Lemony Lemon Loaf


This sunny, lightly colored, yellow-blond cake includes both lemon zest and lemon juice for bright flavor, plus cream cheese, buttermilk, and sour cream for richness. Due to the sugaring of the pan, the two end slices--often disfavored--will be the sweetest!

Prep Time:
40 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Additional Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 5 mins
1 9x5-inch loaf


  • 2 ½ tablespoons white sugar

  • 2 cups bleached all-purpose flour

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 ½ tablespoons baking soda, or more as needed

  • 2 teaspoons water, or as needed

  • 1 lemon

  • 2 lemons, juiced, or as needed

  • cup white sugar

  • ¼ cup mild olive oil

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened

  • 3 jumbo eggs

  • ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

  • ¼ cup sour cream

  • ¼ cup buttermilk, shaken


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x5-inch nonstick loaf pan and "flour" the pan with 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, tilting so each surface of the pan is dusted with sugar. Discard any excess sugar.

  2. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in a mixing bowl; set aside.

  3. Place baking soda in the palm of your hand and wet with water to form a paste. Rub paste vigorously all over 1 lemon. Rinse lemon thoroughly, zest it, and place zest in a large bowl. Juice the lemon into a liquid measuring cup and add enough juice from remaining 2 lemons to measure 1/3 cup; add to lemon zest.

  4. Add sugar, olive oil, and cream cheese to the lemon mixture. Mix thoroughly with an electric mixer until most of the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in eggs, applesauce, sour cream, and buttermilk until well combined. Whisk in 1/2 of the reserved flour mixture until incorporated. Whisk in remaining flour mixture until just combined. Immediately pour and scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Place loaf pan, uncovered, on a baking sheet.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 42 to 45 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a table knife around the edges of the pan to loosen. Invert carefully onto a serving plate or cooling rack. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving, or cool completely to room temperature before wrapping and refrigerating.

Cook's Notes:

Use a sunny yellow variety of olive oil, rather than green.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

287 Calories
11g Fat
44g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 287
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g 14%
Saturated Fat 3g 17%
Cholesterol 82mg 27%
Sodium 682mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 25mg 127%
Calcium 107mg 8%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 130mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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