Holiday Baking: Lemon Tea Bread

So now that we are clear of Thanksgiving, I am full Holiday Baking mode. Every year I have a theme. One year it was Spice - gingerbread, cardamom cookies, etc, - another year it was color - lots of decorated cut cookies. When I asked my counter part about this year's theme, he recommended Blonde - light colored treats that would be visually appealing when packaged together. He also requested a lemon tea bread, sans poppy seeds.

When I checked my cookbooks, I didn't find a recipe I actually liked. A quick search of epicurious and All Recipes returned results that were also not quite right. Many of them included a mix - either pudding or cake - highly inappropriate for holiday baking (anything intended to be shared with others should be made from scratch IMHO). The recipe I decided on came from The Sweet Beet. I was directed there by an old childhood chum and contributor to @DINKDinners on Twitter - Wendy Weetabix.

You will need:

1/2 cup butter - this is a whole stick

3/4 cup sugar - for really nice results, run it through a Kitchen Aid coffee grinder for a few seconds

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla - the real thing, not the flavoring

zest from 1 lemon - a micro planer works really well for this

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder


juice from the lemon whose zest you are using

1/3 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 375.

Grease a loaf pan. Or, if you are planning on including this in your holiday cookie packages to friends and neighbors, use four mini-loaf pans. (Thanks to my counterpart, I have a set of superior min-loaf pans that he picked up at a specialty store for me.  <3 )

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Butter with ultra-fine sugar run through the coffee grinder

Cream together until light and fluffy

Add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest and mix until smooth.

Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. This is best accomplished if you measure them into a separate bowl and then run them through your flour sifter together. Then add the milk and lemon juice and mix until well blended.

Pour the batter into your pan. If you are baking mini-loafs, use a small ladle to portion your patter into the pans.

Batter in my superior mini-loaf pans

Bake for 45 minutes for a full loaf, about 20 minutes for mini-loafs. When a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean and the edges are golden, they are done. 

I think it should look something like this

Cool on a wire rack for a bit, then gently remove from pans to complete cooling.

Hmmmm.....they seem a little squat to me

Mine came out a little flat but should make nice bars if I cut them thick. I will try this again, but will make a double-batch to ensure I have sufficient batter to get nice-sized loafs.

Here is a link to the recipe as it appears on

The Sweet Beet

. Thanks, Wendy!

If you have a favorite recipe that you would like to share, please email me at

 and let me know how you would like to be identified (ie "a reader in Ellicott City" vs your actual name). Include any traditions or memories associated with the dish if you like.