This is actually a very nice loaf cake. The crumb is soft and has a great texture. The lemon flavor is there without being overwhelming. It is soft and after being well-wrapped on the counter for 3 days, still fairly moist. Which makes me feel like I'm damning it with faint praise.
The problem is that I have a go-to lemon-poppy seed loaf that I like quite a lot more than this one. My go-to loaf has a really bright, intense lemon flavor to it, while this cake is much sweeter and mellower. For someone looking for a nice basic loaf cake with a mellow character, this lemon loaf would be perfect. For someone looking for intense lemony goodness, try the poppy seed version instead.
I pulled this version from my Passion For Baking book and it is a basic, easy, loaf cake. The lemon syrup helps keep it moist, and it would also handle a lemon powdered sugar glaze quite well.
1 1/3 cups sugar
zest of 1 large lemon
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp pure lemon extract or 1/2 tsp lemon oil
6 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsps milk
2 1/4 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon extract or 1/2 tsp lemon oil
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x5 loafpan with cooking spray and place on a baking sheet.
In a mixer bowl, blend sugar and lemon zest 2 minutes. Add butter and lemon extract. Beat until light and fluffy about 3 to 5 minutes. Blend in eggs, and add some of the flour from recipe if mixture seems curdled. Add milk and fold in remaining flour, baking powder and salt. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
Bake 1 hour and then reduce oven temperature to 325 and bake another 10 to 20 minutes (my cake was perfectly done after 1 hour so be sure to check yours before adding more time.) The edges of the cake should be pulling away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester should come out clean. Remove cake and after 10 minutes unmold to a wire rack with parchment paper underneath to catch the extra glaze.. (I left mine in the pan to add the glaze -- less mess that way.)
Meanwhile, for Lemon Glaze, simmer water, lemon juice, and sugar in a saucepan 5 minutes. Cool to warm and then stir in lemon extract. Using a cake tester, skewer, or small paring knife, make small holes or slits in cake surface.
Drizzle or spoon glaze over cake. If you unmolded the cake onto a wire rack recoup the extra glaze from the parchment paper and drizzle back onto cake.