Whoever declared winter to be devoid of gorgeous produce completely forgot about citrus season. We’re stocking up on Meyer lemons (a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange) so we can make recipe developer Erin McDowell’s bright and sunny Meyer lemon loaf cake on a chilly day.
“This is a really nice, easy, moist loaf, with or without a glaze. It keeps really well on the counter—my friend Shauna calls those ‘counter cakes’—so you can make it and cut a little sliver off all week long. It also freezes really well unfrosted, so this is a nice thing to make and bring out whenever you need something special.”
Psst: If you can’t find Meyer lemons, you can use regular ones as a substitute, but your cake will taste a little tarter.
“I like to serve this unglazed at breakfast, alongside granola and yogurt,” McDowell continues, “or as dessert with whipped cream and berries.”
Winter: It’s not so bad, right?
½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup (60g) vegetable oil
1 cup (212g) light brown sugar
½ cup (99g) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon zest
3 large (170g) eggs
½ teaspoon lemon oil (optional)
2¼ cups (270g) all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¾ cup (170g) sour cream
1 cup (113g) confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream, plus more as needed
Meyer lemon zest, as needed for finishing
1. Make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until fully incorporated, then scraping the side of the bowl before adding the next. Add the lemon oil and mix to combine.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add half the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix to combine. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated, then add the remaining flour and mix to combine.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread into an even layer, then transfer to the oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or with just a few moist crumbs), 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then unmold onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
6. Make the Glaze (If Using): In a medium bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and cream to form a thick glaze. It should fall off the spoon in a thick drizzle, but if it’s too thick, add more cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze reaches the desired consistency. Spoon over the cooled loaf, then garnish with lemon zest. Let set 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Note: If you choose not to use the glaze, you can dress up the cake by garnishing the top with thin slices of Meyer lemon and a sprinkle of sparkling sugar or turbinado sugar before baking.