Luscious Lemon Loaf from Cake, I Love You by Jill O’Connor


What better way to celebrate life’s big and small achievements than with cake? There is something inherently festive and special about a homemade cake. Master baker, Jill O’Connor walks home cooks through the cake-making process with crowd-pleasing recipes, perfect for the holidays.  Cake: I Love You (Chronicle Books/May 2017) is a love letter to a classic indulgence and offers more than 50 divinely decadent recipes home bakers will want to make right away.

Cake, I Love You by Jill O'Connor

Organized by flavor profile (banana, coconut, chocolate, caramel, spice, fruit) and level of difficulty, each chapter in this cookbook presents a wide range of sweet choices, from easy weeknight sheet cakes to showstoppers layered with frosting and ganache. With photos that will make readers want to reach out and swipe their fingers through the frosting, Cake, I Love You offers foolproof cake-making advice for beginning bakers and master mixers alike.

From the simple to the more detailed, Jill’s delicious cake recipes include:

  • Old-Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Melted Chocolate Bar Frosting
  • Dixie’s Banana-Bourbon Stack Cake
  • Vintage Coconut Cake
  • Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Layer Cake
  • Chocolate-Peanut Butter Blackout Cake
  • Hummingbird Morning Cake
  • Proper Victoria Sponge with Ginger-Roasted Rhubarb and Devonshire-Style Cream
  • Raspberry-Hazelnut Financier
  • Blood Orange-Ricotta Pound Cake with Spiced Blood Orange Compote 
Cake, I Love You provides chapters on Baker’s Gear, Baker’s Pantry, and Building a Better Cake, and Jill provides helpful tips and techniques throughout the book that will make the cake-making experience even better. 
“Everyone love cakes in one form or another,” says Jill. “This book is my unapologetic love letter to cake, in all its sweet, gorgeous, and celebratory glory.”
This holiday season bake something special for friends and family with Cake, I Love You, a no-butter-spared tribute to this classic indulgence.
Jill O’Connor is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in London and studied at the International Pastry Arts Center in New York.  She writes a food column for the San Diego Union-Tribune, is the author of six cookbooks, and has developed recipes for Food & Wine, Southern Living, Bon Appétit, and Fine Cooking magazines.

Luscious Lemon Loaf from Cake, I Love You Decadent Delectable and Do-able Recipes by Jill O'Connor

Luscious Lemon Loaf

Lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon oil combine to give this simple cake real zing. Don’t be tempted to skip the lemon oil, as it adds a wonderful fragrance and intense lemon flavor that lemon extract can’t match. Cold pressed from the zest of oranges, limes, or lemons, citrus oils are concentrated and fragile. They must be refrigerated once the bottle is open, but even then they don’t last forever.
Calories: 776kcal


  • 1-1/2 cups 300 g granulated sugar
  • 2 large lemons
  • ½ cup 120g sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon lemon oil
  • 1-1/2 cups 245 g all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup 110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup 60 ml canola oil
  • 3 eggs room temperature

Lemon Icing2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon oil
  • ½ to 2 cups 180g to 240g confectioners’ sugar, sifted


  • Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325º. Coat a 9-by-5-inch metal loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the pan with an 8-1/2-inch-by 15-inch strip of parchment paper so it covers the bottom of the pan and hangs over the long sides.
  • Put the sugar in a small bowl. Using a microplane zester, grate the zest from the lemons into the sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingertips until the sugar is sandy and moist and fragrant with lemon. Set aside.
  • Cut the lemons in half. Using a citrus reamer, squeeze the juice from the lemons into another small bowl.
  • In a third small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup of the fresh lemon juice, (you should have about 2 tablespoons remaining; set aside for the icing.) the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon oil. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and oil together on medium speed just until creamy. Add the lemon sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as you go. Decrease the mixer speed to low and beat in the sour cream mixture. Add the dry ingredients in two additions, beating on low for a few seconds after each.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes (do not check the cake until it has been in the oven for at least 40 minutes, as it might sink in the middle.) The cake is done when a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the loaf, still in the pan, to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Grasping the overhanging parchment, lift the loaf out of the pan and set it on the rack. Cool completely.
  • To make the icing, whisk the butter, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and lemon oil with the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and creamy. Spread or drizzle the icing over the cooled cake.


Recipe from CAKE, I LOVE YOU: Decadent, Delectable, and Do-able Recipes by Jill O’Connor from Chronicle Books/May 2017 (available on Amazon)

This holiday season bake up this crowd-pleasing cake and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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