Winter is the time to celebrate citrus as these brightly colored, juicy fruits are at their peak of flavor. Start the day with half of a ruby red grapefruit or a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. You’ll feel cheerful and get a dose of vitamin C. Add orange or grapefruit segments to enhance a hearty salad or treat yourself to a few extra juicy, often sweet Meyer lemons and make a sensational vinaigrette. Whatever citrus you choose, now is the time to make these juicy fruits your friends.
When Life Gives You Lemons
Over Valentine’s weekend, we safely gathered with a couple visiting from out of town. I mentioned that I was going to make a lemon blueberry cake and my friend was visibly thrilled. Her eyes lit up the room and I knew she was a lemon fan. And because this was a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe from his SIMPLE cookbook, I knew we were both going to be happy with the results.
Baked in a loaf pan, it’s called a cake but we’ll call it a loaf cake for clarity. The batter definitely made me feel like a kid making a homemade cake with my grandmother because it starts with creaming the butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla. The aroma of the lemon zest intoxicates as it blends and becomes the foundation of flavor. One at a time, the eggs are beaten in and the batter becomes a gorgeous and glowing golden yellow–very much like a yellow cake batter. In three parts, the dry ingredients are added and the result is a glorious batter that will make every grandmother proud.
Three Ways to Love this Loaf Cake
Even though it’s winter, this recipe can be adapted to whatever fruit is in season. Orange and Raspberries? Lime and cherries? Lemon and apples? You bet. The hardest part of this recipe is letting the cake cool thoroughly before you add the citrus juice and confectioner’s sugar drizzle. But be patient as this is how the glaze will harden and not melt right off the loaf onto the parchment paper.
Knowing you are waking up to this loaf cake is an excellent way to start the day. Combine this cake with a hot cup of coffee or tea in the morning though it’s equally sublime when enjoyed for dessert at the end of a long winter day. But, honestly, it’s best when served in the company of good friends. I sent our friends home with half the remaining loaf and David quickly requested another loaf when the leftovers were gone.
It’s that good and thank goodness it’s also that simple that I happily obliged because I, too, needed more. Being able to have it as a snack, breakfast or dessert offers three delicious ways to savor this lemon blueberry almond loaf cake. All that was missing the second time I made it was our friends. Luckily, we have already agreed to make it when they return this summer–when blueberries are in high season.
Lemon Blueberry Almond Loaf Cake
Tart but sweet, this lemon blueberry loaf cake uses both almond flour and gluten-free flour to make a moist crumb that will have you licking the plate clean. The batter will remind you of the yellow cake your grandmother used to make and trust me when I tell you that your grandmother approves of this recipe. Light and tasty, you'll love that it's both versatile and simple to make.
- 1/2 cup butter or vegan butter at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 4 lemons, zested
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup almond flour
- 2/3 cup gluten-free flour sifted
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries divided
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice or more as needed
Heat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit/200 degrees Celsius.
Line a 9-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, add the softened butter, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla and, using a hand or stand mixer, beat on high for 3 to 4 minutes.
Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs in one at a time, mixing thoroughly before adding the next egg.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary and continue to add the remaining two eggs. The mixture may separate briefly, but know it will come back together when you add the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, place a sifter and add the dry ingredients into the sifter--the almond flour, gluten-free flour, baking powder and salt. Sift the ingredients into the bowl and stir well to combine.
With the mixer on low, add a third of the dry ingredients at a time, mixing a bit each time and then adding the next third and mixing some more and the final third. Mix just until no specks of the dry ingredients remain and everything is well blended.
Mix just until no specks of the dry ingredients remain and everything is well blended. The batter will be a beautiful golden yellow.
Fold in half of the blueberries and scoop the batter into the lined loaf pan.
Bake for 15 minutes and then sprinkle with the remaining blueberries.
Return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until the top turns slightly golden brown but is still uncooked.
Tent the loaf with aluminum foil and continue to cook for 25-30 minutes or until risen and cooked, and a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and pace it on a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cake is cool, make the icing--add lemon juice and confectioner's sugar to a small bowl and whisk together until smooth, adding a bit more juice if needed. Using a spoon, drizzle the icing over the cake. Let icing set (about 30 minutes), slice and serve.
Place any leftovers in foil and leave at room temperature.