Monday, April 30, 2012

Lemoniest Little Lemon Loaf

A simple pleasure.

A Little Lemon Loaf.

I am this close to betting you that this is the lemoniest loaf you will ever make.

At least I can say for certain, it is the lemoniest loaf I’ve ever made.

This comes so wonderfully close to perfect.

There’s no chocolate, caramel, or chocolate again.

But, somehow it is so wonderful.

I should really find a way to get chocolate to mesh well into this cake.

All you taste in this wonderful cake is LEMON, with a lovely bitey texture from the cornmeal. Plus cornmeal is yellow, so it makes perfect sense.

This batter starts with beating whole eggs and yolks with sugar until very pale (almost white!), thick and nearly tripled in volume. I mean, really whip these eggs! When you think it's ready, beat it for another minute longer.

When it looks this light and fluffy, it's called the ribbon stage because when lifted with the beater, the eggs will fall back onto themselves in folds as they fall back down (just like a ribbon, duh!).

Lots of lemon zest makes this cake ridiculously lemony - that's where the essential oils are, and they carry all of the lovely lemon flavour.

The batter is light and fluffy, like a lemon mousse. You can see the little bits of cornmeal.

It bakes up stunningly golden brown all over the surface.

Don’t be afraid when your cake puffs up and then sinks near the end of baking – that’s how you know it is almost ready. The eggs will soufflé at first and then the cake will settle as the proteins set. This leaves us with a short little lemon loaf with an evenly flat top.

If we were to add more flour, the cake might hold its structure more and be a bit higher, but then that would make it less moist and not so little anymore. Get what I’m sayin’?

Don’t be fooled by this brown crust because beneath it lays lovely lemon crumbs. This cake is moist and soft, but with a substantial texture.

I would say that this would be magic with a cup of hot tea, but that would be too obvious.

This is as close as you can get to the sun from your kitchen.

Little Lemon Loaf
Makes 8-10 servings

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
¼ tsp salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup pure canola oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9x5-inch rectangular loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on opposite ends along the length and butter exposed sides.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Add cornmeal and whisk together to blend evenly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat whole eggs, egg yolk, lemon zest and salt on medium-high speed until foamy, about 40 seconds. Gradually add sugar while beating. Increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very pale and almost white in colour, about 5 minutes. The mixture will nearly triple in volume.

In a small bowl, combine oil and lemon juice. Whisk it with a fork to blend. Add one-third of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and fold it in gently using the wire whisk attachment from the mixer. Add half of the oil mixture and fold until almost blended. Fold in half of the remaining flour mixture followed by the rest of the olive oil mixture. Finally, gently fold in the last third of the flour mixture using a wide rubber spatula until evenly incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

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  1. I love lemon desserts and the crumb on this cake looks perfect. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  2. Lemon desserts are now one of my favorites! You won't see me asking where the chocolate is! :-)I'm intrigued by the cornmeal, I'll have to try it out!

  3. i love the addition of cornmeal in this, definitely need to try sometime!

  4. This is beautiful! I was thinking it looked sunny. I love that it is extra lemony!

  5. There's just something about lemon cake, isn't there? interesting using cornmeal, I've never had that in cake!

  6. I love lemon anything and have been on a citrus kick in the house lately. The loaf looks fabulous love the addition of cornmeal. I bet it had a wonderful texture.

  7. MMM definitely something for me, as i am a big LEMON fan.
    Say, can i replace the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour?

  8. I made this and I really didn't like the cornmeal in it. Is there any replacement or could I just substitute it with flour? I also didn't find it very lemony so I doubled the lemon zest and added some more lemon juice. I was disappointed in the end because of the texture.

  9. Hi Christina,
    this recipe looks delicious and I really cannot wait to try it. I just had one question as I know you are living/staying in Australia at the moment and I wondered If you could tell me a good alternative for yellow cornmeal? Or if you know somewhere that you can buy it here? I live in Brisbane and cannot find anywhere, nor do I know what to use instead :( hope you can help, and just so you know, I love you blog and recipes and recipe book (it has been well loved and is covered in flour and cookie dough...)

    1. Hi Zoe! Good question - in Australia, I believe corn meal is sold as polenta. Let me know if you have luck with that.

      And the idea of my cookbook covered in cookie dough makes me smile HUGE. Thank you!!

  10. What can be a substitute to corn meal? I am in Saudi Arabia and I cant find one here. Thanks!

    1. Hi Joyce Ann, sometimes it is sold as "polenta", so try and look out for that. Otherwise, you could also try using semolina, although it would change the flavour and you wouldn't get that gorgeous yellow colour.


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