Easy Breezy 1-Hour Lemon Loaf Cake

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Delicious and easy? You heard right. This zesty lemon loaf is bright, flavorful and can be made in one bowl with no special mixing equipment. It's almost too good to be true. Almost.

Why we're drooling over this loaf

It's easy

This is a one-bowl cake recipe where all the ingredients are just whisked together in one large bowl before baking. You don't even need to use a hand mixer to combine the ingredients — just grab a whisk or a spatula! It's a beyond basic technique that leaves you with a soft, moist crumb and lots of lemon flavor. 

It's got loads of lemon

Fresh lemon juice and zest are used in this recipe to ensure that there's plenty of citrus flavor in every bite.

I used two lemons to get enough juice for this recipe, but you might need a third if your lemons are on the smaller or less juicy side. Use a microplane to zest the lemons before juicing them — they're easier to handle that way. 

The glaze is ace

The cooled cake is topped with a glaze that's made from powdered sugar and lemon juice. Okay okay, you'll need a second bowl to make the glaze, but it mixes up in under a minute!

I like a thicker glaze that pools on top of the loaf, but you can also thin your glaze with a few extra teaspoons of lemon juice for a thinner consistency that will completely cover the sides of the loaf. Do make sure the glaze sets before slicing. And if you want to dress it up for a dinner party, serve a slice with whipped cream and berries.

Before you get baking

I always line my loaf pans with a strip of parchment paper. You can cut a rectangle that just fits the bottom of the pan, or cut a strip that is long enough to come up the sides of the pan too.

If you just line the bottom, you can always run a knife around the edge of the loaf to release it if needed. But if you create a liner with some overhang, you can simply lift the cake out of the pan after it's cooled. This way saves some time and guarantees that your loaf will come out in one piece.

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One-bowl lemon loaf cake recipe

Serves 10 - 12

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Step 1

Preheat your oven to 350 F and line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. 

Step 2

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, lemon zest, eggs, oil and vanilla extract until well-combined.

Whisk in buttermilk and lemon juice next. Then add in flour, baking powder and salt and whisk until batter is uniform and no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Pour into prepared pan.

Step 3

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean (or with only a few moist crumbs attached). Let the cake to cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes, then use the parchment paper to lift it out and transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Step 4

Once the cake is cool, make the glaze. Combine powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining lemon juice to thin the glaze if needed. Pour glaze on top of the cake and spread it into an even layer. Give the glaze some time to firm up, then go ahead and dig in!

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Easy Breezy 1-Hour Lemon Loaf Cake