Sometimes I bake for no other reason than boredom. That was the case this past weekend when I made this lemon tea bread. I had some lemons sitting around and I wanted to use my mini loaf pans. This was the first recipe I came upon that fit both those requirements and so I made it!

I had a few issues but they were totally unrelated to the recipe itself. First, I was impatient and didn’t let the oven preheat fully before sticking the mini loaves in the oven. I wound up turning the oven temperature up a bit and cooking them a little longer and they turned out ok (though they definitely weren’t the cute little mini loaves I’d been hoping for). Then I discovered that I hadn’t greased the pans well enough, losing several of the bottom corners of the bread when I turned the loaves out. Bottom line – the bread didn’t look pretty, but it was really tasty! It had nice lemon flavor – not overwhelming but definitely distinct. The bread was light and I ate it for breakfast quite a few days. I kept it simple and didn’t top it but it’d probably be equally as delicious with a glaze!

Lemon Tea Bread
from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons grated fresh lemon zest
3 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan (or 4 mini loaf pans).

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Put the lemon zest the sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and rub the two together until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter to the bowl and combine the butter and sugar-lemon zest mixture on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the flour mixture, milk and lemon juice until just combined, about 20 seconds (do not overmix).

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top(s). Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Total time will be about 65 to 75 minutes for an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch pan or about 35 minutes for 4 mini loaf pans.

Let the loaf/loaves cool in the pan(s) for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before serving.