I’ve been traveling for work for the past couple weeks. The thing about traveling is that it inspires a domino effect of bad eating habits. First, in the days leading up to your trip, you don’t want to go grocery shopping and are stuck eating the weirdo hodgepodge at the back of the freezer—or, eating out for every meal. Then, on the trip you eat out for every meal. Then, when you get home, if you can’t go grocery shopping immediately, you have the option of eating the remnants of the weirdo freezer hodgepodge—orrrr eating out for every meal.
Let’s just say, it hasn’t been a great couple of weeks as far as home cooking goes. Today, I at least got back in the kitchen—though it wasn’t exactly for a wholesome, healthy meal. But gosh, was it good. And after some tweaking, a totally reasonable indulgence. As you know if you’ve been reading the ol’ blog for a while, until last summer, I lived in Savannah, Georgia. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to move, but there is one thing that makes me wistfully recall those Southern days of yore: Back in the Day Bakery. I now realize that I should have eaten there as often as possible while I had the chance (and maybe taken up marathon running to counteract it).
Thankfully, Back in the Day recently came out with a cookbook. And it’s a seriously awesome cookbook. You should all buy it. I want to make everything in it forever. For my first recipe from the book, I could’ve made any number of the delicious sweet treats (and savories) that I sampled when I visited the bakery, but I wanted to try something new—and the recipe for “Lovely Lemon Loaf” caught my eye. As I’ve mentioned before, I haven’t been a huge fan of lemon-anything in the past. It takes a really good lemon-something to make me like it, but I trusted in Back in the Day Bakery. And it didn’t disappoint. This is really good.
Of course I made a few changes to healthify it a bit and due to the fact that I have no groceries, but the essence remains: a moist, fluffy, light, lemony cake. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. I’m an all-chocolate-all-the-time kinda gal, but I gotta say that if you put a chocolate cupcake in front of me right now, I would reach for another slice of this lemon loaf.
First, combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) in a bowl and set aside.
Combine your buttermilk and vanilla.
Cream your butter and sugar together until it’s super light and fluffy (about 5 minutes).
Beat in your eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Starting and ending with your flour mixture, alternate beating in in your flour mixture and buttermilk mixture. Mix in your lemon juice and zest.
Ta-da! Your batter should be super light and fluffy.
Transfer your batter to a 9″ loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake in a preheated, 350º oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack. In the meantime, combine your glaze ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well, then pour over the loaf.
When the cake is cooled and the glaze has set, slice and dig in!
Just try to eat just one slice.
Meyer Lemon Loaf
Makes 1 9″ loaf (12 slices)
Adapted from The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook
For the loaf
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup lowfat buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
Zest of 4 Meyer lemons
Juice of 4 Meyer lemons
For the glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
4 Tablespoons lowfat milk
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Prepare a 9″ loaf pan with baking spray or parchment paper; set aside.
Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix together the buttermilk and vanilla.
In a stand mixer, or in a mixing bowl using a hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk mixture in three additions, beginning and ending with flour. Stir in lemon zest and juice.
Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the loaf springs back to the touch. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
To make the glaze, whisk confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, and milk in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle over the top of the loaf. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Per serving (1 slice)