Lemon lovers rejoice! Grab a few lemons and make this old fashioned lemon bread like grandma used to make- that is so tender and moist and topped with a lemon cream cheese glaze!
Ok, I seriously couldn’t wait to share this recipe with you. This is for all you lemon lovers out there. I also need to get rid of the second loaf in my kitchen before I eat every single crumb of it. Yup, it’s that good.
Since then, I also made a lemon raspberry version with a delicious lemon glaze. Totally finger licking delicious.
I decided I need a new version on the blog and that’s where this version was dreamed up. I kept to the lemon only this time. Simple and delicious. I decided to switch up the glaze and turn it into a lemon cream cheese glaze this time. I had some cream cheese in the freezer and it was definitely a good choice. The cream cheese adds a great tanginess that I love.
Although even without the glaze, this bread, or pound cake, is truly spectacular. I just can’t help glazing, sprinkling, frosting things when I have a chance.
Bread Or Cake?
Great question. Technically it’s a pound cake that I baked into a loaf pan, so I’m calling it a “bread”. You can bake it into a bundt pan if you want and turn this into a cake.
I’ve used this recipe before and made different versions of it and baked it into a bundt pan, like this grapefruit bundt cake recipe.
Ingredients For This Lemon Bread
- Flour – You will need all purpose flour for this recipe. Make sure you measure it correctly by either weighing your flour with a scale or by spooning it into a measuring cup and leveling it off (don’t pack it down.) You can read more here about How To Measure Flour
- Salt – Not all salt is created equally. I generally use table salt in my recipes. You can read more here about the The Role Of Salt In Baking
- Baking Powder – This is a leavening agent that will help your bread rise. Make sure it’s not expired by testing a spoonful in a bowl of hot water to see if it bubbles.
- Baking Soda – This is a leavening agent that will help your bread rise. Make sure it’s not expired by testing a spoonful in a small bowl of vinegar o lemon juice to see if it bubbles. You can read more here about Baking Powder vs. Baking Soda.
- Sour cream – This gives the bread a wonderful richness, and slight tanginess that I just love! You can always use greek yogurt instead.
- Lemon zest – This of course gives the bread it’s wonderful lemon flavor!
- Vanilla extract – Pure vanilla extract is always the best! You will use vanilla in the cake and the glaze for added flavor.
- Unsalted butter – You want to use unsalted butter for this. Not all brands use the same amount of salt in their salted butter so you could end up with a dessert that’s too salty. You can read more here about Unsalted Butter Vs. Salted Butter In Baking
- Sugar – I’ve started using organic cane sugar in my recipes! I love the hint of natural molasses flavor it imparts. The sugar will be creamed with the butter, which will help to aerate the butter and tenderize your bread. You can read more here about What Is The Creaming Method?
- Eggs – Make sure they are room temperature before using. Place them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before using.
- Poppy seeds – You will add a generous 2 Tablespoons that gives the bread a wonderful crunch and pairs wonderfully with the lemon!
- Confectioners sugar – This will be used in the lemon glaze.
- Lemon juice – Remember the lemons you zested? Well they won’t go to waste! Go ahead and juice them and use them in the glaze.
- Cream cheese – I recommend full-fat cream cheese for the best flavor and richness. Make sure it’s at room temperature to make it easy to mix together.
- Heavy cream – I add a little heavy cream to the icing to thin it out, but you could always use milk.
How To Make This Bread
Step 1 – Measure Out Your Dry Ingredients
First you want to grease and flour your loaf pans. And preheat your oven.
start by measuring out your dry ingredients. You want to whisk them together to make sure they are evenly combined.
Be sure to measure your flour correctly. If you over measure your flour it could result in a dense bread as opposed to light and fluffy.
Step 2- Creaming
You want to then cream your softened butter and sugar together in stand mixer fitted with your paddle attachment. Or you can use a hand mixer as well.
Pro Tip: Soften your butter quickly if you forgot to take it out of ahead of time.
Then add in your room temperature eggs. The mixture may curdle a bit on you, but don’t worry it will smooth back out once you add the dry ingredients back in.
Pro Tip: If you forget to take your eggs out ahead of time, then place them in a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes before using.
Step 3 – Zest Your Lemons
Then go ahead and zest your lemons in a separate bowl.
Pro Tip: Turn the zester over so you can collect the zest and make sure you don’t go down to the white pith, bitter part of the rind.
Step 4: Add Your Sour cream and vanilla.
Now to the zest, mix in your sour cream and vanilla extract.
Step 5: Alternate Your Ingredients
Then you want to alternate the dry ingredients with the sour cream mixture. Start and end with your dry ingredients. This is so you don’t weigh down the creamed mixture too much.
Pro Tip: Be sure to not over mix. I like to finish off the last bit of mixing by hand!
Step 6: Pour And Bake!
Then divide your batter into your prepared loaf pans and bake! Make sure to bake in a preheated oven on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. And then cool on a wire rack.
Once it’s cooled make your fresh lemon glaze and drizzle over the top. If the glaze is too thick you can always thin it out with a bit more lemon juice or heavy cream as well.
A Few Baking Tips
- Measuring your flour correctly– Just repeat after me- spoon, repeat, level. In other words, spoon the flour in (don’t pack it down in), repeat until it’s a little over the top. Then level it off with a knife. If you want to know more on not just how, but also the why behind measuring your flour correctly then give this post a read.
- Zesting– I used two very large lemons for this bread. To be accurate though, I also measured it out for you as well. I used one whole tablespoon of zest (so this might take 3-4 lemons if yours weren’t jumbo size like mine). If you are unfamiliar with zesting, you want only the bright colored outer skin and you want to stop zesting when you see the white layer underneath. That white layer is not tasty, bitter, and will ruin your end product. So in other words, stop zesting at that point. Hold your microplane on top of the fruit, so you can see how much you are zesting, as opposed to holding the fruit on top.
- Mixing your wet and dry ingredients– This recipe has you mixing your wet ingredients in a small bowl separately (which is your sour cream, zest, and vanilla). And your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, etc) in another bowl. Then once you have creamed your butter and sugar together, you add your dry and wet ingredients alternately starting with your dry and ending with your dry. Why? You do not want to deflate all of that air you incorporated during the creaming method. I add mine in 3 batches. I also stop mixing my last dry ingredient batch when there is still a a few streaks of flour left behind in the bowl that way I can ensure that I do not over mix my batter.
What Pan Do I Bake This Lemon Bread In?
This cake I have put in a bundt pan before, (this is the bundt pan that I own and love) large loaf pans (you get 2 good sized loaves), and also mini loaf pans (you get about 6-8 mini loaves). I have given this pound cake away for gifts before and anyone who tries it falls in love with this pound cake.
The hardest part of this cake? Decided between pretty fancy glaze on top…
Storing This Bread
You can store this bread at room temperature for up to 3 days, wrapped in either plastic wrap or tinfoil. Make sure it’s completely cool before you store it.
Or you can freeze the bread (I would recommend freezing it unglazed) as well. Wrap the bread up in plastic wrap, then a layer of tinfoil and freeze for up to 3 months! Simply thaw at room temperature.
Can I Use A Different Type of Zest?
You definitely can. Lime, orange, grapefruit. It’s up to you!
Can I Use Greek Yogurt Instead Of Sour Cream?
Absolutely. I have and it’s still delicious! I recommend a full-fat plain yogurt, as oppossed to a fat free yogurt for maximum richness and moistness.
Why is my lemon bread not done in the middle?
This can happen if it cooks too fast, creating a crust on the outside leaving the middle uncooked. This could mean your oven temperature is too high. Do yourself a favor and get an oven thermometer to double check the accuracy of your oven.
Why does my bread sink in the middle?
This usually means the bread is not done. Again, do yourself a favor and check that oven temperature. And be sure to not peek during the baking process! Keep that oven door closed.
How can I tell when my bread is finished baking?
To test when lemon bread is done, I like to use a long wooden skewer to insert into the cake and see if there are moist crumbs that cling to it. My biggest worry is overbaking it. So making sure my oven temperature is running correctly, I can then set my timer and check it with the skewer to ensure it’s done properly and not overbaked.
What pan do I bake this lemon bread in?
More Lemon Recipes To Check Out:
To Make This Recipe You Will Need:
- Bundt pan, loaf pans, or mini loaf pans
- Kitchen-aid Stand mixer – this is my new mixer and I love it!
- Mixing bowls – I always recommend using metal bowls for baking because they do not leave behind any grease or residue over time.
For the bread
- 2 1/2 cups (300 g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup (240 g) sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest about 2 lemons
- 1 cup (226 g, 2 sticks) unsalted butter softened
- 2 1/4 cups (441 g) granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs room temperature
For the glaze
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sift or whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the lemon zest, vanilla extract and sour cream.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the mixing bowl well after each addition and mix until blended. Add dry and wet ingredients alternately to butter-sugar-egg mixture until uniformly incorporated- do not overmix.
- Grease and flour one bundt cake pan (or 2 large 9x5 loaf pans- or 6-7 mini loaf pans). Pour batter into pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven for approximately 50 minutes (40-45 for loaf pans). The cake is done when a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before glazing.
- For the glaze: Mix all ingredients until smooth. Pour over top of cake and serve. For a thicker glaze use less lemon juice.
- Tools: microplane |Bundt pan | loaf pans | Kitchen-aid Stand mixer | metal bowls
- Storage: You can store this bread at room temperature for up to 3 days, wrapped in either plastic wrap or tinfoil. Make sure it's completely cool before you store it. Or you can freeze the bread as well. Wrap the bread up in plastic wrap, then a layer of tinfoil and freeze for up to 3 months! Simply thaw at room temperature.
- Sour Cream: You can swap out the sour cream for a plain full fat greek yogurt. But I do recommend using a full-fat sour cream vs. a lighter sour cream for maximum richness.
- Citrus: Feel free to swap out the lemon for another citrus zest, like orange or lime, or try a combination of all three!
- Mini Loaf Pans: You can bake this in a mini loaf pans, but baking time and yield will vary depending on the size of your pans.