Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Baker's Corner: Citrus Loaf Cake

You know, even though I frequently complain about living in the tropics because of how hot is ALWAYS is, I do see the many advantages. For starters, we can perpetually live in comfy cotton tees and shorts which is great! (not to mention, flip flops are acceptable footwear almost everywhere 😛). We don't need shovels (for anything other than gardening), we don't need Vitamin D supplements, we can go swimming, cycling and hiking whenever our heart desires, we can ferment any kind of food imaginable, we can live on ice pops, froyo and summer coolers plus we have all-year access to bright and fresh produce among others! Now that I think about it, life in the tropics is actually pretty good! 

I saw this Spring Citrus Loaf Cake on Instagram recently and I decided that I wanted to make it right away. Just by looking at the photos, I knew this cake was going to be super moist, fresh, sweet and zingy. Citrus fruits have such a bright and sunny spring/summer vibe don't they? Lucky for us lot, Singapore has all-year summer, so any time would be a good time to make this cake.  

I LOVE citrus-based desserts (lemon sorbet is bae!) but I understand that they are not to everyone's liking. Out of curiosity, I did a poll on it on my Instagram Stories and to my surprise, an overwhelming majority turned out to be Team Citrus in the dessert department! So I'm expecting a lot of you try this cake okay? 

This Citrus Loaf Cake turned out just the way I imagined it would. I tweaked the original recipe only slightly. I already have a Lemon Syrup Cake on my blog. But this cake packs a double whammy of citrus tang with the added goodness or orange which not only brightens and sweetens the cake but gives it that lovely orange perfume. The citrus glaze is a welcome addition too! My family loved this cake (my kids even took it in their lunchboxes) and it was polished off at record speed. 

The food blogger in me wanted to spruce things up a bit so I added extra lemon and orange zest on the top of the glaze for decoration. I later felt it was unnecessary since the zest magnified the tanginess and even imparted slight bitterness which resulted in overkill. In the spirit of full disclosure, I just thought I should let y'all know! You can add a wee bit of zest into the glaze and stick to orange slices for decoration. 

Here is the recipe for those interested. Fasten your seatbelts for a citrusy ride. Pucker up folks!

Citrus Loaf Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes; Cook Time: 50 minutes 
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes 
Makes: 1 loaf
Category: Western/Dessert
Recipe level: Easy
Recipe source: Adapted from here


For the Loaf Cake:
125 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
180 g (slightly less than 1 cup) caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Zest of 3 lemons
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp orange essence, Optional
100 ml buttermilk
200 g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate (baking) soda

For the Syrup:
50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 small-medium sized orange

For the Glaze:
~4 tbsp mixture of lemon + orange juice 
150g icing (powdered) sugar, sifted 

For decoration
Additional lemon and orange zest, Optional (don't overdo it!)
Sliced oranges or grapefruit, Optional


1. Keep all the ingredients ready. Preheat the oven to 160 deg C and grease and line a glass or metal loaf tin with baking parchment. 

2. In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter and the sugar until light and smooth. Beat in the eggs, one by one, followed by the orange essence, the citrus zest, then the lemon juice and the buttermilk. 

3. Mix the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda with the flour. To the above mixture, gently fold in the flour to produce a smooth batter. 

5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and gently drop the tin from a moderate height back onto the work surface to knock out any air bubbles. 

6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes, until the cake is firm and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

7. When the cake is baking, make the syrup by combining the sugar, lemon and orange juice in a small saucepan set over a medium heat. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved, and set aside to cool. 

Reserve 4 tbsp of this mixture in another bowl (to be used for the citrus glaze). 

8. Leave the cake to cool in its tin for 10 minutes on a wire rack before carefully turning it out and setting it upright. Using a barbecue skewer or toothpick to poke the cake all over with holes. Place a baking tray until the cake to catch any excess syrup, and spoon the syrup all over the cake. Don’t worry if it feels like too much syrup. The cake will soak it all in as it cools. 

9. Leave the cake to cool completely. Meanwhile make the glaze by gradually mixing the reserved lemon + orange juice into the icing sugar to make a smooth paste. Add the juice to the icing only a little at a time, and try to get as thick an icing as possible. 

Note: If the icing is too thin it becomes runny and drips right off the cake

10. Once the cake is completely cool, spoon over the icing. Let the icing set slightly (preferably keep the cake in the fridge) for at least 10 minutes or so before decorating and slicing. Keep the cake covered or in an airtight container. 

  • Zest the orange and lemon first before squeezing out the juice. Makes things so much easier!
  • If you don't have store-bought buttermilk, you can easily make it at home by yourself using whole milk and lemon
  • This cake tastes pretty good by itself so you can even skip the syrup and the glaze altogether
  • You can add a little bit (1/4 tsp) of the orange and lemon zest into the glaze mixture and skip decorating the top of the cake with the zest
  • If you have access to yuzu, you can use the zest and juice as a substitute for the lemon in this recipe
  • You can decorate the cake with orange slices or grapefruit slices


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