Sunny Lemon Tea Bread

IMG_3189Lemon Tea Bread

This is a family recipe I grew up making, though I haven’t made it in several years.  Spring-like, light and lovely, it’s a sharp lemon syrup and a sweet bread.  I haven’t made it in years, because my husband doesn’t like lemon and I usually make things both of us will enjoy, but the change of seasons made me crave it.

This is a sticky lovely bread with lemon peel in the batter and a lemon syrup poured over the loaf when it first comes out.  This is the first time making it at 5000 feet, though the directions I grew up with included taking 2 tablespoons of sugar back out of the one cup, which sounds like a high altitude correction.  We’ll see.

The Cake

2 cups flour

1 ½ tablespoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons butter

1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel (reserve the lemon to squeeze for the syrup)

Mix the first three ingredients together and set aside.  In a mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between, and mix for five to seven minutes on medium speed.

With mixer on low, add the flour in three batches, the milk in two, starting and ending with flour.  Stir in the peel and spread the thick, sticky batter into a lightly greased bread pan.

Bake at 350 for 55 to 60 minutes.  Check with a toothpick or sharp knife for doneness.

This is a light, sweet bread, with a somewhat crunchy crust that’s drizzled with the lemon syrup (follows).  The bread is a fairly delicate crumb.

The Syrup

¼ cup lemon juice

5 tablespoons sugar

Combine ingredients in a saucepan and stir over high heat until it comes to a boil.  When the mixture turns clear, remove from heat and keep somewhere warm until the bread is out (or you can keep it on warm if you like – I’ve reduced too many teakettles to molten metal to do that).

Note: when the mixture is boiling with bubbles all the way across, try picking it up from the heat and seeing if it’s clear.  It’s hard to tell when it’s still bubbling.

Pour over the bread as soon as the bread is out of the oven.  I don’t remember the syrup splashing all over the place when it’s poured on, so I’m guessing when I was in high school we poured the syrup over the bread while it was still in the pan, and then hacked pieces of it out with an axe, because it definitely wants to stick in there and nothing else makes sense for getting a syrup-covered sweet bread out of a pan after about an hour in the dry Nevada climate.


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