If you love lemon-flavored treats, then this Lemon Loaf with Tangy Lemon Icing will give you spot-on lemon goodness in every bite! Moist and fluffy loaf bread covered with citrusy icing will provide you with that double dose of lemony bliss you crave for. It is a fuss-free treat that only needs one bowl and does not require the use of an electric mixer! Just combine and whisk.
Homemade Lemon Loaf with Tangy Lemon icing
When life gives you lemons, make a beautiful lemon loaf out of them! It is quite easy to do too! It will only take 25 minutes to make the batter and the homemade lemon icing, then wait for the oven to do its magic. You will enjoy a loaf of bread with moist and soft crumbs topped with lemon icing for an extra tangy kick.
And the best thing about making it yourself is you get to make it as sweet or zesty as you like it to be! Enjoy them as light and refreshing afternoon snacks paired with a cup of your favorite tea or coffee. You can bake it in a bundt pan to make it fancy enough for dessert! If you are looking for more lemony treats, you can also try my Lemon and Coconut Bars and Lemon Coconut Slices.
What Do I Need?
For the Lemon Loaf:
- Plain Flour: or all-purpose flour.
- Can I make this gluten-free? Sure, replace the plain flour with your choice of gluten-free flour brand in a 1:1 ratio.
- Can I use self-rising flour? Yes, you can for the same amount, but omit the baking powder in this recipe.
- Baking powder: will make the batter rise as it bakes.
- Salt: A pinch of salt goes a long way and will bring out the lemony flavour of the loaf.
- Caster Sugar / superfine sugar: It adds structure and gives a richer taste to the batter.
- Can I use granulated sugar? It's okay, although it's coarser and will take a bit longer to dissolve into the batter. It will still give the same level of moisture and sweetness, just like the caster sugar
- Milk + Vinegar: mixed together to make homemade buttermilk. It will make the loaf softer and fluffier.
- Can I use non-dairy milk? – Sure, you can. Try using almond, oat, and soy as they are best for baking.
- Can I use lemon juice instead? Absolutely, fresh or bottled lemon juice is a great substitute for white vinegar.
- Lemons: You will need both lemon juice and lemon zest to give this recipe a tangy kick.
- Can I use bottled lemon juice? Though fresh lemon juice is preferred, you can use bottled juice in a pinch.
- Canola Oil: I love using this oil for baking because of its neutral taste, and it keeps the loaf moist and fresh longer.
- Can I use other oils? Any type of neutral-tasting oil like grapeseed and corn oil is alright. I recommend not using olive oil as it will change the flavour of our lemon loaf.
- Eggs: will give structure to the batter by binding all the ingredients together. Using room-temperature eggs will provide the best result when baking this loaf. It also gives a slight yellow tinge to the batter resulting in a rich-coloured loaf.
- Is there any vegan substitute? You can use applesauce or flax egg instead. To substitute, use ¼ cup of applesauce per 1 egg.
For the Lemon icing:
- Icing Sugar / Powdered sugar: powdered sugar will dissolve easily into the lemon juice. If you don't have it, make powdered sugar by blending regular granulated sugar in a high-speed blender until it becomes a fine powder.
- Can I use other types of sugar? I don't recommend using different kinds of sugar because they don't have the structure and creaminess of the glaze that you can only achieve by using powdered sugar.
- Lemon juice: gives the icing a tangy taste that blends well with the sweetness of the sugar. Use just enough to make a thick but pourable consistency.
How to Make Lemon Loaf and Lemon Icing
- Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan/convection) or 180°C / 355°F (standard).
- Grease and line a 13 x 28 cm (5 x 11 inch) loaf tin with baking paper. Leave at least 3 cm of overhanging paper to allow for easy removal of the loaf.
Steps for the Lemon Loaf:
- Whisk together milk and vinegar in a large bowl. Leave undisturbed for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens before whisking in lemon juice, lemon zest, oil, sugar, and eggs.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk everything together until well combined.
- Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 55-65 minutes or until golden. Let it cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring the loaf into a wire rack to completely cool.
Steps for the Lemon icing:
- In a medium bowl, sift icing sugar then whisk in 2 tbsps of lemon juice. Mix until it is thick and spreadable.
- Spread icing on top of cooled cake and let it set for 20 minutes before slicing.
Tips When Making Lemon Loaf
- All ingredients should be at room temperature for easy preparation of the batter and icing.
- You can use lemon extract if you want a more intense lemon flavor. However, too much extract will result in a 'fake" tasting lemon flavor, so be careful when using it.
- Do not overmix the batter, just enough until no dry ingredients are visible. An overmixed batter will result in a dry and tough after baking.
- If the top of the loaf is getting too brown during baking, cover it with foil until the loaf is thoroughly baked.
- To check if the loaf is done, insert a toothpick or skewer in the middle of the cake. It's done if the skewer comes out clean. The loaf will be quite flat which is expected, so do not worry about it.
- If your icing is too thick, just add more lemon juice until you get the right consistency. You can also use other types of citrus juice like lime or orange for variety.
- You can also make this recipe in a bundt pan. Just make sure to generously grease your bundt pan for easy removal of the loaf.
Storage and Freezing
You can keep the Iced Lemon loaf stored un-refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days. For longer storage, keep the Lemon Loaf in the freezer for up to 6 months. Place the frosted lemon loaf on a sheet pan and freeze for 2-3 hours. Once frozen, wrap the loaf with plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil, then put it in an airtight freezer container. If your loaf is unfrosted, just wrap it up before tossing it into the freezer.
For the Lemon Loaf
- 1 cup (250 mL) milk
- 1 tablespoon (20 mL) vinegar
- ½ cup (125 mL) lemon juice (approx. 2-3 medium lemons)
- 2 teaspoon (4 g) lemon zest
- 1 cup (250 mL) canola oil
- 1 ½ cups (360 g) caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (300 g) plain flour
- 1 tablespoon (16 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (3 g) salt
For the Lemon Icing
- 1 ½ cups (210 g) icing sugar / powdered sugar
- 2-3 tablespoon (40-60 mL) lemon juice
For the Lemon Loaf
- Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F (fan/convection) or 180°C / 355°F (standard). Grease and line an 13 x 28 cm (5 x 11 inch) loaf tin with baking paper, ensuring there's at least 3 cm of overhanging paper to allow for easy removal of the loaf.
- In a large bowl, whisk together milk and vinegar. Leave to stand for 5 minutes to allow the milk to thicken. Whisk in lemon juice, lemon zest, oil, sugar, and eggs.
- Sift over flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together until well combined. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 55-65 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. The loaf will be quite flat. Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Lemon Icing
- Sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoon of lemon juice. The icing should be quite thick and spreadable. Add 1 more tablespoon of lemon juice to thin out, if needed.
- Spread over the cooled cake and allow to set for 20 minutes before slicing.
- Please note that my recipes are measured in metric cups and spoons which are larger than US cups and spoons. Most recipes will be fine if measured in US cups and spoons, but please use the weight (grams) measurement for the most accurate result.
- You can keep the loaf stored un-refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Substitutions & Tips
- Oil: you can substitute the canola oil with any type of vegetable oil. Don't use olive oil or it will give the loaf an odd taste.
Nutrition Information:Serving Size: 1/10th of Loaf with Icing
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 519Total Fat: 24.4gSaturated Fat: 2.3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 394.8mgCarbohydrates: 68.9gFiber: 0.8gSugar: 50.9gProtein: 4.6g