Iced Lemon Loaf (GF)

With a slice of this Iced Lemon Loaf, you're transported back to sunny days outside with a glass of lemonade. One of the most flavorful and bright, yet tart, lemon zest cakes is topped with a smooth, lemony glaze that completes this ensemble. Starbucks has nothing on this lemon loaf.

There's a reason why Starbucks' Iced Lemon Loaf has a huge following. It's refreshing and delicious. However, when it's between a homemade iced lemon loaf and a slice from Starbucks - there is no hesitation which is better. The homemade version of this classic cake is so much more flavorful and packed with real, fresh lemon zest and juice.

I brought a loaf of this lemon cake over to Sunday lunch with my family, and everyone devoured it. We all agreed that it tastes like lemonade, just in cake form. And, I heard zero complaints about it, too.

This cake is so soft, tender, and delicate. It's just dense enough to hold up well to the glaze, but not too heavy to be pound cake-texture. It's uber moist - thanks to our friend, sour cream!

Ingredients for an Iced Lemon Loaf (that's gluten free!)

- All Purpose Flour OR Gluten Free Flour Blend (without xanthan gum)

- Xanthan Gum: if making gluten free, use 3/4 teaspoon with your flour blend, unless it already contains xanthan gum. My favorite gluten free flour blend without xanthan gum is the King Arthur All Purpose Flour Blend. Xanthan gum acts as the gluten when making gluten free baked goods. 

- Baking Powder: to help the cake rise and make it light.

- Kosher Salt: to enhance all the flavors and bring out even more lemon flavor.

- Granulated Sugar: For this recipe, we rub together the sugar and the fresh lemon zest. This helps to release all of the natural oils in the zest and brings SO much more flavor to the cake. It's wild. Don't skip this step.

- Fresh Lemon Zest & Juice: In this case, fresh is definitely best. The fresh lemon zest is the key to making this cake bright and tart and gives it that signature lemony-burst of flavor!

- Unsalted butter, softened: to give the cake flavor and help build structure.

- Neutral flavored oil: like Vegetable, Canola, Avocado Oil, or a very lightly flavored Olive Oil. I typically use avocado oil. This helps the cake stay super moist.

- Eggs, room temperature: make sure the eggs are room temperature. When combined with the butter and sugar, a cold egg can make the mixture curdle (a texture that resembles cottage cheese). This is very hard to fix. If your eggs are straight out of the fridge, place the eggs in a bowl and cover with very warm water. Let sit for 3-5 minutes, and they're ready to use as normal.

- Vanilla Extract: for more flavor.

- Full Fat Sour Cream or Full Fat Plain Greek Yogurt: this adds moisture and flavor. It also helps to make this the ideal texture. 

Ingredients for Fresh Lemon Glaze

Unsalted butter, melted: the addition of this in the glaze not only adds flavor but helps the glaze set up.

- Fresh Lemon Juice: this adds a brightness and tartness to the glaze and helps cut through the sweetness of the powdered sugar. Plus, fresh lemon juice tastes so much better than anything in a bottle.

- Heavy Cream or Half and Half: to thin out the glaze. Unlike when using whole milk, using cream or half and half helps to have a thicker glaze that won't run off the cake. 

- Unsalted butter, melted: the addition of this in the glaze not only adds flavor but helps the glaze set up.

Powdered Sugar: to sweeten the glaze.

- Pinch of salt: to bring out all the flavors. 

- Vanilla Extract: to add even more flavor. 


Make it an Iced Lemon Poppyseed Loaf!

- Simply fold in 2 Tablespoons of poppyseeds to the finished batter just before transferring to the prepared loaf pan and baking.

Butter Hack for a Picture-Worthy Crack

To get a beautiful, picture worthy crack down the center of your loaf - simply place a tablespoon of softened butter in a piping bag or ziploc bag. Cut a small hole and pipe a straight line from top to bottom in the center of the cake before baking. (Alternatively, cut thin strips of cold butter and place down the middle of the cake before baking to get the same result.) This hack is inspired by Short Stack Kitchen & All Recipes.

This step is entirely optional, but it ensures a beautiful loaf!

Tools & Ingredients for Making an Iced Lemon Loaf (GF)

kitchen scale: I will never not have one of these within reach. Everyone needs a scale. Let me say it again - everyone needs a scale! Even if you're not the "biggest" baker or cook. You need one of these. It helps with accuracy, making of less dishes, and is so much quicker than using measuring cups and spoons.

glass mixing bowl set: for mixing together all the ingredients

rubber spatula: here's my very favorite one. I have it in many colors, and I've never found a better spatula. Worth. Every. Penny.

whisk set: sizes for all jobs & tasks

favorite loaf pan 

parchment paper sheets

favorite Gluten Free Flour Blend without xanthan gum

xanthan gum: the ingredient that acts as gluten in gluten free baked goods. I love being able to add this into recipes myself, rather than be restricted to however much or little was put into the purchased blend. Each recipe needs a different amount and ratio of xanthan gum.

Shop all of my favorites for making desserts & meals here on Amazon.

Shop my must have ingredients for gluten free baking here on Amazon.

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Other Recipes to Browse & Bake

We're rapidly approaching rhubarb season. Rhubarb is a stellar ingredient, and I will never grow tired of it. If you’re looking for a fantastic use for it… look no further than this Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp. It’s the perfect thing for any occasion, party, or holiday. Rhubarb makes everything better, in my opinion. This crisp is just so fantastic and soooo easy.

Love this refreshing Lemon Loaf? Check out this Grapefruit Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with a fresh grapefruit glaze. It's heavenly and the perfect cake to snack on.

Feeling fruity? Well, this fresh Blueberry Buttercream is a great choice and so easy to make. It's fast, simple, light, buttery, and sooo creamy. It's perfect on any cupcake, cake, brownie, or other dessert. However, its dang good on THIS pistachio cupcake, or lemon, coconut, or almond cake. Gracious. I'm hungry now.

A summer salad is the way to my heart, and this one is such a great one to highlight all of these ripe nectarines and perfectly juicy tomatoes. This fresh Nectarine Caprese Salad is tied together with some mozzarella, fresh basil and mint, lemon juice, olive oil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Pumpkin Bread is a delicious treat all year round. I tend to crave pumpkin during the summer, and this is perfect to curve that craving. It's delicious, tender, and so moist.

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