As the summer season commences and temperatures consistently hit the high 80s, I have found myself constantly craving sustenance to complement the sunshine outdoors. My initial thought was to incorporate lemon, with its bright yellow hue and taste that bursts with freshness and zest, in any recipe.
Lemons have long been a summertime citrus icon, whether it be in the fashion realm, where lemon prints adorn dresses and swimsuits, or the music industry, where Beyonce’s April 2016 album “Lemonade” dominated top Billboard charts and held strong throughout the summer months. But to me, there is no better place for lemons in the summertime than in the kitchen.
Last week, I unearthed a recipe that fit the exact summertime vibe I sought from an online food blog called “She Loves Biscotti” by Maria Vannelli. The recipe was for lemon bread, a sweet I’d sampled various times at my local Starbucks, but had never tried baking from scratch.
Fundamentally, lemon bread is similar to a pound cake with a lemon flavor to create a lighter, fruitier taste. It has remained a tea and coffee shop favorite with its fluffy, moist interior and soft, crumbly crust. Although the bread is baked in the style of a cake, the delicious loaf can easily be consumed as a scrumptious bite for breakfast, brunch or dessert.
The ingredients are simple and the instructions clear. It is a perfect dish for the most novice of bakers craving a sweet bite of sunshine on a summer day. It is, essentially, easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Upon discovery of this particular recipe, I decided to give it a go. A huge fan of lemons and other citrus fruits myself, I was eager to take my own spin on the lemon bread. I tweaked the recipe ever so slightly by adding fresh blueberries to the batter and decreasing the butter and sugar measurements for a slightly healthier modification.
The sweet, seasonal loaf was a huge success, a perfect union of zesty citrus tang and fresh, sweet base. I was even able to share the sublime recipe in my town’s “Meal Ideas and Recipes” group page where it was a hit, so you know it’s a tried and true favorite.
Lemon Bread Ingredients:
● 2 cups all-purpose flour
● 1 teaspoon baking powder
● ½ teaspoon baking soda
● ¼ teaspoon salt
● 1 tablespoon lemon zest
● ⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
● 1 cup granulated sugar
● 3 eggs, room temperature
● ½ cup lemon juice
● ½ cup milk, room temperature
● Optional add-ins: blueberries, poppy seeds, almond slices
Lemon Glaze (optional) Ingredients:
● ½ cup powdered sugar
● ¼ cup lemon juice
Lemon Bread Instructions:
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Grease and flour or use nonstick cooking spray on a 9” x 5” loaf pan. I used softened butter to grease my pan.
3) In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the lemon zest and set the mixture aside.
4) In a large bowl, beat the butter with a handheld electric mixer on medium speed for two to three minutes or beat manually until creamy.
5) Gradually beat in the sugar and beat for another two to three minutes.
6) Add eggs in one at a time, beating well.
7) Add in lemon juice.
8) Alternate the addition of the flour mixture and milk in two parts while mixing on low. Mix until the batter is thoroughly combined.
9) Gently combine any add-ins and pour mixture into the greased pan.
10) Bake in the oven for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
11) Transfer to a cooling rack and let sit for 10 minutes.
Lemon Glaze (optional) Instructions:
1) Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is thoroughly combined.
2) Brush the glaze over the warm loaf. Poke holes at the top of the loaf before icing to permeate the loaf even more.
Isabella Xu is a rising junior in the McDonough School of Business. Homemade Gourmet appears online every other week.