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Lemon Loaf Cake

I absolutely love lemon dessert, from lemon cake to lemon bars to lemon ice pops! So of course, this cake, with a lemon cake base and a lemon glaze became an instant favorite. Toasted and chopped walnuts add an incredible nutty, buttery, and crunchy pop to the cake. It lasts about a week stored in an airtight container at room temperature, but it'll be gone long before that.


Lemon Cake

  • 2 1/2 all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/3 cup softened butter

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup milk (or milk alternative for the lactose intolerant)

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts - optional

Lemon Glaze

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 1/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven 325 degrees Fahrenheit or 160 degrees Celsius. Grease one large loaf pan (or three mini loaf pans).

  2. In a large bowl or the base of a stand mixer, cream the softened butter, sugar, and lemon zest. Add the eggs and beat to combine.

  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add in about half of the dry mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, then mix to barely combine. Add in about half the milk, and stir. Add in the rest of the dry ingredients, and mix until fully combined. Finally, add in the rest of the milk and stir until fully combined. If you're adding walnuts, you should throw them in the batter now, and fold in. *Tip: If you don't like/can't eat walnuts, substitute for 2 tablespoons poppy seeds! 

  4. Pour the batter into the greased pan(s). Put them in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. I made smaller loaves, so if you're using one big loaf, it may need up to ten more minutes.

  5. While the cake bakes, let's make our glaze! Okay, it's really more of a syrup, but either way, it goes on the cake and tastes incredible. In a saucepan over low heat, add the zest, sugar, and lemon juice. Allow the sugar to dissolve, stirring constantly. **Tip: When the glaze/syrup is a little bit cooler, pour it into a measuring cup with a spout, for easier pouring.

  6. When the loaf cake comes out of the oven, poke holes in it using a wooden skewer or chopsticks, and pour the glaze over it. Now here's the hardest part: wait at least half an hour. I know, a long time. But we want the glaze to soak into the cake and get that lemon flavor in every inch of the cake! 

  7. Now, just slice and serve! This cake is so incredible, and we definitely ate an entire mini loaf in one night. Store the rest in an airtight container at room temperature.


Where Does This Cake Recipe Come From?

My mom has several boxes of recipes from my great grandma. Most of them are family recipes, either from my great grandma, grandma, or great aunt. Some of them are old clippings from newspapers and magazines. But some are anonymous, handwritten recipes. This is one of the anonymous ones, probably written by a friend of my great grandma. Whoever wrote it had good taste, seeing as we've made this several times and each time, we've adored this lemon loaf cake!

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