Olive Oil Lemon Loaf
Soft, zesty and refreshing lemon loaf baked on olive oil. Inspiration for this quick bake came from Italian cuisine. It’s a joyful marriage between Italian tea cake Ciambellone and Olive Oil cake.
Zesty flavour in this loaf is achieved in similar way to Ciambellone cake - zests are rubbed into sugar to create intensified lemony-orange flavour.
Mild olive oil gives it a rich moistness and depth that enhances zesty flavour and helps to keep the cake fresh for longer. We are using enough olive oil in this recipe to achieve moist and soft texture without the oil overpowering the zesty loaf flavour.
Mascarpone and yogurt are adding slight tang to this soft cake and are lightly flavoured with lemon, orange juice and vanilla. Sweet orange is balancing sharpness of lemon. Really simple and flavourful quick bake.
The loaf is full of zesty flavour - no need for icing or other tops ups. However, we will never say no to fruit coulis or frivolous and heavy coat of sprinkles! If you opt to apply lemon glaze - brush the loaf with the glaze when it's still hot.
All in all - zesty and refreshing, soft and moist cake which keeps fresh for long. Quick bake which you will have ready to serve in under 1 hour (only 15 min prep!).
Olive Oil Lemon Loaf Recipe
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 15 min prep + 40 min baking
Tin: 10cmx20cm loaf tin
Ingredients (all at room temperature):
- 1 packed cup (210g) sugar
- 1 flat teaspoon sea salt (1/2 teaspoon if using table salt)
- zest from 2 lemons
- zest from 1/2 orange
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon (100g) mascarpone cheese
- 1/5 cup (50g) natural greek yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons (10ml) orange juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (125ml) olive oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 and 1/2 cup (225g) all-purpose flour
- 1 and 2/3 cup (210g) confectioners’ sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) lemon juice (+1 more if needed)
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) greek yogurt
- pinch of salt
*cup = 250ml cup
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Line bottom of the tin with parchment paper and lightly grease sides of the tin with butter.
2. In a small pot whisk mascarpone with greek yogurt, lemon juice, orange juice and vanilla extract. Set aside - make sure this mixture is at room temperature before mixing into the cake batter.
3. Zest lemons and orange. In your main mixing bowl mix sugar with salt and add zests. Use palms of your hands to rub the zest into sugar. This will release citrusy flavour and create zesty sugar mixture. Sprinkle baking powder and baking soda evenly on top of the sugar and mix thoroughly (you may whisk it or rub the mixture few times using palms of your hands). Add mascarpone/yogurt mixture (from Step 2) and whisk until combined. With a steady stream add olive oil - whisk until combined. Add eggs - one at a time, whisking until combined. Using spatula, in two turns, gently fold in sifted flour. Don’t over mix. Pour the mixture into the baking tin and tap few times.
4. Bake at 180C for 40 minutes. Check with the skewer if fully baked through. Once baked, take out and leave in the tin for 10 minutes then run thin knife around the edges and transfer onto the cooling rack. Apply the lemon glaze on warm cake - mix all ingredients until smooth and apply on the cake (pour or brush).
- use a mild olive oil with buttery or fruity notes (light, bright yellow) rather than an intense, peppery one, so the oil’s flavour isn’t overwhelming. We used Spanish Don Carlos Olive Oil for this bake.
- all ingredients should be at room temperature (21C). Especially mascarpone, yogurt, olive oil and eggs. If time allows you may opt to mix yogurt, mascarpone, lemon juice, orange juice and vanilla extract (Step 2 in the recipe) 1 hour before preparing the cake and leave at room temperature.
- use sea salt if possible - sugar is mixed with sea salt before zest is being rubbed into the mixture. Nice balance between sweet/salty/zesty is created (table salt is ok - will give you slightly flatter flavour though).
- make sure to mix in thoroughly baking soda and baking powder with zesty sugar.
- if you have an access to - use caster sugar, if you don’t - you can use granulated sugar or opt to blend (one or two pulses) granulated sugar into caster sugar. Same with icing (confectioners’) sugar - to avoid starchy aftertaste blend granulated sugar into fine powder (confectioners’ sugar has starch added to it to prevent the sugar from going lumpy and hard - leaving starch aftertaste in icing).
- grease baking tin well - especially the bottom (or line the bottom with parchment paper).
- the loaf is going to crack when baking - that’s OK, don’t cover with the aluminium foil.
- apply lemon glaze when the cake is still hot so that it will soak into the cake intensifying citrusy lemon flavour.
- storage: store the cake at room temperature, covered loosely. The loaf stays fresh for up to 5 days.