- PREHEAT your oven to 180°C/355°F (160°C/320°F convection). 10-by-4-in. loaf pan and line the base and sides with parchment paper, extending the paper about 2 in. above the top of the pan.
- FIRST make the sponge. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar well, though you don’t want as fluffy a mixture as you would for a layer cake. Zest the lemons into the butter mixture and mix thoroughly. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each one is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next.
- IN a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix half of this into the creamed butter mixture, scraping down the sides, until barely combined.
- WHILE the mixer is still going, beat in all the milk. Then add the remaining flour and mix until just combined. Scrape the bowl and give it one last mix.
- SCOOP the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an icing spatula or rubber spatula.
- BAKE for 50 to 60 minutes, until the top of the cake is springy and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
- TO make the lemon drizzle, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small pan and heat just until the sugar is melted. Do not let this boil, or the fresh flavour will be lost.
- USE a skewer to poke holes evenly throughout the baked loaf. Pour the lemon drizzle over the loaf and let it soak in while you make the icing.
- IN a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth.
- TO remove the loaf cake from the pan, run a small paring knife along the inside of the pan, then tilt the pan on its side and coax the loaf out, using the parchment paper as a handle. Peel off the paper and turn the loaf upright on your cooling rack or worktop. Drizzle the icing over the loaf and let it drip down the sides. Use a spatula to lift the loaf onto a serving dish. This keeps well for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
Kitchen tip: All our lemons at Violet come from the Amalfi coast of Italy. They are large and sweet and have a very thick and pithy peel.
Excerpted from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak. Copyright © 2015 by Claire Ptak. Photographs copyright © 2015 by Kristin Perers. Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.
How to make lemon loaf