I wear many hats in my life and the most important one is being a good Mom to my two beautiful boys. As part of this responsibility, this year I volunteered to be the Class Rep for my youngest son’s classroom. I help out with sending messages to parents, and drumming up support for causes dear to the school (like putting together Christmas baskets for neighbours in need).
My most recent assignment was to encourage parents to contribute to a themed class basket to be auctioned off at the Withrow Public School Silent Auction taking place on February 28 at the school. Our theme was “What’s for dessert?” which was right up my alley.
I sent out the email request last week and the first person to respond was Erica, the Mom of my son’s friend Gavin. She contributed a lovely loaf pan and a “favourite lemon loaf recipe”. We are suckers for anything lemon-related in our house so I knew I’d be trying this recipe as soon as I could get my hands on a copy – I asked Erica to send it my way and we made it that very night. We weren’t disappointed.
As with any new recipe, sometimes you test it out and it doesn’t quite make the grade. This happened to me with my first attempt – this recipe calls for self-raising flour. I didn’t have any and I guess I was really tired and wasn't thinking clearly, so I decided to just use regular flour. I also cut back on the sugar and butter, as I usually do. I figured this was OK because Erica said that she did the same thing. The end result was a very dense, not very tall loaf – the flavour was fantastic though, and so we ate the entire thing. I am posting the photo of the flat loaf below, just to make you smile.
The kids (and The King of Soup) asked me to make it again so this time I used the trusty internet to find out how to make my own self-raising flour. Turns out it’s easy – you just add baking powder and salt and voila! You’re good to go.
The photos here are from the second attempt – you can see how light and fluffy the loaf looks in the photos. Just delish.
Below are the ingredients and instructions, with my notes and edits, as usual. Thanks Erica!
¾ cup unsalted butter (I used ½ cup salted butter and ¼ cup 0% fat Greek yogurt)
¾ cup sugar (I used ½ cup)
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest (about the zest of one lemon)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups self-raising flour (I used 1 ½ cups all purpose flour + 2 tsp baking powder + ½ tsp salt)
1 tsp lemon extract (the original recipe didn’t call for this but I thought it would give it an extra lemony burst, and it did)
½ cup sugar (I used ¼ cup)
¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a loaf tin (9x5 inches) with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with a rectangle of parchment paper (I didn’t use the parchment and everything turned out well).
In an electric mixer beat the butter, yogurt, sugar and lemon zest for 2 – 3 minutes until fluffy.
Add the beaten eggs in three parts, alternating with a spoonful of the flour/baking powder/salt mix. Mix well after each addition then add in the remaining flour mixture and fold in until smooth.
Pour the batter (it’s thick) into the pan and smooth it out on top.
Bake it for 50 – 60 minutes (it only took 45 in my oven) or until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. I would start checking at about 42 minutes or so.
Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack, then flip it over so it is right side up. Take a skewer and poke a few tiny holes in the top, and then place the rack with the loaf on it on top of a plate. The tiny holes you make in the loaf will help it to soak up the lemon glaze you are about to pour on top.
Take ¼ cup of sugar and ¼ cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice and mix with a spoon just a couple of times – you don’t want the sugar to dissolve. Spoon the mixture (quickly) on top of the warm loaf. The juice will sink in and the sugar will form a crystal-like crunch on top. In the photos you can see the crystal-like sugar coating sparkling in the light.
You can serve it immediately, or it will keep (but not for long because it is so delicious). I recommend keeping the juice that drips onto the plate and spooning it over your slice for additional lemon burst. You can serve it with sliced strawberries, or any kind of berry, or raspberry jam.
As an 'official' dessert, it should serve 8 people. As a loaf, nibbling away bit by bit, it could last for up to 5 hours. I'd be very surprised if it lasts for longer. Especially if there are kids in your house.