I’ll be celebrating the unsung hero of cakes—The Loaf Cake—with recipes on my blog all week long. Sure, loaf cakes don’t exactly deliver the glory of a beautifully-decorated, three-layer cake or even the cuteness of a cupcake. In my kitchen, they’re my low-maintenance cake loves.
Let me explain: You stir the ingredients right in a bowl—no creaming butter necessary—then you bake the loaf cake(s) in any size loaf pan. For the record, I’m a fan of the mini since you get three loaves instead of one. Somehow, it feels like extra.
Then, there’s the legendary drool-worthy drizzle. When I worked at food magazines, the drizzle was everything. Choose between simple lines drawn back and forth or the smothered-all-over-the-top-and-left-to-fall-slowly-down-the-sides look (below).
Or, make a super-crunchy topping with a generous sprinkle of granulated sugar on top before baking. I also love to sprinkle the top of loaf cakes with ingredients that give you an idea of what you’re about to bite into—like dried cranberries, sliced apples, corn kernels or chocolate chunks.
The first loaf cake in this baking series is Cranberry–Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake. I combine the sourness of classic lemon poppy seed cake with a pop of tartness from cranberries. In this recipe, I use both fresh and dried cranberries for a wonderful textural contrast.
Please come say “hi” and let me know what you think about this recipe over in my online community, Silvana’s Kitchen. Thanks, as always, for reading and sharing!
For ingredient substitutions, please see the detailed chart at Gluten-Free 101.
Let’s get baking,
For the loaf cake:
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup non-hydrogenated canola oil or melted unflavored coconut oil
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup dairy-free or regular buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons poppy seeds, plus more for sprinkling
1 cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries
For the icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Dried cranberries, for sprinkling, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar until pale yellow and frothy. Whisk in the oil, lemon zest, vanilla and buttermilk.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, poppy seeds and cranberries. Whisk into the wet ingredients until just combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool completely in the pan, set on a wire rack.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Pour over the icing and using an offset spatula, spread over the loaf cake to coat; sprinkle with poppy seeds and dried cranberries, if using.