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Lemon Loaf Cake with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
Start 2022 with this simple and delicious citrus cake!
Happy New Year and thanks for being part of the Style Sweet Bake Club. We have tons of new projects coming this year but today we’re starting with a nice and simple lemon loaf cake. It’s a perfect afternoon snack to go along with your coffee or tea and also serves as a bit of a palate cleanser after a month of holiday cookies.
While the weather can be relentless in the winter, Mother Nature gives us the gift of citrus in lemons, oranges of all kinds, grapefruit, etc. When the grey skies never seem to end, at least we have these tart and vibrant fruits to brighten our days and desserts! -Tessa Huff
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Lemon Loaf Cake
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cardamom (optional)
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated white sugar
zest of 1 large lemon or 2 medium lemons
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup buttermilk (see notes below)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9x5 loaf pan and line with a sling of parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom (if using), and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a stand or hand mixer, mix the butter until smooth. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, rub together the sugar and lemon zest between your fingertips until fragrant. Add the lemon sugar to the butter and mix together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the oil and mix to combine.
Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing the first to incorporate before adding the next.
Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Slowly add the buttermilk and mix until combined. Add the remaining flour mixture and mix until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
Set a timer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the lemon syrup (recipe to follow).
When the timer goes off and the cake pan is just warm enough to handle (use oven mitts if the pan is still too hot), invert the cake out of the pan. To release the cake, place a cooling rack or cutting board on top of the cake, then flip everything upside-down.
Remove the parchment paper and poke the bottom and sides of the warm cake all over with a toothpick or wooden skewer. Brush on nearly all of the lemon syrup on the bottom and around the sides. Allow the syrup to soak in for about 30 minutes.
When the cake has completely cooled, flip it back over and brush the top with the remaining glaze. Ice the cake with the frosting and serve.
I rarely have real buttermilk in the house. To make an easy substitute, measure out the same amount of milk (⅔ cup) and stir in a few squeezes of fresh lemon juice (a teaspoon or two). Do this before you prep your remaining ingredients. By the time you get to the point of using the milk in the recipe, it will have soured and curdled. Use this instead of the buttermilk.
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup granulated white sugar
Place the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and heat over medium-high. Once the mixture begins to simmer and the sugar has dissolved, lower the heat and continue to simmer for a few minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the saucepan until ready to use.
Cream Cheese Frosting
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
1 ½ to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream
With a hand or stand mixer, blend together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Stop the mixer and add in 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar and mix until combined.
Add the vanilla and heavy cream and mix to combine. Turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and mix the frosting until fluffy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add more sugar as needed. The frosting should be light and fluffy.
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