Super Soft Lemon Loaf Cake

June 4, 2024

This extra moist and fluffy lemon loaf cake is better than Starbucks! Trust me on this. It’s unbelievably soft and tender with a fresh lemon flavor. It doesn’t need an icing at all. Just enjoy it plain!

slices of soft lemon loaf cake

One bowl lemon loaf recipe

This lemon loaf cake recipe is fuss-free and super easy to make. You need one bowl, a loaf pan, and not even an icing. The delicious lemon taste is addictive, not too subtle but not overpowering.

To make this recipe in one bowl, simply melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave. After it’s melted and cooled for a bit, you’ll add the rest of the cake ingredients. Make sure to cover the bowl with a plate or a lid to avoid butter splashes while microwaving. If you are not a fan of melting the butter in the microwave, just heat it up in a small saucepan on the stove.

Soft, fluffy, airy, and moist

I am a sucker for soft and fluffy cakes! For this reason I am a huge fan of my Austrian apricot cake, this fluffy plum cake, the very best blueberry muffins, or these super airy raspberry friends. I am not exaggerating when I say that this lemon loaf cake is one of the fluffiest cakes I have ever tasted.

The crumb is soft and airy but at the same time moist. It’s like biting into a cloud. And even though the cake is so soft and tender, it transports well and is great to bring to a picnic, potluck, or as a hostess-gift.

Airy lemon loaf cake slices
Look at this unbelievable soft and fluffy crumb.

Storage and Freezing

The cake keeps well for several days at room temperature and even longer in the fridge. Bring it to room temperature before eating or it will lose its soft texture and fluffiness.

The cake also freezes extremely well. You can freeze the entire loaf/half a loaf or cut the cake into individual pieces. Freeze pieces with a small piece of parchment paper in-between to avoid having them stuck together. Also: It’s great to just take out a slice or two for breakfast or to enjoy with a coffee :)

Recipe Soft Lemon Loaf Cake

butter, sugar and lemons
Add melted butter, sugar, and lemon peel to a bowl.

Line a loaf pan (25×11 cm or 10×4.3 inch; a 9×5” works too) with parchment paper or grease it. Melt butter in a large bowl, either in the microwave for a 1-bowl recipe, or in a saucepan on the stove. Wash lemons with hot water and dry thoroughly.  Add the sugar to the melted butter.

sugar, melted butter and lemon zest in bowl
Grate lemon zest directly into the bowl.

Grate the zest of 3 lemons into the bowl. Juice one of the lemons and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the bowl.

The zest of 3 medium-sized lemons may sound quite a lot, but trust me on this, it is correct. I’ve tried this lemon loaf using only 2 lemons, which was also delicious, but I preferred it with the zest of 3 lemons. Make sure to finely grate it since larger junks of zest aren’t appealing.

Cake batter and electric mixer

Add the eggs all at once to the bowl. Add salt. Beat the ingredients with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Briefly mix in crème fraîche and the milk. Preheat oven to 375°F (175°C) conventional top and bottom heat.

Cake batter and flour
Add flour and baking powder.

Add flour and sprinkle baking powder on top. Briefly mix baking powder and flour with your fingers.

lemon loaf cake batter
Creamy cake batter.

Once the flour and baking powder is roughly combined, beat on low speed until the flour is incorporated well.

lemon loaf cake in pan
Smooth the surface and than bake.

Transfer dough to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake at 375°F (175°C) for about 50 minutes until the loaf is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

baked lemon loaf cake in tin
Bake until golden. I scored it after 15 min of baking to get the nice crack along the center.

Optional for a beautiful crack along the center: After about 15 minutes of baking – or until the surface dries out, is getting a crust and isn’t liquid any more – score the crust of the loaf lengthwise using a knife. This creates a designated place for the loaf to crack.

To do so, make a cut through the crusted surface that runs the entire length of the pan along the center line. Continue baking for 35 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown.

If the loaf tends to brown too quickly, cover with tin foil when it has reached the desired color (this wasn’t necessary when I baked it).

Sliced lemon loaf cake

After approximately 50 minutes, pull out the pan from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan, pull down the sides of the parchment paper if used, and leave to cool on a cake rack.

Slices of fluffy lemon loaf cake
Airy, soft, and moist lemon loaf cake.

The cake will keep for several days at cool room temperature, even longer in the fridge, and freezes very well.

Did you make this recipe? Let me know in the comments how it turned out and also leave me a star rating if you want :)

Slices of fluffy lemon loaf cake
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5 from 10 reviews

Click on the stars to rate!

Recipe Lemon Loaf Cake

This extra moist and fluffy lemon loaf cake is better than Starbucks! It’s unbelievably soft and tender with a fresh lemon flavor. It doesn’t need an icing at all. Just enjoy it plain!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Yield: 1 loaf pan (25x11x7 cm or 10×4.3×2.75 inches; 9×5” works too)

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons butter (50 g)
  • 3 organic lemons (for zest and some juice)
  • 1 scant cup sugar (200 g)
  • 3 large eggs (size M in Europe)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche (125 g) (you can use full-fat sour cream as substitute)
  • 1/3 cup milk (80 ml)
  • 250 g all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

Instructions

  • Line a loaf pan (25×11 cm or 10×4.3 inch; a 9×5” works too) with parchment paper or grease it.
  • Melt butter in a large bowl, either in the microwave for a 1-bowl recipe, or in a saucepan on the stove. Wash lemons with hot water and dry thoroughly.
  • Add the sugar to the melted butter. Grate the zest of 3 lemons* into the bowl. Juice one of the lemons and add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to the bowl.
  • Add the eggs all at once to the bowl. Add salt. Beat the ingredients with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer with whisk attachment until light and creamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Briefly mix in crème fraîche and the milk. Preheat oven to 375°F (175°C) conventional top and bottom heat.
  • Add flour and sprinkle baking powder on top. Briefly mix baking powder and flour with your fingers, and then beat on low speed until the flour is incorporated well.
  • Transfer dough to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake at 375°F (175°C) for about 50 minutes until the loaf is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Optional for a beautiful crack along the center: After about 15 minutes of baking – or until the surface dries out, is getting a crust and isn’t liquid any more – score the crust of the loaf lengthwise using a knife. This creates a designated place for the loaf to crack. To do so, make a cut through the crusted surface that runs the entire length of the pan along the center line. Continue baking for 35 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown.
  • If the loaf tends to brown too quickly, cover with tin foil when it has reached the desired color (this wasn’t necessary when I baked it).
  • After approximately 50 minutes, pull out the pan from the oven and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan, pull down the sides of the parchment paper if used, and leave to cool on a cake rack.
  • The cake will keep for several days at cool room temperature, even longer in the fridge, and freezes very well (see note).

Notes

*3 lemons: The zest of 3 medium-sized lemons may sound quite a lot, but trust me on this, it is correct. I’ve tried this lemon loaf using only 2 lemons, which was also delicious, but I preferred it with the zest of 3 lemons. Make sure to finely grate it since larger junks of zest aren’t appealing.
Freeze: The cake freezes well, either the entire loaf/half a loaf or cut into individual pieces. Freeze pieces with a small piece of parchment paper in-between to avoid having them stuck together. Also: It’s great to just take out a slice or two for breakfast or to enjoy with a coffee :)
Super Soft Lemon Loaf Cake was last modified: June 4th, 2024 by Ursula

4 thoughts on “Super Soft Lemon Loaf Cake

  1. Tory

    5 stars
    The recipe worked well, I added a bit of orange peel just because I had leftovers that I believe gave some extra zing. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    1. Ursula Post author

      So happy to hear that the lemon cake turned out well. I bet the orange zest makes a great addition!! Thanks so much for the comment and rating!
      Ursula

      Reply
  2. Westhous Pamela

    5 stars
    This loaf turned out well. My oven required a bit longer baking, but I guess that is fine. Also, I substituted sugar with a low calories alternatives, to fit with my dietary needs. -Pam

    Reply

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