Today’s recipe was borne from a lapse in thinking.
I had been craving lemon bars for the better part of a week when this loaf was made. I bought some Meyer lemons from Whole Foods and came home intent on making a tray to bring in to school. I juiced six lemons and a blood orange that I had lying around. The butter was perfectly softened, and I was ready to make some dessert.
Until I read the recipe wrong.
Somewhere between juicing those lemons and creaming that butter, I got it into my head that the recipe called for 1¾ cups of sugar in the crust.
It does not. That goes in the filling.
But of course that didn’t occur to me until I had successfully combined all of the butter with all of the sugar. So then I had to brainstorm ways to save those ingredients that I basically ruined. The end result was a sweet, dense pound cake, studded with lemon zest with the underlying tang of Meyer lemons and blood orange. The best part might actually be that the extra sugar crusted on top, making for a great crunch. Paired with a citrus-y glaze, this is one screw-up that didn’t turn out half bad!
I’m going to go ahead and call this recipe a success. Sure, I cannot read may be losing my mind, but at least I avoided a major baking flop!
Sugar Crusted Citrus Loaf
This loaf is dense, people. A little goes a long way. Diabetes-fearing friends, you can cut down the sugar in the recipe, but it won’t be as dense and won’t develop that sugary crust on top. That being said, you will probably increase your chances of not getting a disease. Personally, I think a slice with sugary crust was worth it, but I like to live on the edge
- 2 sticks butter, softened at room temp
- 1¾ cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 1¼ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- ¼ cup + 1/3 cup + 4 tablespoons citrus juice, separated
- 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon zest
- ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a large loaf pan. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest
- In a large bowl, cream together your butter and sugar until fluffy. Note: you can definitely cut the sugar down. I’d reduce it to like 1 cup if you want a normal, lemony loaf. But you won’t get that crust, and that’s kinda in the title of the recipe.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla and beat until just combined.
- At this point, you need to add both the dry ingredients and the ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of the citrus juice. I chose to add these in alternating batches (1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by half the citrus, plus another 1/3 of the dry stuff, rest of the citrus, rest of the dry). While I know nothing about chemistry other than what I learned in 10th grade, I think this might be the best route to take over incorporating all the citrus followed by all the dry ingredients (or vice versa). This is quite a bit of juice to add to your batter, so you want to make sure it is seamlessly incorporated.
- Once all that stuff is combined, pour into your loaf pan. Tap twice on the counter and throw it into your preheated oven.
- Bake for 45 minutes–basically you need a crust to have formed. Pour/Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons of citrus juice on top of the loaf.
- Continue baking for 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean–though I generally don’t mind a few crumbs in my loaves. Remove and cool for fifteen minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Then, make your glaze by whisking together the confectioner’s sugar and the remaining citrus juice (1/3 cup). My glaze is pretty-citrus heavy. Given how much sugar was in this loaf, I wanted the citrus flavor to really come through. Feel free to adjust as you see fit (i.e. adding more sugar or less juice).
- Serve at room temperature with glaze.