Tuesday, April 17, 2012

TWD -BWJ #6 - Lemon Loaf

After such a long and busy weekend, it was hard to bring myself to make this. Not because it didn't sound good, or because I didn't have the ingredients (because I always have these ingredients in my house), but the thought of having yet another thing on my to-do list was enough to make me somewhat insane. A wedding, a birthday (on the same night, of course!), finalizing plans for a fast-approaching anniversary trip to Spain, groceries, laundry, meals...I could go on. What made me finally get up and do it was the fact that I wanted to make it for Jake. The groom's cake at the wedding we went to Saturday night was a pound cake with a light lemon cream icing, and it was A-MA-ZING. Jake loved it, so I thought he might be into the lemon loaf.

Getting back to my signature style, I wanted to do three different versions of this recipe: a regular loaf, one with almonds and a lemon-poppy variation. Then I discovered I didn't have any poppy seeds. What?! I always have poppy seeds. It's one of the ingredients in my grandpa's onion cookie recipe and therefore I have leftovers in my pantry year-round, so the fact that I didn't have any was nothing short of baffling, and forced me to adjust my plan of action. The "conversation" went something like:
I still want to make 3 mini loaves instead of a single large loaf. A regular (by the cookbook) version and one with chopped almonds are givens, so what about the third? No poppy seeds...No poppy seeds...Ugh...Hmmm, what about lavender? I've never really used lavender...Which begs the question, "why do I have it?" but I guess that's not really important right now. Where is it? Oh no, I can't not have this, too. I know it's in here somewhere. There it is. How much should I use? Ugh, a quarter teaspoon should be fine...I can't think about this anymore.
So I stopped thinking and started baking. I don't keep cake flour in my house, but regular unbleached all-purpose worked fine. For the add-ins I roughly chopped 1/2 c of slivered almonds and finely chopped 1/4 t of dried lavender. It was a very easy recipe (7 ingredients before my add-ins), which was exactly what I needed at the moment. If it had called for my Kitchen Aid I'm not sure I would have gotten through it, but 2 bowls, a whisk and a spatula I could handle.

At first, I didn't think I'd used enough lavender because I didn't taste it (not that I really knew what it should taste like), but when I tasted them side-by-side, I realized that the lavender really did add something to the original recipe. So, in summary:

  • Lemon loaf: nice, light, refreshing.
  • Lavender lemon loaf: citrusy with some unexpected depth.
  • Lemon almond loaf: nice crunch, good balance.

Jake just liked his plain, but my favorite ways to eat this were somewhat diverse. The lemon-almond loaf was very good with strawberry jam, and the regular lemon and lemon-lavender were terrific smeared with (unsalted) butter and a sprinkle of coarse salt. Oh yes, I'll definitely be making this again.
Check out the other TWD bloggers' lemon loaves or find the recipe on the blogs of this weeks' hosts, Truc of Treats and Michelle of The Beauty of Life, and make it yourself!

Things I learned from this project:
  1. Almonds and lemon are always a good flavor combination.
  2. Lavender adds surprising depth of flavor.


  1. love your variations, they sound delicious!

  2. What an over achiever with the three variations!;) They all sound great!

  3. Glad that you enjoyed it! You're crazy making three, you're so talented!! Btw I hope you have a great time in Spain, what a shame I will be in Germany for that week if not I would love to show you some places in Madrid, I'm sure you'll have a great time!!

  4. I use a lavender glaze - it was delicious and paired really well with the citrus. Too bad about the poppy seeds, though - that would've been amazing!

  5. My my tierney.. am impressed!! :) I like the sound of lavender...

  6. As an aside about the lavender... try making a simple syrup and steep some lavender flowers in it and use it to make lemonade. I tried it for the first time last summer and totally fell in love with it. I've been waiting for warm weather to come again just so I could make it again!

  7. Very lovely.
    Lavender and lemon is a beautifully classic combination. (It's lovely steeped in tea and adds a lovely note to a coctail when part of a simple syrup).
    I loved your conversation with yourself! I totally do that.

  8. You're such an over achiever! They all look delicious.