Delicate, moist, and easy to slice, this quick bread is fantastic for brunch and perfect for afternoon tea. With Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting, it’s almost like a cake
- 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows), optional
- Lemon curls (see (Cook’s Tip), optional
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and stir with a whisk to blend.
- Gradually add the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture and stir until blended. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and poppy seeds.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. If the top of the loaf browns before the center is done, cover with aluminum foil and continue baking until done.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Run a knife around the sides of the loaf and unmold onto a cutting board to cut into slices, or onto a platter to frost and decorate with lemon curls.
Makes one 9-by-5-inch loaf
To make lemon zest, use a zester or grater to cut fine shreds of the colored part (the zest) of the lemon peel; don’t include the white pith underneath, which is apt to be bitter.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or fresh lemon juice
- Lemon curls for decorating (see Cook’s Tip), optional
- In a medium bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla or lemon juice and beat until smooth.
To make lemon curls: Using a channel knife or vegetable peeler start at the tip of the lemon and slowly rotate the lemon while holding the peeler still to remove the lemon zest in a long strip. Curl the strip around a chopstick or skewer, or hold the strip at either end and twist the ends in opposite directions and gently pull to make a spiral. Add the zest to a glass of ice water for 30 minutes to curl. Drain, dry, and cut the curl into shorter sections.