serve.

by Diamond Bridges
© 2021 Tribune Publishing; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC
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