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Lemon Tea Cake

This beautifully simple lemon tea cake is packed with bright, fresh lemon flavor in every bite. Make it during lemon season, or throughout the year.

Easy Lemon Tea Cake

I’ve been making this tea bread for years now because the first time I sent a loaf each to my grandmother and my uncle at the holidays I got such rave reviews I just couldn’t make it a one-time thing. But this recipe is too good for holidays-only use, and so I christened 2013 with lemon tea cake, too. I used Meyer lemons because they’re in season right now in California and my friend gave me an enormous bagful from her backyard tree, but you may use regular instead.

Just a few simple ingredients come together to make a gorgeously lemony loaf cake that can be baked in a standard-size loaf pan or in smaller mini loaves. I love it either way, but the smaller loaves are wonderfully sized to make perfect gifts.

Lemon Tea Cake

Nicole Spiridakis
This beautifully simple lemon tea cake is packed with bright, fresh lemon flavor in every bite. Make it during lemon season, or throughout the year.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10 servings
Calories 501 kcal


  • 2 lemons
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 ½ cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour two 9- x 5- x 3-inch metal loaf pans, knocking out any excess flour (or four mini loaf pans).
  • Finely grate enough zest from lemons to measure 2 teaspoons and squeeze enough juice to measure about ½ cup. Into a bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, beat together butter, 2 cups sugar, and zest until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer on low speed add flour mixture and milk alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until batter is combined well. Beat in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and divide batter between loaf pans, smoothing tops. Bake loaves in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, about 1 hour (45 minutes for the smaller loaves).
  • While loaves are baking, in a small bowl stir together remaining lemon juice and remaining ½ cup sugar until sugar is dissolved.
  • Cool loaves in pans on a rack 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert loaves onto rack. Turn loaves right side up and pierce tops all over with a thin skewer. Repeatedly brush lemon glaze over tops of loaves until all of glaze is absorbed.
  • Cool loaves completely before serving. Can be frozen up to one month wrapped tightly in foil.


Calories: 501kcalCarbohydrates: 82gProtein: 8gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 242mgPotassium: 139mgFiber: 2gSugar: 52gVitamin A: 578IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 104mgIron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Let me know in the comments how it went!

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