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Glazed lemon loaf | RecipeTin Eats

Glazed lemon loaf is what you make when you’re after something not too sweet that’s fuss-free to make. Lovely bright lemon flavour with buttery undertones, it’s a quick bread which means no yeast and easy to make. Excellent shelf life of 5 days!

Glazed lemon loaf ready to be served

Glazed lemon loaf

Quick breads are a great option for those times when you have the urge or need to bake, but don’t have the time for more involved recipes. They’re also convenient – easy to transport and easy to serve. Slice like bread and eat on a napkin!

As for today’s lemon glazed loaf, it’s here after I responded to a question on Facebook for how to convert my simple Lemon Yogurt Cake into a loaf. “Use the recipe as is but I’d switch half the oil with melted butter to get buttery flavour into it, because it’ll be taller than the cake so there’s less frosting-to-cake ratio so you’ll want the cake to have more flavour. I’d probably dial up the lemon flavour for the same reason. And it will take longer to bake – just keep testing with a skewer!”

By the time I got to the end of the response, the “just do this” suddenly seemed a little less simple. So I decided to create and properly test it, write it up and publish it! 😂

Glaze on Glazed lemon loaf

Ingredients in Glazed Lemon Loaf

Here’s what you need to make this. Note: Lemon extract is recommended for really good lemon flavour, but you can get away with doubling the zest instead!

Glazed Lemon Loaf Bread ingredients
  • Yogurt – A “secret ingredient” in baking to make batters that bake up into lovely moist cakes, muffins etc. Any plain, unsweetened yogurt is fine here. I typically use Greek Yogurt. Substitute with sour cream (full fat).

  • Flour – Just plain / all purpose flour. Self-rising flour can be used in place of flour and baking powder, however, the loaf won’t be quite as soft or rise as well. Baking powder + flour is just more effective. 🙂

  • Baking powder – This makes this loaf rise.

  • Butter AND oil – Butter adds lovely buttery flavour into baked goods while oil makes the crumb moist. In this particular loaf, I wanted to the best of both worlds so we’re using both! In most recipes, I use one or the other – or I use butter plus another technique to keep the crumb moist (like the more involved technique for the reader-favourite plush Vanilla Cake).

    Oil types – Vegetable or canola oil, or any other plain flavoured oil (such as sunflower, grapeseed oil) can be used. For the butter, use unsalted.

  • Fresh lemon – Fresh please! We need the zest and juice. Zest is where all the lemon flavour is! Juice provides mostly tang, not much lemon flavour.

  • Lemon extract (natural) – To make the lemon flavour in this un-missable! I really does enhance the lemon flavour in a way that you can’t achieve using just fresh lemons. But if you’ve got a stack of fresh lemons, feel free to skip this and double up on zest instead.

  • Vanilla – For flavour. I use vanilla extract here which is real vanilla flavour. Vanilla essence is artificial so the flavour is not as good. I typically only use pricier vanilla bean paste or vanilla beans for more refined dessert recipes, such as the recently published Flan Pâtissier (the world’s greatest Custard Tart!)

  • Sugar – Just 1 cup which makes this loaf on the less-sweet side.

  • Eggs – At room temperature, so they incorporate easily into the batter. I use large eggs which are ~55g / 2 oz each, an industry standard so the eggs will be labelled “large eggs” on the carton. 

  • Salt – Just a touch, to bring out the flavours. This is good general practice for all (well, most!) sweet baking recipes.

Lemon glaze

For the glaze, you just need soft icing sugar / powdered sugar and lemon juice. Australia – be sure to use soft icing sugar, not pure icing sugar which will set into a hard icing, like royal icing.

Lemon glaze ingredients

How to make this lemon loaf

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Mix wet into dry. Bake! How easy it that!

How to make Glazed Lemon Loaf Bread
  1. Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

  2. Whisk the wet ingredients in a separate bowl until combined.

  3. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients then whisk just until combined and lump free. Don’t keep whisking as this will cause your cake to come out hard!

  4. Pour / scrape the batter into a lined pan. (Note – when I say “lined pan”, I use a single sheet of baking / parchment paper to line the long sides and base. I don’t bother with the short side – no sticking problems if you grease it).

How to make Glazed Lemon Loaf Bread
  1. Bake 45 minutes uncovered, then loosely cover with foil and bake for a further 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

  2. Rest 10 minutes – Let it rest in the pan for 10 minutes (all cakes are very fragile when fresh out of the oven) before transferring it onto a cooling rack.

  3. Cool – Use the paper overhang to lift it out onto a cooling rack, then cool completely for 3+ hours before glazing!

  4. Glaze – To make the glaze, just mix the icing sugar (powdered sugar) and lemon juice together. Then spoon / spread it onto the surface, coaxing drips down the side.


I find glazes will go from seemingly too thick to way too thin with just even the barest smidge of extra liquid. So take care and be patient when mixing the glaze! I only use 3 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice for 1 cup of icing sugar. At first it will seem like there’s nowhere near enough liquid, but be patient, keep mixing! It will turn into a thick glaze that will drape over your lemon loaf rather than spreading into a thin, transparent (unsatisfying) glaze.

Glazing a lemon loaf
Slices of Glazed lemon loaf

The no-glaze option

“Everybody” loves the glaze but actually, there’s a good case for a no-glaze version too. No glaze means you can toast it like bread – literally, in a toaster. Then slather with butter and for a really great finishing touch, drizzle with honey.

Toasted Glazed lemon loaf with butter and honey

You can just imagine the flavour combo here, right?? Not-too-sweet lemony cake soaked with lightly salted melted butter and sweet honey. It’s so good I almost published this recipe without the glaze!!

Whichever way you go, glaze or no glaze, you can’t go wrong with this lemon loaf. It’s also one of those recipes that’s quite forgiving, so it’s a good one for those new to baking or if you have little helpers keen to get involved.

Glazed lemon loaf on cutting board

Stays fresh 5 days

And finally – this lemon loaf has an excellent shelf life. Regular readers know that I am notorious for extending the shelf life of baked goods! It used to drive me mad that people would just accept that homemade muffins would go stale overnight, and that cakes are best made on the day of serving as they lose freshness within 24 hours. Who has the time to bake fresh on the day, not to mention the disappointment of not being able to enjoy cakes for days afterwards? The reader-favourite Vanilla Cake and Cupcakes are probably the most famous example around here – they stay fresh for 4 to 5 days which is unheard of!

As for this lemon loaf – it’s perfect for 3 days, still great 5 days later. Keep it in the fridge if it’s warm where you are, but if not, the pantry is fine.

Enjoy! – Nagi x

Watch how to make it

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Glazed lemon loaf ready to be served

Glazed lemon loaf

Servings8 – 10

Tap or hover to scale

Recipe video above. Just a lovely lemon loaf with really great lemon flavour that’s fuss-free to make, easy to transport and serve. Oil and yogurt keeps the crumb moist while butter adds lovely flavour. It stays fresh for 5 days!Everybody loves the lemon glaze but it’s also terrific without because you can toast it, slather with butter then drizzle with honey. SO GOOD!


Wet ingredients (Note 2 – room temp):


  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C fan-forced). Grease then line a 21 x 11 x 7 cm (8.5 x 4.5 x 2.75″) with baking / parchment paper. (Note 4)

  • Batter – Whisk Dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk Wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Pour Wet ingredients into the Dry ingredients. Whisk just until lump free. Pour into the prepared loaf pan then smooth the surface.

  • Bake 45 minutes uncovered. Loosely cover with foil then bake a further 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

  • Cool & glaze – Stand 10 min in pan then turn out onto a cooling rack. Fully cool before glazing (~3 hours). Use a spoon to spread and coax lovely glaze drips down the side! Cut thick slices and serve.

  • Glaze – Whisk ingredients until combined and smooth, a thick smooth frosting that will drip thickly, not be transparent. Start with 3 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice, and add 1/2 tsp extra, as needed. (Note 5 on thickness)

Recipe Notes:

Adapted from two beloved reader favourites – Lemon Yogurt Cake and Blueberry Lemon Loaf – but with better lemon flavour plus buttery flavour added (see in post for why!).
1. Self raising flour can be used instead of flour + baking powder but the cake won’t rise as well (self raising flour isn’t as good as combining flour + baking powder).
2. Room temp – It’s best to have fridge-cold ingredients de-chilled so they incorporate more easily into the batter and ensures you the melted butter doesn’t solidify into lumps. Eggs can be submerged in hot water for a few minutes, yogurt can be microwaved for 15 seconds then stirred.
3. Lemon extract (natural) – This really drives home the lemon flavour. You just can’t get the same amount of lemon flavour in this cake just using fresh lemons, sadly! If you go crazy with lemon juice, it just makes it sour. Zest is where the lemon flavour is, but there’s a limit to effectiveness. For best flavour, just a little natural lemon extract.
4. Pan & lining – I just line long side and base with a single sheet. The loaf doesn’t stick to the short ends. If your pan is larger, then your loaf will just not be as tall as pictured. Cook time will be around the same, but perhaps check 5 minutes earlier.
5. Glaze – You want it as thick as possible so it’s not a really thin glaze, but a consistency so it will drip slowly down the side of the loaf and not be see through. It will go from too thick to too thin with the tiniest bit of extra liquid so start with 3 teaspoons and add 1/2 teaspoon extra lemon juice at a time until you achieve the right consistency (test down side of bowl).
Leftovers will keep for 5 days in an airtight container. I keep it in the fridge if it’s warm weather but always serve at room temperature for best flavour!
Nutrition per slice assuming 10 slices, including glaze.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 367cal (18%)Carbohydrates: 57g (19%)Protein: 5g (10%)Fat: 14g (22%)Saturated Fat: 5g (31%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 52mg (17%)Sodium: 56mg (2%)Potassium: 253mg (7%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 33g (37%)Vitamin A: 260IU (5%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 111mg (11%)Iron: 2mg (11%)

Life of Dozer

Dunno why I look so happy when Dozer looks so tortured, waiting to taste that bit of lemon cake!

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